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Posted: Thurs. Jun. 16, 2005
Lenser guild shifts runaway focus
By Jesse Hiestand

International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 has decided to tackle the issue of runaway production on its own, marking a significant break in philosophy with leaders in its umbrella group IATSE, guild leaders said Wednesday.

The board of Local 600, which represents directors of photography, camera operators, publicists and others, voted over the weekend to endorse a trade investigation of foreign film and television subsidies. The "Resolution on Runaway Production" notes in part that the AFL-CIO commanded its affiliates in 2001 to instigate trade cases to "stop market- distorting importing of goods subsidized by our trading partners."

For now, Local 600 has allocated $15,000 to further study the effects of runaway production as part of a long-term strategy to find solutions for the loss of jobs to foreign incentives.

"We are taking it into our own hands and saying we are going to investigate these foreign subsidies and really find out what's going on," ICG president Gary Dunham said. "We're going to do whatever we can to fix the problem for our members."

IATSE, led by president Thomas Short, has remained neutral on the issue of runaway production because it has members in both the U.S. and Canada, which has aggressively used incentives to attract production.

IATSE officials declined comment on the issue Wednesday.

Dunham said the resolution was fueled by sentiment generated in the guild's election last year. Dunham led a slate of challengers who prevailed over the incumbent party by vowing to tackle runaway production, increasing work and giving members more control in governance.

Saturday's board meeting also included a keynote address by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who told guild members he would make the runaway issue a priority in Congress.


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