Message From the Chair: The Road Ahead in 2020

July 14, 2020
Posted by: Leslie Wootton

2020 has been a bumpy ride so far to say the least. Fortunately, we’ve had the good counsel of public health and government leaders to help guide us through the uncharted territory of a global pandemic and its consequences.  BC’s local response to the global emergency showed our willingness to collaborate on the solutions. We owe Dr. Bonnie Henry a major debt of gratitude for even-handedly setting the tone, and leading the way in a manner that was exemplary well beyond BC’s borders.  We’re also grateful to Provincial Government leaders who empowered our public health officials, and joined them in the routine and consistent messaging that helped get us to an orderly return to business.

As we move into the second half of the year and ‘phase three’ of BC’s ‘reopening’, we have the benefit of  a ‘flattened curve’, cautious optimism and an informed strategy for a safe return to work in production.  Since March, stakeholders from across BC’s production industry, led by the Provincial Film Commission at Creative BC and in consultation with Actsafe and WorkSafe BC, formed a Coalition to draft a framework of safety guidelines for a pre-emptive Covid-19 work environment.  A detailed pandemic protocols guideline for production is in development and forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

To help bridge the information gap during the pause in business, MPPIA hosted a series of industry-wide information panels online, which can be reviewed by clicking the following: May 1; May 8; June 3.  As our business resumes, we will be continuing to intermittently gather virtually to provide industry updates on our return to business. Our next session is Friday, July 17 at 2 pm — register for Zoom or watch via live stream on our Facebook @mppiabc.

With the return to work now gradually unfolding, there is a strong measure of confidence mixed with caution that we can safely return to business provided we adapt to the the new practices and protocols that will optimize safety in production. While the health emergency stopped us in our  tracks, one of the silver linings of the disruption is the forced pause and evaluation of how we work. Safety is always a priority, but the renewed scrutiny and implementation of best practices can only lead to overall improved safety.

Also unfolding across the backdrop of the global pandemic is the heightened lens on justice and equality for black and indigenous lives, and the widespread international activism moving for equitable, socio-economic access and opportunities across all underrepresented groups. Our industry is clearly no exception to the abiding practices that have prevented fair and balanced representation in the motion picture production sector. The MPPIA Equity & Inclusion Committee was established in early 2019 to help guide meaningful forward movement for change in the BC-based industry. Through the course of this Committee’s work to date, we’ve gained insight to the barriers, as well as some of the programs and initiatives across studios, labour organizations and other industry groups working to move the dial. Education, engagement and advocacy are the three pillars informing the MPPIA Committee work, with the framework strategy and deliverables to begin rolling out in the coming weeks.

All of the work carried out by MPPIA is powered by our members, and led by the efforts of our volunteer board. This is not a small commitment, as our Board is operational, supported by a part-time contract staff.  We’re very fortunate to have a community of industry leaders who step up year after year to help get the work of the Industry Association done.

I’m pleased to announce MPPIA’s Board of Directors for the 2020/21 term:

Peter Leitch, Chair — North Shore/Mammoth Studios

Michelle Grady, 1st Vice Chair — Sony Pictures Imageworks

Phil Klapwyk, 2nd Vice Chair — IATSE 891

Kendrie Upton, Secretary — DGC BC

Craig Langdon, Treasurer — Vancouver Mobile Dressing Rooms

Directors at Large:

Lindsay Donovan, Encore-Deluxe Vancouver

Tracey Friesen, CMPA BC

Anand Kanna, Actsafe Safety Assn.

Paul Klassen, BC Council of Film Unions

Gemma Martini, Martini Film Studios

Peter Mitchell, Vancouver Film Studios

Wendy Noss, MPA Canada

Don Thompson, Finale Post

Kendrie Upton, Directors Guild of Canada-BC

Tracey Wood, AMPTP

Many thanks to all for standing for these roles — I look forward to our collaboration in the year ahead.

Peter Leitch, Chair