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A Message From Jon Summerland Regarding Unions

I want to clear the air about something that’s been going around lately regarding my views on unions and crew membership. There seems to be some mixed messages out there, so let’s straighten things out.

First off, I’m not anti-union, let’s get that straight. I totally get their importance, especially once a TV series is up and running. But when it comes to indie films and MOWs, joining a union can add some extra costs, especially for producers. With that being said, I wholeheartedly encourage any crew member to join the union now if that’s what they desire. I am all about encouraging people to make the choices that are best for them and their careers.

Here’s the deal: if we (The Okanagan) had of jumped on the union train earlier, we would not be where we are today. Staying independent has helped us weather some pretty tough storms, like strikes and the whole COVID mess. Being adaptable has been key to our success.

One thing I’m worried about is what could happen to our local crew if a production flips to the union. It could mean our local folks get pushed down the pecking order, and producers end up shelling out big bucks to bring in experienced crew from the coast. That’s a hit to the production budget that producers could do without.

Oh, and let’s not forget “Squid Game.” That thing took the world by storm, and guess what? It was made without any union involvement. Shows you what we can do when we think outside the box.

Bottom line: I’ve always had your backs, and I always will. It’s all about supporting our team and our region, no matter what.


Jon Summerland

Okanagan Film Commissioner

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