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Film | by Shane “FU FCC” Hnetka

Another year has come and gone. While other Canadian provinces are busy making movies (Logan, It, The Shape of Water, War for the Planet of the Apes, to name a few from this year), Saskatchewan’s film industry is on life support thanks to the government’s 2012 decision to kill the film employment tax credit. Oh well, at least the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative is still fighting the good fight. It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017.

The Mouse Gets Bigger

Disney announced on Dec. 14 that it was acquiring 21st Century Fox’s Film and TV studios and cable entertainment networks for $52 billion. The deal covers pretty much everything except Fox’s news and sports operations: Aliens, Predator, Die Hard, Planet of the Apes, The Ice Age films, Night at the Museum, Home Alone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Alvin and the Chipmunks (ugh), Independence Day, The X-Files, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, National Geographic, the list goes on.

Comic book fans and nerds in general are excited because with the exception of Spider-Man, which is still owned by Sony, Marvel now has most of its superheroes back — including The X-Men and The Fantastic Four. Disney owns all the Star Wars movies now too. If Disney was scary before, it just got a whole lot scarier. The other studios have their work cut out for them.

Internet No Longer Neutral

The current U.S. administration has done a lot of horrible things. The list got longer on Dec. 14 when the Federal Communications Commission voted to end net neutrality. That policy, which recognized the Internet as a telecommunications service akin to a public utility, was implemented by the Obama administration in February 2015. It essentially prevented Internet Service Providers from discriminating against different types of content — either by charging more to access it, or streaming it at a slower speed.

Comcast, for instance, as an ISP, has a 30 per cent stake in the streaming service Hulu. Without net neutrality, it might try to charge you more to use Netflix instead of Hulu.

Over a dozen states, including California, Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky and Massachusetts, have announced plans to sue the FCC. If the decision goes through, the Internet might start looking a lot like those annoying cable TV packages that everyone is trying to avoid. Disney’s in on the action too, as with its 21st Century Fox acquisition it owns 60 per cent of Hulu. Yep, the mouse is a really big monster.

Shane Hnetka is a made-in-Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd.