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canadian crew filming in the US

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There is a long list of U.S. Mixers going to Canada to mix a feature and it usually is through the clout of the U.S. Producer or Director.

A few that I can remember, Bob Gravenor, "Quintet", Dennis Maitland "Moonstruck", Ron Judkins, "Catch Me If You Can". I've also worked on shows in Canada with U.S. Gaffers, and Key Grips, Production Designers, Key Hair and Makeup, Special Effects, Costume Supervisors and Picture Editors. It depends on the budget and what "horse trading" the Producer makes with the local unions and the Provincial and Canadian Governments. Everything is negotiable.

The Canadian Producers bringing any one to the U.S., will need to get the correct visas to allow them to work here. Without the proper documentation, they run the risk of a Customs official refusing someone's entry. I have seen it happen to many foreign actors hired to work here and to several crew people too.

I'm sure it will work out and they'll have a wonderful shoot in California. Right now the Canadian dollar is worth more than our currency (by a small percentage), so it's not about bringing in "cheaper" labor. It's more about the Canadian Producers meeting "Canadian content" and hiring quotas to either get Canadian Tax breaks or broadcast requirements.

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So to clarify.

Here are the scenario i know about:

1- Canadian Crew working in the US on a Canadian released only shoot by a Canadian Production company ( Documentary, Reality show or small TV release ): Canadian usually have no problem working for short period in the US as long as they have a Carnet for the equipment, a letter from the production explaining what it is about and that the duration is short ( less then a month ).

2- US crew working in Canada on a Worldwide release by a US production company ( Major motion picture ): Can bring five members across the boarder to work. Can also bring more crew members if needed but will loose tax credit and incentives.

3- US crew working in Canada on a Worldwide release by a US production company ( Documentary, Reality show or small TV release ): No problem in bringing a US crew in just like a Canadian crew for the same type of work. Same requirement applies as in 1.

4- Canadian crew working in the US on a Worldwide release by a Canadian ( or US ) production company ( All type of production ): No chances unless the crew member as a Visa or a Green card.

Now Izen, yes even after 10 years i had to pay 10K to get a green card, i had to wait 2 years without being able to leave the US without special permission from the INS since i was in process and i only got it thru a clause that unable people of special talent to apply ( my wife is an Olympic gold medalist, so she applied and then i got it thru her ). Now you are seriously mistaking when thinking that the INS is open to immigration, far from it, it takes years, lots of money and a lot of determination to get thru it. Now do not misunderstand, the US will allow a lot of people in to work on Visas status for short period of time and these are very much controlled ( you can only work for one company for the duration, you have to do a job that is hard to get labor for in the US and have to prove your level of knowledge ). Trust me it is really a pain and hard like hell.

On the other hand, if you decide to come and live in Canada, it will take 6 months, during which you can work, to get a work permit and all the benifits ( free health care, free education etc... ). But like it the US, you have to become a resident and renonce to your US residency to do so.

Hope this clears it.


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Hi everyone. My name is Paul Looser and I am the CEO/FOUNDER of PHOGtv and the show P.H.O.G. Paranormal Hunters Of Guelph. I am a Canadian looking to film in the United States and Canada, I am not currently getting paid yet and looking to release my film on YouTube. I do have producers who want to take it to tv but that will take a bit of time to setup contracts, deals ect... In the meantime I am 💯 in control but I'm worried about taking my team to the states so we can film. Would I need a permit or a carnet?

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