GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail

June 3, 2008

'Perfect Storm' Negotiations Going Nowhere

BOSTON -- Representatives of the Teamsters union and the state film office sat down yesterday to discuss making "The Perfect Storm" in Gloucester, but no agreement was reached.

"I don't think Gloucester is out of the mix at this point," said Rockport resident Robin Dawson, director of the Massachusetts Film Office. "But this is a serious situation."

Local officials have issued a plea to Gov. Paul Cellucci to intervene, citing his strong ties to Teamsters Local 25 leader George Cashman. The Teamsters supported Cellucci in the last governor's race.

Despite the plea, Cellucci has not intervened but is "monitoring" the negotiations, according to Dawson.

Cellucci did not respond to a request for comment.

Gloucester Mayor Bruce Tobey has spoken to people from Warner Brothers repeatedly in recent weeks. "Their patience is wearing thin," Tobey reports.

If they can't film in Gloucester, movie makers may take the production to Nova Scotia -- where they could save millions because of favorable currency exchange rates -- or to Washington state.

The mayor said Cellucci must take action, "if there's going to be a Massachusetts film industry."

Massachusetts' stake in the negotiations is an estimated $30 million that could be poured into the local economy if the film version of Sebastian Junger's best-seller were shot in Gloucester.

The negotiations hit rough seas after Teamsters Local 25 demanded filmmakers pay drivers according to a new contract that filmmakers say costs too much.

According to a letter from the film's executive producer to the governor's office, the Teamsters are seeking a 72 percent pay raise from the last Warner Brothers film shot in Massachusetts.

That raise, according to sources familiar with the negotiations, puts the pay scale higher than New York City's.

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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail