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Canadian Performer Ferne Downey Elected President of International Federation of Actors

October 1, 2012

Canadian performer Ferne Downey has been elected President of the International Federation of Actors (FIA), she is the first North American to head the global organization.

“I’m truly honoured to have this opportunity to represent the voice of FIA’s membership around the world. I promise to do my best to deepen the ties that bind our FIA family together and will work to keep us strong,” said Ferne Downey, President of FIA. “Global solidarity must be the bedrock upon which we build everything else.”

Downey has been the National President of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) since 2009. She has spent the past 30 years working as an actor in radio, television, film and theatre and is also a member of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, the voice of professional artists working in live performance.

Downey was elected at FIA’s 20th World Congress that brought performers and representatives from 75 countries together in Toronto September 27-30. The governing body of FIA, the Congress meets every four years. This year’s Congress was co-hosted by three Canadian performer unions – ACTRA, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (Equity), and Union des Artistes (UDA).

Downey takes on the FIA Presidency at a time when globalization and the digital revolution are creating profound challenges for performers. As producers consolidate their power becoming large, vertically integrated corporations with ever greater international reach, professional performers must build even stronger international solidarity and work towards global agreements to protect performers’ rights.

“I commit to you all that under my leadership, performers around the globe will stand together and stand strong; we will resist any power that conspires to work against our best interests. We will campaign to secure the right to freedom of expression for all performers in all countries,” said Downey. “We will stand together, pursue our ideals – and make them real.”

In her inaugural speech, Downey paid tribute to outgoing FIA President Agnete Haaland, an actor-director from Norway.“Agnete has proven to be such a vital, passionate leader and I would have never had the courage to try and fill her shoes without her support and inspiration.”

Headquartered in Brussels, FIA is an international non-governmental organization representing almost 100 performers’ trade unions, guilds and associations from more than 75 countries. It voices the professional concerns and interests of actors (in film, television, radio, theatre and live performance), broadcast professionals, dancers, singers, variety and circus artists, among others.
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Contact: Carol Taverner: ACTRA, Tel: 416.644-1516, ctaverner@actra.ca


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