The Directors Guild of America will present its first DGA Diversity Award in September, honoring a producer or employer in the industry who has demonstrated a commitment to the hiring of women and minorities.

The award will be presented at the culmination of the DGA’s Summit on Diversity on Sept. 20. The summit will explore how studios, networks, producers and directors have tackled tough questions related to the hiring of minorities and women.

A ‘milestone’

The award, said DGA president Jack Shea, is “a milestone in our decades-long fight for equality and fairness in industry hiring. I hope that in addition to being a great honor for its recipient, it will also serve as a wake-up call for the long list of employers who are not making progress quickly enough in this area.”

The summit will begin with two members-only clinics aimed at improving employment for DGA women and minorities. Two panel discussions are also planned. “Crossing Cultural Boundaries” will be moderated by Gilbert Cates. Panelists will include Paris Barclay, Penelope Spheeris, Jesus Trevino and Wayne Wang. The second panel, moderated by Martha Coolidge, will be composed of high-level studio and network execs as well as agents.”We’re not asking for favors or handouts,” Coolidge said. “We’re looking for equality of opportunity, and I think events like this one go a long way toward establishing a frame of reference for that equality.”

Nominations for the award may be submitted by DGA members, studio, network and company execs and agents until July 11.

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