George Spiro Dibie has been elected national president of the Intl. Photographers Guild, his office announced Thursday.
Other national officers elected to three-year terms at IATSE’s Local 600 are vice president Thomas G. Weston, first VP Rob-ert D. Pasquale, second VP Steven Poster, secretary/treasurer Peter Hapke, assistant secretary/treasurer Chaim Kantor and national sergeant-at-arms Rusty Burrell.
Dibie had served as interim president of Local 600 since June 16, 1996. He was appointed to the post by IATSE president Thomas C. Short when camera locals 659 (Hollywood), 644 (New York) and 666 (Orlando) merged to form Local 600.
The recent election, accomplished by mail, also brought in a new national executive board, which includes Haskell Wexler, Allen Daviau and John Bailey. The board is composed of directors of photography, camera operators and assistants, still photographers and other related professions.
“The election is behind us and the future is ahead,” Dibie said in a statement released by the guild. “This is the first time in the history of this industry that the members of a national camera guild have elected a single slate of officers to represent their interests. We believe our programs will be good for both our members and the industry. Ethical producers who make up the majority of the industry find that we are a great partner to have on their team.”
Dibie, a six-time Emmy winner, said the guild’s top priorities are ensuring fair wages and benefits for its members, safety and dignity in the workplace, aggressive organization of films that fall within its jurisdiction, cooperation with other guilds and forceful representation of members’ grievances.
The camera guild, he said, will also continue advocating that cinematographers receive appropriate artistic recognition.
“The perception by some people in this industry that cinematographers are below the line is archaic,” Dibie said. “We have the most educated, talented and skilled cinematographers and crew members in the world in our guild. Film and TV critics recognize them as an important reason why the American film industry has consistently set the worldwide standards for artistic and technical excellence. We are a major asset to this industry in this country and we deserve that recognition.”
Following the 1996 merger, the guild made aggressive efforts to recruit new members, resulting in a current membership of about 5,700, an all-time high.