Disney, Warners chiefs will receive lifetime kudos
DGA Awards on Jan. 30 at the Century Plaza. The award’s given in recognition of “outstanding creative achievement, leadership in the industry, contribution to the DGA or to the profession of directing.” Past industry recipients have included Louis B. Mayer (1952); Walt Disney (1955); Jack L. Warner (1965); Darryl F. Zanuck (1968); Lew Wasserman (1975); Barry Diller (1990); and Jack Valenti (2001). Roger Ebert received the most recent award earlier this year. DGA prexy Taylor Hackford said, “As the entertainment community grapples with evolving business models and the promise – and peril – of new technologies, Bob Iger and Barry Meyer are helping to lead the industry in the fight against piracy, the encouragement of diversity and the development of new business models that will enable our business to thrive.” Hackford told Daily Variety, “They have a real understanding and appreciation of the talent of directors, which is something that isn’t always there with industry leaders.” Iger and Meyer were at the forefront of the talks with the DGA that led to the deal in early 2008 during the writers strike — including spelling out the terms of new-media compensation. The WGA ended its strike a few weeks later with a deal that contained similar language to the DGA pact. Gil Cates, the DGA’s secretary-treasurer and chair of the guild’s negotiating committees for the last three contracts, both had led the way in finding solutions to “complicated” issues. “We don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, but even when we don’t agree, they’ve always tried to understand our point of view,” he added. Iger, the president and CEO of Disney for the past four years, told Daily Variety, that he was “extremely honored” to receive the kudo — particularly given the fact that Walt Disney received it in 1955. “Having worked with DGA members on films has given me a lot of appreciation for what they do,” he added. Meyer, who became chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. a decade ago, told Daily Variety that he was “humbled” by the honor. “The DGA leadership has been at the forefront of the industry for a long time, so this is very meaningful” Meyer added.