Film is first to bear new designation for guild-certified work

Hollywood producers can raise a toast to Prohibition tale “Lawless.”

Capping two years of effort by the Producers Guild of America, the pic is the first film to include the PGA’s “Producers’ Mark,” an official designation for producers certified by the guild as having actually performed producing duties.

The mark — a lowercase “p.g.a.” — made its first appearance on May 19 in the end credits for producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher when the John Hillcoat-directed drama screened in competition at Cannes.

The Producers’ Mark is given only to producers who request it and who have been certified through the PGA arbitration process. Companies remain free to recognize other individuals with the traditional “Produced By” credit as they deem appropriate.

The PGA confirmed Wednesday that the mark had appeared in the “Lawless” credits but had no further comment.

The Weinstein Co. is opening “Lawless,” starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman, on Aug. 29 in the U.S. The credits for “Lawless,” formerly titled “The Wettest County in the World,” also include Michael Benaroya and Megan as producers, but their names appear without the Producers’ Mark.

The PGA, which has more than 5,000 members, first unveiled the concept in October, 2010 with PGA co-prexies Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch touting the idea as a milestone. More than 150 high-profile producers — including Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Clint Eastwood, David Heyman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Graham King, Neil Moritz, Scott Rudin and Steven Spielberg — publicly endorsed the concept as a way of bolstering the guild’s decade-long campaign to stop the proliferation of undeserved producer credits.

With the inclusion of the Producers’ Mark in “Lawless,” TWC becomes the first studio to publicly support the PGA.

People familiar with the current situation said the PGA has signed — but not yet announced — at least two other studios to participate in the PGA process. The companies will provide a Notice of Producing Credits to the PGA, just as they currently do for awards contenders, but now no later than the commencement of post-production.

The PGA has made reining in the proliferation of undeserved producer credits its signature issue since the 1998 Oscar ceremony, in which five producers were credited for “Shakespeare in Love.” The org held its first credit arbitrations in 2001, promulgated a Code of Credits in 2004 and gained traction in 2005 when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced that the PGA’s credit determination process would be the one it uses as a guideline on best picture nominations. It has also become the go-to org for credits determination for the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., along with TV nominees for the Emmys.

The PGA’s Code of Credits spells out the qualifications for those eligible to receive the “produced by” credit for features and executive producer credit for TV. The code attaches specific weights to producer functions — 30% for development, 20% for pre-production, 20% for production and 30% for post-production and marketing — and includes job descriptions, guidelines and rules intended to help resolve credit disputes and protect the integrity of the “produced by” credit in features and exec producer credit in TV.

The code requires that a person must have had substantial involvement adding up to a majority of those functions to qualify for the PGA credit. There are no immediate plans for the Producers’ Mark program to be expanded to TV and new media productions.

Still, there’s no guarantee that all of the studios will get on board to officially endorse the PGA’s process above and beyond awards season titles — particularly on films that have a lengthy development history, since there’s a long practice of using producer credits to close deals.

But earlier this year, PGA leaders asserted that the guild’s rules have become the accepted standard for the industry. When it announced the 10 films up for the Darryl F. Zanuck award Jan. 3, the PGA had designated all 24 producers, without any pending arbitrations, as there have been in the past.

“I think the industry’s starting to get used to the PGA process,” Gordon said at the time. “There haven’t been any hiccups this time.”

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