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MGM Signs Up for Producers Guild Certification

MGM has come on board the Producers Guild of America’s film credits certification process — giving the guild another victory in its longstanding campaign to curb excessive credits.

The announcement comes three months after Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros. signed on to the voluntary PGA process and a year and a half after the Weinstein Co. agreed to use of the Producers Mark — a lower-case “p.g.a.” after a certified producer’s name — on its Prohibition-era drama “Lawless” when it screened at Cannes.

Fox, Sony and Universal signed off on agreements a year ago, with the condition that they could drop out of the program if a fourth studio did not come on board within two years.

There are more than 60 films with the mark, including “Furious 6,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Rise of Guardians,” “The Croods,” “The Purge,” “Monsters University,” “White House Down” and the upcoming “Saving Mr. Banks” and “47 Ronin.”

“One of the Producers Guild’s primary goals is to ensure that producers are recognized for their work – MGM’s adoption of the Producers Mark is another gratifying achievement for the Guild,” said PGA co-presidents Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch.  “All major studios have adopted the p.g.a. certification process and by continuing to secure agreements with distribution companies and independent producers across the industry, the Producers Mark is steadily becoming the standard.”

The PGA is touting the Producers Mark as certifying authenticity, not membership. “A producer need not be a member of the PGA to be eligible for certification, only to have performed a majority of the producing duties on a given film,” it noted.

The PGA, which has 5,700 members, unveiled the Producers Mark concept in October 2010 with 144 notable producers endorsing the idea in order to protect the integrity of the role of producer. To receive it, a producer’s work must be vetted and certified through the PGA’s arbitration process; the mark is only given to producers who request it.

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 — 35% for development, 20% for pre-production, 20% for production and 25% 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 PGA code requires that a person must have had substantial involvement adding up to a majority of those functions to qualify for the PGA credit. Leaders of the guild have emphasized that the PGA’s mark does not govern who can receive a “produced by” credit on a pic with studios and distributors remain free to assign that credit to whomever they wish.

Reining in the volume of producer credits has been the PGA’s signature issue since the 1998 Oscar ceremony, where five producers were credited for best-picture winner “Shakespeare in Love.” The org held its first credit arbitration 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.

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