Opting for continuity with contract talks looming, the Directors Guild of America has re-elected Michael Apted as president for a third consecutive two-year term.
The British-born helmer was tapped at the DGA’s national convention Saturday at Directors Guild headquarters in Hollywood. The 129 delegates, repping 13,400 members, also re-elected Steven Soderbergh as national VP for a third term and Gil Cates as secretary-treasurer for a fifth.
The selections come four months after the DGA began formal preparations for bargaining by naming Cates as chief negotiator for a third consecutive time. The DGA and SAG contracts both expire on June 30, 2008, while the Writers Guild of America begins talks on July 16 with its contract set to expire on Oct. 31.
Speculation has already emerged that if the WGA talks derail, the DGA will step in and make a deal, setting a template for the WGA and SAG. That’s the scenario that played out in 2004, when the WGA couldn’t make studios and networks budge on DVD residual rates and the DGA then reached its current agreement, with the biggest gains reached in health and pension contributions; within six months, the WGA and SAG followed suit.
In a statement after the meeting, Apted emphasized the importance of the upcoming contract negotiations with studios and nets.
“The next few years will be critical to our guild and to the industry,” he said. “It is my goal as president to lead our guild through upcoming negotiations and ensure that the creative and economic rights of directors and their teams are protected for years to come.”
Apted succeeded Martha Coolidge as president in 2003.
Apted’s recent credits include helming the first three episodes of the HBO series “Rome,” for which he earned a DGA Award this year.
He’s currently in pre-production on “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”
Also elected were first VP Paris Barclay, second VP William M. Brady, third VP Taylor Hackford, fourth VP Gary Donatelli, fifth VP Betty Thomas, sixth VP Max Schindler and assistant secretary-treasurer Scott Berger. Herbert Adelman, LeVar Burton, Stephen Glanzrock, Victoria Hochberg, Jeremy Kagan, Kim Kurumada, Michael Mann, Scott Rindenow, Thomas Schlamme, Ed Sherin and Jesus Trevino were elected to national board seats.
Craig Bigelow, Duncan S. Henderson, Barbara Roche, Liz Ryan and Mary Rae Thewlis were named as associate board members. Laura Belsey, Theodore Bogosian, Randal Kleiser, Rod Holcomb, Lesli Linka Glatter, Garry Marshall, Donald Petrie, Lee Shallat Chemel, John Singleton, Carl Weathers, Eames Yates and Michael Zinberg were selected as alternate board members.
Second alternates include Lee Blaine, Alan B. Curtiss, Julie Gelfand, Dennis W. Mazzocco, Kathleen McGill and Elena Santaballa.