You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

DGA’s Hackford won’t seek third term

DGA Awards 2013

When it comes to the Directors Guild of America, Taylor Hackford is a traditionalist — declaring that with his second two-year term coming to a close, it’s time to hand the reins over to someone else to be the 22nd DGA president during May’s convention.

“I believe in tradition, and DGA presidents usually serve two terms,” he says. “Our strength has always been that we have a working leadership.”

For Hackford, that’s meant directing the Jennifer Lopez-Jason Statham crime thriller “Parker” during the past year, along with preparing for a round of negotiations with companies on a successor deal. Those talks will probably start before the end of 2013, if past practices are any guide.

Having succeeded Michael Apted in 2009, Hackford’s inaugural term was marked by a low-key negotiations season for Hollywood labor. The DGA’s three-year successor pact — negotiated at the end of 2010 and expiring in June 2014 — contains a 2% annual wage hike and a boost to 15.5% from 14% in pension and health contributions.

“The last negotiation was very focused on pension and health, and we felt it was very successful in addressing that issue,” he says.

For the upcoming talks, the key issues are not yet clear. Gil Cates, who passed away in late 2011, had headed the last four negotiating committees, but Hackford stresses that the DGA has a wide variety of leaders who have been focused on the negotiations.

“We’ve already given this a lot of talk,” Hackford says. “We have to find out what the economic and creative issues are before we approach the companies.”

For DGA leaders, that means coming into talks with research already performed — not only by its own research staff of four but also through consultants such as former Wall Street analyst Tom Wolzien — and playing their cards close to the vest.

Hackford insists that prepping for those negotiations is absolutely the top priority for the 15,000 members. The DGA has continued to spend its funds on Wolzien for more than haft a dozen years to generate data and projections — data that’s often more accurate than what’s generated by the individual companies because of the broader scope of the guild’s sources.

“We take our research very seriously,” Hackford adds. “It’s incumbent that we come into negotiations more prepared than the people across the table.”

The DGA has tended to be the first of the major Hollywood unions to reach a deal on its master contract with the congloms during each negotiating cycle. It came into the spotlight five years ago in that role during the latter stages of the bitter Writers Guild of America strike.

With the town’s nerves on edge as the strike careened into a third month, the DGA closed an agreement spelling out two key areas — specifics of jurisdiction over new media productions and reuse, and guaranteed access to the new-media deals and data.

The new-media provisions in the DGA pact, based partly on DGA-funded research on the economics of digital platforms, subsequently became the template for the WGA, SAG and AFTRA deals.

“Everyone thought the change in revenues from new media would happen faster than it has, but there’s no question that it must be part of the upcoming negotiations,” Hackford says.

Other highlights of his tenure include the DGA’s successful efforts to organize hundreds of reality shows, the yearlong celebration of the DGA’s 75th anniversary in 2011 and the significant increase in the guild’s international membership with 750 total members — 350 in London.

“Hollywood is making more and more films outside the United States, so the are going to have better product if they have the top directors in the driver’s seat,” Hackford says.

As for disappointments, Hackford stressed that a solution for digital piracy remains elusive. “There remains a great demand for our work, and having it stolen is a loss for the culture,” he says.

And Hackford remains frustrated over the companies not doing more to hire women and minorities.

“Employers are not doing as good a job as they should, and it’s not because there are not talented women and talented minorities.”

65th annual DGA Awards Nominees

Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Tom Hooper, “Les Miserables”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Malik Bendjelloul, “Searching for Sugar Man”
Kirby Dick, “The Invisible War”
David France, “How to Survive a Plague”
Lauren Greenfield, “The Queen of Versailles”
Alison Klayman, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”

Greg Berlanti, “Political Animals”
Philip Kaufman, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”Kevin Reynolds, “Hatfields & McCoys”
Jay Roach, “Game Change”
Michael Rymer, “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Michael Cuesta, “Homeland”
Jennifer Getzinger, “Mad Men”
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland”
Rian Johnson, “Breaking Bad”
Greg Mottola, “The Newsroom”

Louis C.K., “Louie”
Mark Cendrowski, “The Big Bang Theory”
Bryan Cranston, “Modern Family”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Beth McCarthy-Miller, “30 Rock”

Michael Dempsey, “12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief”
Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live”
Don Mischer, “84th Annual Academy Awards”
Chuck O’Neil, “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”
Glenn Weiss, “66th Annual Tony Awards”

Tony Croll, “America’s Next Top Model”
Peter Ney, “Face Off”
Brian Smith, “Master Chef”
J. Rupert Thompson, “Stars Earn Stripes
Tim Warren, “Ink Master

Albert Alarr, “Days of Our Lives”
Larry Carpetner, “General Hospital”
William Ludel, “General Hospital”
Scott McKinsey, “General Hospital”
Jill Mitwell, “One Life to Live”

Stuart Gillard, “Girl vs. Monster
Paul Hoen, “Let It Shine”
Savage Steve Holand, “Big Time Movie”
Jonathan Judge, “Camp Fred”
Amy Schatz, “Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce”

Lance Acord (Park Pictures)
Steve Ayson (MJZ/The Sweet Shop)
Fredrik Bond (MJZ)
Alejandro G. Inarritu (Anonymous Content)
Tom Kuntz (MJZ)

DGA Awards 2013
Success to succession | Milos Forman speaks for the rebels | At the helm, in the trenches

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

  • Lorene Scafaria, Jennifer Lopez. Lorene Scafaria,

    'Hustlers' Director Lorene Scafaria: 'We Wanted to Treat It Like a Sports Movie'

    The star-studded cast of “Hustlers” didn’t just become strippers in the empowering female-helmed blockbuster — they also became athletes. When speaking to “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, “Hustlers” director Lorene Scafaria explained the extreme athleticism required of the movie’s leading actresses, who all had [...]

  • Jonathan Van NessLos Angeles Beautycon, Portrait

    Jonathan Van Ness Reveals HIV Diagnosis, Former Drug Addiction

    “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness is getting vulnerable in his new memoir “Over the Top.” In a preview of his book with the New York Times, Van Ness opened up about his early struggles with sex and drug addiction as well as his experience with sexual assault, revealing that he was abused by an older [...]

  • 4127_D022_00003_RC(l-r.) Elizabeth McGovern stars as Lady

    Box Office: 'Downton Abbey' Dominating 'Ad Astra,' 'Rambo' With $31 Million Opening

    “Downton Abbey” is heading for a positively brilliant opening weekend after scoring $13.8 million in domestic ticket sales on Friday. If estimates hold, the feature film version of the popular British television show should take home approximately $31 million come Sunday, marking the biggest opening ever for distributor Focus Features and beating previous record holder [...]

  • Gully Boy to represent India in

    'Gully Boy' to Represent India In Oscars Race

    The Film Federation of India has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” as its entry in the Academy Awards’ international feature film category. The picture, a coming of age tale about an aspiring rapper in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum premiered at the Berlin film festival in February before opening to a wave of acclaim at home in [...]

  • Lucy-Lost

    Cartoon Forum: 30th Anniversary, Little Giants and New Generations

    TOULOUSE, France –  Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Cartoon Forum wrapped Sept. 19 having showcased the ever-growing strength of European animation. 85 projects were pitched from 24 countries at the co-production forum platform that played host to north of 1,000 investors, distributors and producers – a record number. Falling on French-speaking Belgium – Wallonie-Bruxelles – whose [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content