The Directors Guild of America is awarding Michael Apted its DGA honorary life member award on Saturday at its 70th Annual DGA Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel — the latest in a long line of honors.
The award is given in recognition of leadership, contribution to the guild and the profession of directing, and outstanding career achievement. Apted currently serves as DGA secretary-treasurer but he’s also received a Grammy, a British Academy Award, a DGA Award and the International Documentary Association’s highest
honor, the IDA Career Achievement Award.
By the order of Queen Elizabeth II, he was also made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George for his work in the film and television industries. In 2013, Apted received the DGA’s Robert B. Aldrich Award for extraordinary service to the Guild and its membership.
“Michael is a game changer for our guild and our industry,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme. “Whether having the foresight as a young man to conceptualize the revolutionary documentary series “7 Up” — still going on decades later — or guiding Hollywood through a digital revolution, he is a fearless, visionary leader, and we are all the beneficiaries.”
Schlamme and Apted have served as the co-chairs of the negotiating committee at the last two negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. He’s served as either president or co-chair for every major new media and SVOD negotiation.
“Michael has skillfully navigated the DGA through times of great change, setting the path for our members and our industry to flourish,” Schlamme said. “His search for the truth and what’s right is evident in all that he endeavors — from negotiating directors’ creative and economic rights, to rallying our industry’s fight against piracy and runaway production, to advocating for independent filmmakers and inclusion. All the while, he has taken the time to lend a hand to those behind him.”
Apted served as DGA president for three terms from 2003-2009, the longest consecutive presidential service since George Sidney in the 1960s.
His directing credits include “Unlocked,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” “Amazing Grace,” “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Coalminer’s Daughter,” “The World is Not Enough,” “Gorky Park,” “Thunderheart,” “Nell,” “Enigma,” “Chasing Mavericks” and “Enough.”
Apted’s documentary credits include “Incident at Oglala,” “Bring on the Night,” “Moving the Mountain,” “Me and Isaac Newton,” and eight “7 Up” documentaries, the latest of which was “56 Up,” which have followed the lives of 14 Britons since the age of seven in seven-year increments. He won the DGA Award in the dramatic series category for directing “Rome.”
Apted, 76, plans to keep on working. He has said, “I hope to be doing ’84 Up’ when I’m 99.”