Leaders of the Directors Guild of America have emphasized to their 18,000 members that the special committee headed by Stephen Soderbergh is working “day and night” to reopen production as soon as possible.
In a message posted on the DGA web site, President Thomas Schlamme and National Executive Director Russell Hollander sounded a note of caution about how soon this will happen: “There’s much left to be done, but there’s a lot riding on this, and it’s just too important to not get it right.
Schlamme and Hollander announced the formation of the committee on April 16 with “Contagion” director Soderbergh as its chair.
“The Committee is working day and night to determine what a safe return to production can and should look like,” the duo said. “We’re being incredibly diligent in our approach, applying the latest science, and consulting with top medical experts and risk analysts. But as you know from the intricacies of production, there are a lot of complex issues involved, not to mention the fluidity of this situation, and the many unknowns. We are in the thick of it now.”
Schlamme and Hollander used a quote from 1954 Best Picture winner “On the Waterfront” from Marlon Brando’s Terry Malloy to his brother, played by Rod Steiger.
“As Brando said in ‘On the Waterfront,’ ‘There’s more to this than I thought, Charley … there’s a lot more.’ As things progress, we’ll be sharing our work with our sister unions and with employers – taking in their feedback to ensure it reflects the reality of every area. There’s much left to be done, but there’s a lot riding on this, and it’s just too important to not get it right,” the pair said.
Schlamme and Hollander also said the DGA has been finding secure ways to program events and expand meetings online, adding, “And while we aren’t able to have our Annual Meeting in person, we are looking at ways to host it virtually.”
“We are also pleased to share more on our Guild’s work to fast-track income into members’ pockets when you most need it,” they said. “You’ll remember that our residuals department has been firing on all cylinders to do just that. Our foreign levies team has also been working around the clock and will begin distributing millions of dollars in foreign levies in the next few days. As a reminder, foreign levies are fees collected by foreign countries in part to compensate rights holders for the effects of copying, rental and retransmission of their films and television programs. This money to members was made possible by the DGA’s successful efforts to negotiate agreements with foreign collecting societies, and challenge the studios’ claims to these monies.”
They also noted continuing efforts to provide relief from the DGA-Producer-Pension and Health Plans; fighting for federal and state aid for members; and expanded member aid through a new COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund from the Directors Guild Foundation.
“And more recently, as some talk/variety shows and commercials have begun shooting remotely, we’ve been closely involved to ensure our members and jurisdiction are being protected,” Schlamme and Hollander said. “Every single day we are working hard to not only protect our future, but to shape it into what it should be. It’s what we wake up and go to sleep thinking about. There will be challenges, there will be obstacles. It will not be easy. But we will get through this on our way to that future we’re shaping together.”