On September 21, DGA President Taylor Hackford, Western Executive Director G. Bryan Unger, and DGA Pension & Health Plans CEO Mack Clapp attended the London Coordinating Committee's (LCC) fourth annual general membership meeting in London. Open to all DGA members living in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the meeting offered DGA members in those countries the opportunity to socialize with one another while getting an update about Guild activities and efforts to improve the economic and creative rights for members who reside and work outside the United States.
In his remarks, Hackford stated, "Considering the increasingly international nature of our business, it's no surprise that more than 685 DGA members now live outside the US, including approximately 300 here in the UK and Ireland. As our non-US-based membership continues to grow, we are committed to fighting for the creative and economic rights of all DGA members, wherever they may live and work."
Hackford gave a snapshot of the economic and creative strength of DGA members living in the UK and spoke about how the Guild is working closely with both the LCC and the organization Directors UK to improve the situation so all Directors working there can receive full creative and economic rights.
He went into detail about the Guild's preparations for the pending negotiations with the AMPTP. He noted that the major priorities in these upcoming negotiations cover areas such as shoring up the health and pension plans, and the continuing development in the area of residuals derived from New Media.
Hackford reminded the audience of how he spoke about the threat of Internet theft during his visit last year and revealed that the problem has only gotten worse. "If we are to have a future we must be able to protect our work from Internet theft," said Hackford. "These thieves are rich, powerful and well organized and have elected two members to the European Parliament with the sole agenda of abolishing any protections for content on the Internet. When those who finance our pictures stop earning revenue because they can't compete with their own product being offered for free on the Internet, they will have no motivation to invest further. That means no jobs, and therefore, no earnings and residuals for us."
He stressed that the DGA is using its legislative advocates to pressure governments to address the argument that these rights must be protected, and called upon the assembled members to serve as our ambassadors in the UK, as DGA Past President Michael Apted for the Digital Economy Act, a measure regulating digital media that the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in April 2010. Hackford acknowledged the presence at the meeting of representatives of the DGA's partners in this fight, CEO Andrew Chowns and President Charles Sturridge of Directors UK.
Hackford closed with the news that in 2011 the DGA celebrates its 75th anniversary, and announced that Michael Apted had accepted his invitation to chair the 75th Anniversary Committee, which will plan a year full of activities and events to celebrate the Guild's vibrant history.
The LCC was established three years ago by the DGA National Board, which recognized the need to create a coordinating committee in the same way it already has with similarly sized populations of Guild members in San Francisco and Chicago. Alongside Co-Chairs Michael Caton-Jones and Jim Gillespie, the LCC's members include Directors Michael Apted, Antonia Bird, Tom Hooper, Richard Loncraine, Roger Michell, Mike Newell, Chris Newman, Jim Sheridan, and David Yates.
(Photos by Rune Hellestad.)