For her achievements as an AD/UPM and service to the Guild, Jane Schimel received the Frank Capra Achievement Award in 1985.
On September 11, friends, family and colleagues gathered in the boardroom of the DGA’s New York offices for a memorial in honor of former DGA National Vice-President, Jane Schimel, who passed away in November 2011. The ceremony was a celebration of Schimel’s groundbreaking half century-long career and her dedication and service to her Guild.
One of the first female AD/UPMs in New York, Schimel joined the DGA in 1964 and went on to work on more than 1,500 commercials. In spite of her busy professional life, she took the time to be a passionate defender of the rights of Assistant Directors and Unit Production Managers though her service on the Eastern AD/UPM Council for almost 40 years in a tenure that included several terms as Council Chair (1977-1981, 1982-1986). She also served on the National Board of Directors in multiple leadership positions for over 20 years. In 1993, she became the DGA’s first female National Vice-President and served two terms. In recognition of her contributions, in 1985 she was honored with the DGA’s Frank Capra Achievement Award, which is bestowed upon ADs or UPMs in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the DGA.
“The Directors Guild was a big part of Jane’s life,” said Schimel’s husband, Arthur Koenig in his welcome to the audience. “So on her behalf, allow me to express my appreciation to all of you for honoring her memory today.”
“Jane was a fearless trailblazer, who led firmly but quietly with passion and grace,” said DGA National Executive Director Jay D. Roth. “But what I think was most important, was her role as a guardian, defender and advocate for a strong national Guild, one that understood that the sun did not rise and set in Los Angeles. That we are here today, stronger and more united than ever, is a testament to her.”
Assistant Director Patricia Curtice called Schimel “one of the classiest ladies I ever met in this business. She was a quiet force for the concerns of all members. When I attend the meeting tonight, I’ll be thinking of Jane. I know that her contributions to the Council will be remembered for a long time to come.”
Close friend, producer Robert Naud, recalled being so bowled over by his first meeting with Schimel, that it led to a business and personal friendship that lasted for over 40 years. Fourth Vice President Gary Donatelli delivered heartfelt remarks on behalf of Schimel’s friend, director Max Schindler.
National Board member Stephen Glanzrock recalled how Schimel urged him to run for Council Chair. “Whether it was her contribution on the National Board or here in New York, Jane worked tirelessly to make the Guild a better home for its members. Jane gave of herself unselfishly. That things are not so ill with you or me as they might have been is half owing to people like Jane, who lived faithfully and strove to do their best.”
The memorial closed with a slideshow of photos commemorating Schimel’s career and Guild service, and comments by current Eastern AD/UPM Council Chair Thomas J. Whelan. “I got involved in the Guild at the end of Jane’s involvement when she was the Ex Officio attending the Council meetings,” said Whelan. “So getting to hear everybody speak about her tonight is great. It’s humbling to be in the continuum of that line that Jane was in and served so admirably and beautifully.”