DGA members living in the United Kingdom and Ireland received updates about the Guild’s activities when the London Coordinating Committee (LCC) hosted its seventh annual general membership meeting. Held on October 15 at the David Lean Room at BAFTA in London, the evening provided details about the Guild’s efforts to improve the economic and creative rights for members who reside and work outside the United States in a report delivered by DGA President Paris Barclay.
After a cocktail reception that gave these members the opportunity to meet and greet, the room settled to attention as LCC Co-Chair Jim Gillespie welcomed the attendees, introduced the other members of the Committee, and gave a brief overview of the LCC’s mission and accomplishments.
Gillespie then turned the floor over to Barclay, who began his remarks with an observation about the Guild. “As our business becomes increasingly international in nature, so too does our membership,” said Barclay. “More than 800 DGA members now live outside the US, including approximately 320 in the UK and Ireland. Fighting for the economic and creative rights of our members is the cornerstone of the Guild’s mission. We will not be satisfied until all our members– wherever they may reside – receive the benefits and protections of a DGA Agreement when making films for a worldwide audience. That's the mission of the DGA in a nutshell – not to increase our influence, but to empower and support our members wherever they work.”
Barclay spoke about the progress the Guild has made in that area: such as the fact that between 2011 and 2012, 27 of the 34 feature films shot by DGA members in the UK and Ireland and released in the US, were made under the protection of the DGA Basic Agreement; and during the same period, 20 of the 25 features made by members residing in the UK and Ireland were made under a DGA contract. He reiterated the fact that the Guild is committed to finding a solution that will ensure that DGA members living and working abroad are afforded the best possible protections and urged those members to contact the Guild immediately after being approached to direct a film.
Barclay also covered numerous recent accomplishments of the Guild such as the appointment of DGA Secretary-Treasurer Michael Apted and Third Vice President Thomas Schlamme to lead the next cycle of BA/FLTTA negotiations; and the successful conclusion of the Network negotiations under the leadership of Sixth Vice President John LiBretto. He also noted that the DGA intends to keep a close watch over the British government’s new high-budget television production incentive that is designed to attract major international productions.
Barclay urged UK and Irish members to take advantage of services the Guild has to offer such as the Visual History program and DGA Awards voting – both of which are available via the Guild’s website – to be aware of the benefits available through the DGA-Producer Pension and Health Plans, and noted that its CEO, Lisa Read, had also made the trip to conduct individual meetings with members and answer their questions. He also acknowledged the guidance of DGA National Executive Director Jay Roth and Associate National Executive Director/Eastern Executive Director Russ Hollander, who serves as the chief executive liaison to the LCC.
“It’s definitely a busy time for our Guild, but I have no doubt that we will come out on the other side with a contract that addresses our concerns, stands up for our economic and creative rights and makes things just a little bit better,” said Barclay in closing. “I’m here because I have been helped so enormously by this Guild. I’ve used the DGA to continue my education, to keep my family healthy, to get me through slim times with a hefty dose of inspiration. I hope you’ll take advantage of all the Guild has to offer. It has done nothing less but change my life, and that, gentlemen and ladies, is a very big deal.”
The LCC was established in 2007 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 Tom Hooper, Richard Loncraine, Roger Michell, Mike Newell, Chris Newman, Jim Sheridan, and David Yates.