Phillip M. Goldfarb: 2015 Frank Capra Achievement Award

Awards 2014

December 23, 2014

DGA Assistant Director/Unit Production Manager (AD/UPM) Council West Alternate Phillip M. Goldfarb will become the 29th recipient of the Frank Capra Achievement Award, which will be presented at the DGA Awards ceremony on February 7, 2015. The Capra Award is given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in recognition of their career and service to the industry and the Guild.

“When it was announced at the National Board meeting that Phillip Goldfarb would receive the 2015 Frank Capra Award, he inspired a standing ovation!” said AD/UPM Council West Chair Marie Cantin. “To me, this speaks volumes about Phil as a DGA member and as a man. To those of us who’ve worked with him, both professionally and at the Guild, Phil is the epitome of grace under pressure, a man whose selfless leadership is thoughtful, intelligent, and wise. It may actually come as a surprise to many of our members that Phil has served on our Pension and Health Plan Board of Trustees for more than 25 years—an extraordinary commitment on behalf of the DGA and its members. After years of dedication to his career and his Guild, Phillip Goldfarb is finally receiving public recognition for his many years of service and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than him to receive this prestigious award.”

A DGA member since 1967, Goldfarb’s career in the entertainment industry began nearly 50 years ago. After first discovering his interest making experimental 8mm films as a teen in Brooklyn, he later landed a job as an assistant to photographer/documentary filmmaker Arnold Eagle, who was teaching at the New School for Social Research. Through this, Goldfarb made other contacts and began working on commercials and documentaries with Director Harold Becker and became a member of the Guild as a Production Assistant on the Mel Brooks classic The Producers.

His early resume includes features such as Paul Newman’s Rachel, Rachel, Gilbert Cates’ I Never Sang for My Father, and Daniel Mann’s For Love of Ivy. “There was no training program back then,” Goldfarb recalls. “But I got enough days in so I started working as a Second Assistant Director, then a First Assistant Director and then ultimately as a Production Manager.”

He also recalled how Director Garson Kanin helped him find the attitude that would serve as the basis of his work philosophy. “We were working on a picture called Some Kind of Nut, scouting locations for a sequence in busy mid-town Manhattan. Garson laid out what he wanted to do and my initial response was ‘this is impossible!’ He said ‘Phillip, anybody can tell me what I can’t do. What I need is someone who can tell me what I can do.’ The light went on in my head. From that point on the way that I’ve chosen to operate is to figure out how do we get to yes? To me, it’s always about making it work and not inserting yourself personally into the situation.”

Over his career, Goldfarb has worked on a wide variety of feature films including Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, Michael Chapman’s All the Right Moves, and Frank Perry’s Diary of Mad Housewife; and television series such as Southland, Leverage, Monk and L.A. Law, where he served as Coordinating Producer, received three Emmy nominations, two shared Emmy awards, and was part of Eric Lanueville’s directorial team that won the DGA Award for Dramatic Series for the 1990 episode “I’m In The Nude.”

Goldfarb worked for seven years as the Vice President of Production for Steven Bochco Productions before returning to freelance production. It was during those days with Bochco that he was able to get more involved with the Guild. “Although I’d already served on several Guild committees, one about finite hours and another on safety, when my schedule became more flexible, Burt Bluestein suggested I become a trustee on the Pension and Health Plans.”

Goldfarb was appointed trustee to the DGA-Producer Pension and Health Plans in 1988, a position he continues to hold today. As his involvement with the plans has grown, so has his service: Goldfarb has served on the Benefits Committee since 1992 (including as Chair or Co-Chair since 2003), on the Legal and Delinquency Committee since 2002, and on the Finance Committee since 2005. He has held Assistant Secretary, Secretary, and Vice-Chairman offices on the Board of the Plans multiple times since 1992, and currently holds the position of Board Secretary. Goldfarb also served four times on the DGA Negotiations Committee for the 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2014 negotiations cycles and served on the DGA Strike Committee in 1987. In addition to his work with the Plans, he currently serves as an Alternate on the Western AD/UPM Council.

Giving back is deeply ingrained in Goldfarb’s philosophy and not just to his fellow DGA members. He has taught as a member of the adjunct faculty at UCLA and in graduate studies for film production at the California Institute of the Arts, and lectured in numerous other venues on the subject of film and television production. “All we really have is each other, so what we should try to do is help each other. I cannot repay the people who assisted me, they are no longer here, all I can do, out of respect for them, is to help others on their way.”

He likes to pass the benefit of his experience on to others coming up in the industry. “I tell them to stay open to all forms of communication, verbal and otherwise. People will let you know whether they say it out loud or not, what their intentions are. Be alert to that and treat everybody with respect.”

Asked how he feels about receiving the highest honor the Guild can bestow upon a member of his category, Goldfarb said, “I’m very grateful for being chosen, it’s an enormous honor.”

Past recipients of the DGA Frank Capra Achievement Award
  • Lee Blaine (2014)
  • Susan Zwerman (2013)
  • Katy E. Garretson (2012)
  • Cleve Landsberg (2010)
  • Kim Kurumada (2009)
  • Liz Ryan (2008)
  • Jerry H. Ziesmer (2006)
  • Herb Adelman (2005)
  • Stephen Glanzrock (2004)
  • Yudi Bennett (2003)
  • Burt Bluestein (2002)
  • Cheryl R. Downey (2000)
  • Tom Joyner (1999)
  • Bob Jeffords (1998)
  • Peter A. Runfolo (1994)
  • Willard H. Sheldon (1993)
  • Howard W. Koch (1991)
  • Stanley Ackerman (1990)
  • Alex Hapsas (1988)
  • Henry E. “Bud” Brill (1987)
  • Jane Schimel (1985)
  • Abby Singer (1985)
  • William Beaudine Jr. (1983)
  • William C. Gerrity (1983)
  • Wallace Worsley (1982)
  • David Golden (1982)
  • Francisco “Chico” Day (1981)
  • Emmett Emerson (1980)
  • Robert Caminiti (1999)
  • C.J. Rapp-Pittman (1998)
  • Joseph L. Dicso (1997)
  • Don Lewis Barnhart (1996)
  • Larry Carl (1995)
  • James E. Wall (1994)
  • James “Woody” Woodworth (1993)
  • Marilyn Jacobs-Furey (1992)
  • Chester O’Brien (1991)
  • Mortimer O’Brien (1991)