DGA Salutes Black Women Directors

African American Steering Committee

November 5, 1997

The Directors Guild of America's African-American Steering Committee will host an evening celebrating the achievements of women directors of African-American heritage entitled "Hollywood's New Deal: Black Women in the Director's Chair," on Tuesday, November 18, at DGA Headquarters, DGA President Jack Shea announced today. This event will spotlight the select group of women that is successfully breaking down barriers to helm both feature films and television programs.

"This is an excellent chance for us to salute the accomplishments of African-American women who have had to overcome so many obstacles to reach the positions they are in today," Shea said. "Given the barriers faced in this business by African-Americans and women, the success of these black women is truly worthy of applause."

Among those in attendance will be groundbreaking African-American women including Neema Barnette, R. Dianne Bartlow, Nandi Bowe, Julie Dash, Deirdre Dix, Shirley Jo Finney, Donna Brown Guillaume, Jackee Harry, Erma Elzy-Jones, Helaine Head, Vickie Lemay, Terri McCoy, Euzhan Palcy, Karyn Taylor and Diane Wynter. Speakers confirmed at press time include Mark Brown, Winfred White Neisser, Suzanne de Passe and Winfred White Neisser.

In 1996 there were 21 black woman director-members in the DGA. Out of these, ten worked in filmed television for a total number of days worked of 152, representing 0.63% of all days worked by DGA directors in filmed television. Seven African-American women directors worked in taped television for 196 days, 1.15% of the days worked by DGA directors. And not one female African-American director-member helmed a feature film.

"We hope that this event will be a positive step in creating more diversified directing assignments as well as in developing new relationships for African-Americans within the entertainment community," said Erma Elzy-Jones, Co-Chair (along with Reginald Brown and Ted Lange) of the African-American Steering Committee. "It will be a great opportunity for network and studio heads to explore the incredible talent pool of the African-American membership of the Director's Guild."

"Hollywood's New Deal: Black Women in the Director's Chair" will begin at 6:30 PM with a press conference and cocktail reception in the Atrium of DGA Headquarters at 7920 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The evening's program will begin at 7:00 PM in Theatres 1 & 2, and will be followed by a dessert reception. To RSVP please call 310-289-5300.

Lily Bedrossian -
Executive in Charge of Public Relations
(310) 289-5334