DGA and Film Foundation Announce New Fund To Protect and Promote Artists Rights

June 26, 2008

LOS ANGELES – The Directors Guild of America and The Film Foundation today announced the establishment of The Zinnemann Fund, a new fund to protect and promote artists rights.

DGA member Tim Zinnemann, son of legendary director and DGA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Fred Zinnemann, developed the idea for the fund after an Italian court ruled in December 2005 that TV Internazionale, a television company in Italy, had violated the moral rights of his father by broadcasting an unauthorized colorized version of The Seventh Cross. The defendants filed an appeal, but in October 2007 the final ruling and settlement took place and Tim Zinnemann was awarded approximately $150,000 in damages on behalf of his father, who had passed away in 1997.

To honor his father, who was also the recipient of the John Huston Award for Artists Rights, Tim Zinnemann approached The Film Foundation about using money from his settlement to create The Zinnemann Fund. Zinnemann stipulated that the fund, which will be managed by The Film Foundation, be used "exclusively for expenses connected with the pursuit of, and the recognition and establishment of the moral rights of the American film directors, including litigation."

"As a DGA member myself, I recognize the importance of my father’s efforts to protect artists’ rights," Tim Zinnemann stated. "We could not idly stand by while my father’s vision and creative choices were treated with such disregard. Thanks to the efforts of Elliot Silverstein and the Artists Rights Foundation, my father’s case has finally been settled after many long years. I hope The Zinnemann Fund will help protect the rights of other artists for many years to come."

"The Italian ruling and financial judgment, in addition to the French court's ruling some years ago in the matter of the colorization of John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle, sends a message to broadcasters, distributors and media companies around the world that there may be consequences to violating a director's moral rights," added Elliot Silverstein, Chair of the Artists Rights council of The Film Foundation. "It is a sad commentary on the laws of the United States that an American citizen and great American filmmaker would receive more protection and respect for the integrity of his work in a foreign country than he would receive in his own land."

In 2002, the Artists Rights Foundation, which supported the Zinnemann family throughout the legal battle, and The Film Foundation consolidated into one entity known as The Film Foundation under the umbrella of the Directors Guild of America. The Film Foundation considers the protection of artists’ moral rights, along with the preservation of film itself, to be among its most important mandates.

Martin Scorsese, Chair of The Film Foundation, noted, "Film preservation and protection are akin to the body and soul of filmmaking. For the body, it's the preservation of the work, and for the soul, its protection of the rights for those who created the work. You can't have one without the other. If a film is lost, then the moral rights of the person who made it are more or less beside the point."

In addition to The Seventh Cross, Fred Zinnemann is perhaps most well-known for directing the film classic High Noon and the DGA Feature Film award-winning films From Here To Eternity and A Man For all Seasons.

DGA Communications Department (310) 289-5333