2011 DGA Honors Recipients Announced

DGA Honors 2011

August 12, 2011

Los Angeles – The Directors Guild of America today announced that Director/Writer/Producer Nora Ephron, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), IATSE International President Matthew Loeb and HBO Documentary Films President Sheila Nevins will be honored at the 2011 DGA Honors, to be held at the DGA Theater in New York City on Thursday, October 13, 2011.  DGA Honors will also feature a special posthumous tribute to pioneering female filmmaker Alice Guy Blaché

DGA Honors celebrates individuals and institutions that have made distinguished contributions to American culture through the world of film and television and recognizes the diversity of achievement – in business, government, labor and higher education – required to produce the best entertainment in the world. 

“2011 marks the 75th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America,” said DGA President Taylor Hackford.  “In this anniversary year of celebrating our history and the people who have made an indelible mark on our community, DGA Honors provides a special moment to recognize a handful of people who have uniquely contributed to the betterment of our community by providing opportunity, safeguarding our livelihoods or using entertainment to open a window onto the human experience.”

“As the Guild’s most significant New York event, DGA Honors brings together our friends and colleagues in the entertainment community to acknowledge and honor both those who have made outstanding cultural contributions as well as those who have committed themselves to protecting or strengthening creative and economic rights in our industry,” said DGA National Vice President Steven Soderbergh. 

Past DGA Honors recipients have included influential filmmakers Robert Altman, Jonathan Demme, Milos Forman, Curtis Hanson, Spike Lee, Mike Nichols, Arthur Penn, Sydney Pollack and Martin Scorsese, as well as leaders in entertainment, labor and politics such as Creator/Producer Dick Wolf; Robert De Niro; Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels; Sopranos creator David Chase; Congressman John Conyers, Jr.; Jane Alexander; Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Senator Ted Kennedy; AFL-CIO president John Sweeney; and former IATSE President Tom Short. 

The host and presenters for the 2011 DGA Honors will be announced later this summer.  Past presenters and hosts have included Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Jude Law, Richard Belzer, Dave Chappelle, Sam Waterston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ellen DeGeneres, Matt Dillon, Hank Azaria and Francis Ford Coppola. 

The 2011 DGA Honors will begin with red carpet arrivals at 6:00pm, followed by the event itself at 7:00pm and a VIP after-party at Nobu 57 at 8:30pm. 


Honoree Biographies

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron

Prominent New York-based filmmaker Nora Ephron is receiving the DGA Filmmaker Award in honor of her prolific career as a director, producer, journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. 

Ephron’s directing credits include This Is My Life, Sleepless in Seattle, Mixed Nuts, Michael, You’ve Got Mail, Lucky Numbers, Bewitched and the 2009 release Julie & Julia – most of which she also produced and wrote. 

Additionally, she has written and/or produced Silkwood, Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, My Blue Heaven and Hanging Up among many other films.  She has received three Oscar nominations for screenwriting.  The filmmaker, born in New York City, is known for featuring strong female characters in her films, which are often set in New York.

Her books include Crazy Salad; Scribble, Scribble; Heartburn and I Feel Bad About My Neck:  And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, a number one best-seller.  Her play Love, Loss and What I Wore, written with her sister Delia Ephron, is currently running Off-Broadway at the Westside Theater.  Ephron’s latest book, I Remember Nothing, is a collection of essays.


Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Patrick Leahy is being recognized with a DGA Honor for his unflagging commitment to safeguarding the content created by DGA members and others in the creative and business communities against the ravages of digital theft and counterfeiting. 

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Leahy has been a leading voice in protecting the nation’s intellectual property and in the enforcement of intellectual property rights. 

He is the lead sponsor of the PROTECT IP Act, legislation to help protect American intellectual property – including the films and television shows created by DGA members – by cracking down on “rogue” websites that profit from the illegal distribution of copyrighted content or the sale of counterfeit goods.  Senator Leahy also authored the PRO-IP Act in 2007 to enforce laws against stealing America’s intellectual property. 

Senator Leahy is currently serving his seventh term after first being elected to the Senate in 1974.  He is also a senior member of the Agriculture and Appropriations Committees, and serves as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.  He created the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law and is the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus. 


Matthew D. Loeb

Matthew D. Loeb

Matthew D. Loeb is the International President of IATSE (The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts), one of the largest labor unions in the entertainment and related industries with more than 110,000 members in the US and abroad.  IATSE unites a multitude of different crafts active in every technical phase of the entertainment industry under one banner. 

Loeb, currently in the middle of his second term, was first elected International President unanimously in 2008. Among his many accomplishments, he is credited with devising and implementing an aggressive organizing and bargaining strategy that laid the foundation for obtaining more than one thousand term agreements, the chartering of numerous new locals and the addition of thousands of new members, providing them with meaningful health and retirement benefits for the first time. President Loeb is a strong advocate of actively educating the IATSE's leadership to provide the best possible representation for the union’s membership.

IATSE and the DGA have a long history of working closely together on issues of importance to our respective memberships and the health of the entertainment community.  Under the leadership of Loeb, IATSE has been a steadfast partner in the fight to protect the films and television shows created by the entertainment community against digital theft in all arenas, from grassroots meetings across the country to lobbying in the halls of Congress to joining together as founding partners of Creative America.  For his commitment and accomplishments as a labor leader and in the fight against Internet theft, Loeb is receiving the DGA Honor.


Sheila Nevins

Sheila Nevins

As president of HBO Documentary Films, Sheila Nevins is responsible for overseeing the development and production of all documentaries for HBO, HBO2 and Cinemax.

Nevins has supervised the production of more than 1,000 documentary programs for HBO.  During her tenure, HBO’s critically acclaimed documentaries have gone on to win 23 Academy Awards®. As an executive producer or producer, Nevins has received 23 Primetime Emmy® Awards, 26 News and Documentary Emmys® and 35 George Foster Peabody Awards.  She has been honored with several prestigious career achievement awards including the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 

She is also the recipient of a Gotham Awards Tribute; an Emmy® Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the art of the documentary; and a Personal Peabody in recognition of her work and ongoing commitment to excellence.  Women in Film presented Nevins with a Lucy Award in 2003 for her outstanding achievements in advancing documentary filmmaking and in 2002, the National Board of Review presented her with the Humanitarian Award for her contribution to the advancement of social reforms and the promotion of human welfare through film.  She has also garnered the IDA Career Achievement Award and the New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award for Outstanding Vision & Achievement.  Nevins holds a BA from Barnard College and MFA from Yale University.  

Nevins is being recognized with a DGA Honor for her unwavering commitment to documentary filmmakers and the advancement of the documentary genre.


Alice Guy Blaché

Alice Guy Blaché

The Directors Guild of America is proud to bestow a Special Directorial Award for Lifetime Achievement upon pioneering filmmaker Alice Guy Blaché in recognition of her groundbreaking career as the first female filmmaker and the first filmmaker to develop narrative filmmaking. 

Alice Guy Blaché (1873-1968) was an innovative and groundbreaking director who until recently has been recognized only by film buffs and film historians as the first female director and the first woman to own and run her own film studio.  Guy Blaché began her career in France at the Gaumont Company, where as office manager, she persuaded the owner of the company to let her use a 60-mm motion picture camera he was developing to direct a one-minute film in 1896.  Later, Guy Blaché became head of film production for the Gaumont Company and moved to the United States in 1907, where she and her husband founded Solax, eventually building a film studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey.  Over the course of her career, Guy Blaché directed, wrote, supervised and/or produced more than 1,000 films of all lengths and genres. 

Among her most impressive accomplishments, Guy Blaché was one of the first filmmakers to pioneer the idea of using film as a narrative device.  She also made more than 100 films using a synchronized sound system between 1902 and 1906 – decades before sound became de rigeur in motion pictures. 

Although Guy Blaché was recognized in her home country of France in 1955 with the Legion d’honneur, her work has remained largely unseen.  In fact, only about 130 of the more than 1,000 films she made have been found, including just a handful of her feature-length films, leaving this pioneer of cinema regretfully unknown.  It is the hope and intention of the DGA that this award will both honor her work and help raise awareness of her impressive accomplishments.

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