DGA Makes Temporary Exception to Award Eligibility for Filmmakers Impacted by COVID-19 Theater Closures

DGA Awards

May 19, 2020

Los Angeles — In recognition of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the theatrical exhibition of directors’ works, the DGA today announced that it will make a temporary exception to the 2021 DGA Awards eligibility criteria for the Theatrical Feature Film, First-Time Feature Film, and Documentary categories.

“Every aspect of our world and our lives has been affected by this pandemic – and that includes our culture,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme. “Numerous directors who’ve spent years bringing their visions to life are grappling with the reality that their theatrical releases are canceled. And while the unfortunate circumstances of this present situation prevent those plans from coming to fruition as their films are now being distributed on other platforms, we want to ensure that our members are being recognized by their peers for their work as intended. It is in this spirit that we are allowing a rule exception for the 2021 DGA Awards.”

The temporary rule exception was passed by a unanimous vote of the DGA National Board at its April meeting. Regularly, a seven-day theatrical run in Los Angeles or New York is required for filmmakers to be eligible for consideration in the Theatrical Feature Film, First-Time Feature Film, and Documentary DGA Awards categories – and for the Theatrical Feature Film category, that run must be prior to any other exhibition (i.e. no day-and-date streaming or on-demand). The limited exception for the 2021 DGA Awards will apply to theatrical motion pictures that establish they had a scheduled or planned bona fide theatrical release with a commercial motion picture theater distribution chain in Los Angeles or New York after March 13, 2020 when the theaters closed – and were instead distributed on video on demand (pay-per-view or streaming) on a national platform for at least seven (7) consecutive days.

Precise eligibility criteria is being determined as the situation develops.

DGA Communications Department (310) 289-5333