Magazine article Variety

Guild Diversity Is Path to the Future

Magazine article Variety

Guild Diversity Is Path to the Future

Article excerpt

Paris Barclay, president of the Directors Guild of America, promises that the 69th iteration of the DGA Awards on Feb. 4 will be anything but stodgy.

"The program is about the future, and the future is now," the 60-year-old Barclay says.

Indeed, all five competitors for the top DGA feature film award have been nominated for the first time: Damien Chazelle ("La La Land"), Garth Davis ("Lion"), Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight"), Kenneth Lonergan ("Manchester by the Sea"), and Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival"). Additionally, all five films have been receiving praise for offering non-traditional takes: on song-and-dance in "La La Land"; using Google map technology to locate family a continent away in "Lion"; crack addiction and gay relationships in "Moonlight"; unexpected guardianship in "Manchester by the Sea"; and negotiating with aliens in "Arrival."

In choosing these firsttime feature nominees, the guild passed over industry stalwarts Martin Scorsese ("Silence"), Mel Gibson ("Hacksaw Ridge"), and Denzel Washington (directing himself in "Fences").

The DGA also nominated Davis for its first-time director award along with Tim Miller for "Deadpool," Kelly Fremon Craig for "Edge of Seventeen," Nate Parker for "The Birth of a Nation," and Dan Trachtenberg for "10 Cloverfield Lane." It will be the second time the guild has presented the award.

Major changes are looming for the DGA's 16,000 members, via a successor deal for the DGA master contract. The deal goes into effect on June 30 with a major hike in streaming residuals - building on the provisions first hammered out in 2008 - and boosts employer contributions the pension and health plans.

"The response from members has been enormously positive," Barclay notes. "The new contract really is about the future and where the puck is going. I've been around for five negotiations and this one is the most creative and forward thinking."

The DGA is also transitioning on the leadership front: Jay D. Roth, the national executive director since 1995, announced this month that he would step down in the late spring and segue into a special adviser post. The DGA national board is expected to announce transition plans shortly.

"Jay has been instrumental and will be impossible to replace so we're very fortunate to have gotten him to stay on," Barclay notes. …

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