Urging the members not to elect 10 writers for the board of directors – variety

In a sign of rising internal tensions in Hollywood, a prominent member of the Directors Guild of America publicly advocated against the election of 10 writers to the board earlier this month on the grounds that they are “writers first” and belong to “marginal groups”. “

In a leaked email shared widely in the creative community, Linda Montante, chair of the union’s Western AD/UPM board, urged a bloc of DGA voters not to support the board nominations of multiple hyphens who are members of both the DGA and WGA — Some of them spoke frankly about the issues of the strike. The list includes writer-producer Boots Riley, Academy Award-winning “CODA” writer-director Sian Heder, actor-filmmaker Justin Bateman, actor-writer Paul Scheer, and “Chernobyl” creator Craig Mazin. The unorthodox move prompted DGA President Leslie Linka Glatter to contact affected members to reassure them that Montante’s move was not being condoned by senior DGA leaders.

Two days before the DGA’s August 5 national convention at the DGA Theatre, Montante sent an email to an unknown number of fellow union members with the subject line: “Director members from fringe groups we have been asked not to support.” At that time it was not announced that the names referred to in Montante’s e-mail were seeking election to the board. None of those mentioned in Montante’s email were ultimately voted out.

The email angered many industry insiders and was freely shared with members of the Writers Guild of America via private channels. The WGA has been on strike for four months against major studios and broadcasters in Hollywood, while SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since July 14. Meanwhile, the DGA has reached a new three-year contract with the Motion Pictures and Television Alliance. Producers that have been certified by members in June. This dynamic alone has fueled historical tensions between the WGA and the DGA. Montante sent the letter from her personal email but used a signature that included her title as chair of the board that oversees West Coast issues for associate directors and unit production managers.

Critics of the DGA familiar with the controversy surrounding Montante’s letter say it indicates militancy within the union and its entrenched players’ alienation from the more “active” positions taken by the WGA, and more recently by SAG-AFTRA, sources said. The relatively public nature of the email and its message directed around fellow DGA members is a rare example of political maneuvering within a union that usually keeps its family business private.

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Montante’s memo specifically referred to director Reilly’s “Sorry to Bother You” as “anti-DGA”. Also included are Queen Sugar showrunner Chazz Bennett, A Teacher director Hannah Wedel, Cat Person director Susana Vogel, Vida director Tania Saracho, and Little America director Tara Milli. According to several insiders, the email records in writing outdated views espoused by more of the DGA’s founding denominations — which one person familiar with the union says some of its writers are prone to sensationalism. Writers and directors at the top of the DGA are represented by hyphens including Ron Howard (who is the second vice president of national syndication) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (the third vice president).

“Here is a list of board members who are primarily writers trying to get on the board, and whom we have been told not to support,” Montante wrote in the email. The group consists of assistant directors and production managers in film and television in the western United States. diverse The email has been validated with multiple people who received the message or forwarded it. Montante wrote the letter from a personal e-mail account on August 4, and did not specify who asked her to request the withholding of votes from the candidates on the list.

She concluded her email by writing, “I wanted you all to get on the list just in case it came out. We still have our list, and we hope these 10 directors don’t get in their way.”

Through their representatives, the eight people on the list declined to comment for this story. Representatives for Saracho and Bennett did not respond to requests for comment. Montante did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A DGA spokesperson called the letter and its comments about the members “unacceptable,” and asserted that it was not part of a concerted effort by leaders to influence the August 5 vote.

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“In no way does the DGA condone the creation or distribution of the Do Not Vote list that was distributed to a small group of delegates at our most recent conference. The DGA was not informed of the list until after the conference,” a DGA spokesperson said. diverse. “Targeting members of writers and directors, some of whom are in the DGA’s leadership, is simply unacceptable. Such campaigns do not meet the standards that the DGA seeks to uphold. The DGA will never refer to any of its members individually or collectively as “fringe.”

Last Thursday, as the hype around Montante’s memo rose, two insiders said, DGA President Glatter personally contacted the names on the list. The director and producer, known for her work on Homeland and several other TV series, followed up on an email to the more than 200 writers and directors of the DGA who are communicating via a WhatsApp thread.

He added, “I am deeply disturbed and saddened by this, and in no way condone this behavior.” The letter exposes the tensions that exist between the WGA and the DGA, leaving some of our greatest storytellers, who live in both worlds, feeling caught between two unions. They love them,” Glatter wrote. She stressed that while Montante used her DGA title in the email signature, the email “was not an official DGA communication.”

Glatter also said she is organizing a special meeting to address the issue and “repair trust and start building open and honest communication and that starts with us.”

Montante’s reference to members as allied with “fringe groups” is a point of confusion for some. All 10 of the names on the list, with the exception of Saracho, are signatories of the Federation Solidarity Alliance. This organization was founded this year specifically by the writers and directors who “were moved to connect with the crew affected by the 2023 WGA strike,” Official site States. The coalition threw a fundraiser in July for members of the crew union IATSE to cover healthcare costs that would arise as a result of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. One person familiar with the FSC said it was not an extremist organization.

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Five people who viewed Montante’s email were dismayed to see Reilly, the creator and director behind this summer’s Amazon Prime Video series I Am a Virgo, described as “anti-DGA.” Riley has been vocal and vocal in his support of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA discontinuances.

“I am a member of the DGA, who has sent out a message that DGA members who are also WGA can still perform the services that the WGA has asked us not to do during the strike,” Riley to publish on Twitter in May. “Me and a group of other DGA/WGA members have decided that we will not take this advice.” A week later, Riley formulated An editorial expands on this post.

The General Directorate of Labor letter said the union “cannot legally advise its members to stop working,” Riley wrote. But in the face of it all, the multi-hyphenate WGA members, producers and directors, in droves, halted all work on their projects—sacrifice and show a level of solidarity unparalleled. We see it in the 2007 strike.

Another person who read the email said Montante’s call was a “union offense,” and noted that there was “real resistance to activism in the DGA.” Montante’s email was rude, this source and others said — reinforcing the belief by some that the DGA is seeking to remove members of the writers and directors. “But this has been going on for 30 years,” the source said.

Glatter was re-elected to a second term as president at the union’s national convention. Newly elected members of the WGA’s national board were high-profile names, including Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan, The Leftovers director Nicole Cassel, all also members of the WGA, as well as Academy Awards producer and director Glenn Weiss. Elected alternate board members include Ava DuVernay and Phil Lord, both of whom are also members of the WGA.

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