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Directors Guild Opposes Limits on Film Credits


In its first detailed response to the halt in contract talks between Hollywood writers and studios earlier this month, the Directors Guild of America said it opposes a proposal by writers to limit film credits for directors.

DGA President Jack Shea, in a letter to members that was released Tuesday, dismisses both Writers Guild of America and studio contentions that progress is being made toward the resolution of this and other "creative issues."

Although directors are not involved directly in the talks, studios are not likely to approve any agreement without directors' approval.

At issue is the widespread awarding to directors of "A Film by . . . " credit in movies. It is a sore point with writers, who believe the credit--once reserved for top directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean--lately has been awarded even to first-time directors, diminishing the writers' contribution to filmmaking.

Specifically, Shea said directors "will not accept any provision" that affects what credits a director may get and that "it is clear that the WGA and the DGA remain far apart" on the issue.

Shea also said the DGA rejects a proposal to "grandfather in" directors who have already received the credit so they can continue to do so. It also rejects capping at 10% the number of films in which the credit is granted beyond the films directed by established filmmakers who will continue to receive it, he said.

Shea added that directors also reject a proposal to let an additional 10% of the films feature a new credit--"A Film Directed by . . . "--as well as a proposal to force directors to establish the standards that would meet the goals sought by writers.

The DGA acknowledged that its members believe that "A Film by . . . " credits are awarded too easily, adding that its own proposal would make the credit more meaningful.

The DGA would not detail its proposal, but industry sources said it involves limiting the awarding of the credit to first-time directors, although not when they either bring the project to a studio or both write and direct the film.

Neither the Writers Guild nor the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the studios' negotiating group, would comment on Shea's letter.

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