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Taylor Hackford, who was re-elected guild president in June, has been leading the union’s fight against piracy. On the eve of the guild’s annual awards ceremony, to take place Jan. 28 in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland, he looks at the stakes as the battle of the Internet vs. Hollywood continues.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Why have you been so involved in the anti-piracy fight?
Taylor Hackford: The creative people who create content are being destroyed. Forget the big studios. Independent filmmakers don’t stand a chance today. How does an individual spend five years trying to get a film made, and the moment it’s released, it’s pirated for free on the Internet? How are they ever going to get a second film made? Forget movie stars who make $20 million and heads of studios who may make millions. Working people who make a decent living as drivers and costumers and prop people deserve to be able to buy a house, to make a decent living.
THR: How are things on the labor front?
Hackford: We’re not in a negotiation year. That was last year. We’re in the process of putting our new contract into force. We have a really good field staff that is checking to see how it works, and we’re polling our membership to see how the new contract is being applied.
THR: Carl Reiner has hosted the DGA Awards 23 times, but this year Kelsey Grammer is taking over the role. Why the change?
Hackford: Carl has been a brilliant, wonderful host, but he started talking about retiring three years ago. I begged him to stay on for our 75th anniversary, which was last year. What’s important to me is that we have a host who is a director. Kelsey is famous for being on camera, but he’s also directed almost 50 shows. Our show is a family affair, so it’s important for us to have a director up there, running the evening and having a great time.
Ed Sherin will receive the DGA’s Honorary Life Member Award in recognition of the veteran TV director’s outstanding creative achievement, leadership in the industry and contribution to the guild or to the profession of directing.
Katy Garretson will receive the Frank Capra Achievement Award, given to an assistant director or unit production manager in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the DGA.
Dennis Mazzocco will receive the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award, given to an associate director or stage manager in recognition of career achievement and service to the guild.
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