11:06am PT by Gregg Kilday
Reversing Course, the DGA to Allow Awards Season Screeners
The Directors Guild of America, the one major awards-giving group that had rejected the use of awards-season screeners, has reversed course. The DGA said Monday that its national board voted Saturday to allow studios and distributors to send DGA members “for your consideration” screeners beginning this awards season.
The DGA previously had insisted that its members should watch movies in a theatrical setting before voting on nominations for the year’s best directed film, and in announcing the new policy, DGA president Taylor Hackford said: “There’s nothing better than watching a movie on the big screen, exactly as the director intended. But it’s not always possible for our members to get to the theater to see every film in awards contention. For that reason, the national board has decided to allow members to receive ‘for your consideration’ screeners.”
While awards campaigners are sure to welcome the ability to reach out to the DGA membership via screeners, the new policy also will introduce added costs to their campaigns, which will now have to budget in the expense of preparing and mailing screeners to the DGA’s 14,500 members.
In addition to promoting movies on the big screen, another reason for the guild’s previous policy was its concern that allowing screeners would give an advantage to distributors who could afford to send them to the DGA membership while disadvantaging smaller films with limited marketing budgets.
But, the DGA said, in its annual review of all awards season policies, “it became clear that the industry standard has changed and the majority of guilds and other entertainment community bodies allow ‘for your consideration' DVDs. Many DGA members have now expressed an interest in having the option of viewing films on DVD if they are unable to attend theatrical screenings. Additionally, some DGA members live outside of major metropolitan areas, making it difficult for them to access DGA and other free screenings. “
The guild will continue to operate its own theatrical screening programs at its theaters in Los Angeles and New York and will hold additional screenings in Chicago, San Francisco, London and Washington D.C., and members can continue to use their DGA membership cards for free admission to certain public screenings in commercial theaters for the studios that allow them to do so.