Film Directors Union Agree Deal
The U.S. film directors union has agreed a contract deal with movie and TV studios after five days of negotiations. The tentative agreement between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers follows less than a week of talks - now puts pressure on the Hollywood writers to end their ongoing strike. Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have been on strike since November (07), crippling the U.S. film and TV industry with many projects being put on hold or scrapped altogether. The walkouts also led to the cancellation of the Golden Globes and the People's Choice Awards earlier this month (Jan08) and could now pose a threat to the forthcoming Oscars ceremony in February (08). But the agreement between the DGA and industry bosses could now provide hope that the writers strikes could soon be resolved. Chairman of the DGA's negotiating team, Gil Cates, insists they didn't accept any compromises in their new deal. He says, "Two words describe this agreement: groundbreaking and substantial. There are no rollbacks of any kind." The contract agreement includes a formula for royalties paid for Internet downloads and establishes rates of pay for material which is streamed on the web. In a statement, the CEOs of several top media companies, including CBS, NBC-Universal and Warner Bros, used the opportunity to call for an end to the WGA strikes. It read, "We hope that this agreement with DGA will signal the beginning of the end of this extremely difficult period for our industry. Today, we invite the Writers Guild of America to engage with us in a series of informal discussions . . . to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for returning to formal bargaining. We look forward to these discussions, and to the day when our entire industry gets back to work."