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PRODUCEDBY December | January 2020

PRODUCEDBY THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA // DECEMBER | JANUARY 2020

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THE PRODUCER WHO KEEPS SCORSESE TICKING

P. 96 BILL HADER GOES FROM FILM NERD TO FILMMAKER

P. 74

volume XV number 6

MARTA

KAUFFMAN

“One of the things Grace and Frankie has is a quality of warmth. Someone once called it comfort food, and I think that’s what it is.”


“‘THE IRISHMAN’ IS A REVELATION,

as intoxicating a film as the year has seen, allowing Martin Scorsese to use his expected mastery of all elements of filmmaking to ends we did not see coming.

A LANDMARK FILM.”

“THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR SO FAR AND ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE DECADE.”

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FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION IN ALL CATEGORIES INCLUDING

OUTSTANDING PRODUCER OF THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

JANE ROSENTHAL, p.g.a. & ROBERT DE NIRO, p.g.a. EMMA TILLINGER KOSKOFF, p.g.a. & MARTIN SCORSESE, p.g.a.


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© 2018 DREAMWORKS ANIMATION LLC.


“ THE PERFECT CONCLUSION TO ONE OF THE BEST ANIMATED TRILOGIES OF ALL TIME. BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL.”

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“ ‘FORD v FERRARI’ REPRESENTS BIG SCREEN MOVIEMAKING AT ITS BEST. ON EVERY LEVEL — FROM ITS CAST, SCRIPT AND DIRECTION TO CINEMATOGRAPHY, SOUND, EDITING AND ALL THE CRAFTS — THIS IS A PRODUCTION THAT HAS ITS ROOTS IN WHAT MOVIES SHOULD BE ALL ABOUT. ” – PETE HAMMOND, DEADLINE


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FOR YOUR PGA AWARDS

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MARTA KAUFFMAN PHOTOGRAPHED BY KREMER JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY

FEATURES 56 THE COVER: MARTA KAUFFMAN The wildly successful producer makes TV history, creating seminal series and iconic characters.

69 BEYOND BLOOD DIAMOND The lasting value of a film’s social impact campaign

74 ONCE UPON A FILM FAN The evolution of Bill Hader from fan to filmmaker

82 FULL SPEED AHEAD Jenno Topping kicks her career into overdrive with Ford v Ferrari.

96 UNIVERSITY OF SCORSESE Emma Tillinger Koskoff is the director’s ace in the hole.

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105

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DEPARTMENTS 26 FROM THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS

48 MENTORING MATTERS The perfect match at the perfect time

‘Tis the season

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A stroke of genius

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91 GOING GREEN A pact for action

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New Year, new voices

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FROM THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS

’TIS THE AWARDS SEASON It’s that festive time of year when it feels like everyone is celebrating something. And the PGA is definitely in a celebratory mood! As we approach awards season, we are thrilled to recognize all the hardworking members of the producing teams on projects nominated for a 2020 Producers Guild Award. Producing is one of the most extraordinary examples of team effort. Regardless of scope or budget, it requires a coordinated, dedicated group of professionals to pull off a successful film, TV show or new media project. We applaud these teams for the enormous amount of cooperation and coordination that goes into their work. One of our favorite yearly events is our PGA Award Nominees Producing Team Mixer, which is held on both the East and West Coasts. It’s a special evening and perfect time to dress up and celebrate with your fellow professionals. It’s also a great opportunity to meet members of the producing teams for all the distinguished and deserving nominees. In addition to recognizing these amazing teams, the Guild will be presenting the awards for Short-Form, Sports and Children’s programming that night. And for the very first time, we will be honoring producers in the field of new media with our inaugural PGA Innovation Award. The award will be given to a production that challenges the limits of standard

formats and drives forward the industry’s perception and application of new media in an entertainment context. As our Guild presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher point out, “This new award will allow our members to celebrate the innovations we are making as producers to further the advancement of content through new technology and platforms.” We are truly looking forward to our nominee mixers, as well as the 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards. It’s a wonderful time to acknowledge the contributions of so many talented producers who make this such an exciting industry in which to work. A big congratulations to all the producing teams.

Susan Sprung

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“Producing is one of the most extraordinary examples of team effort.”

Vance Van Petten


ANYTIME. ANYWHERE.

PRESIDENTS Gail Berman

2019 PRODUCED BY June | July

PRODUCEDBY PRODUCEDBY MERICA//JUNE|JULY THEPRODUCERSGUILDOFA THEOFFICIALMAGAZINEOF

PRODUCE DBY October | November

THEOFFICIALMAGAZIN EOFTHEPRODUCERSG UILDOFAMERICA//OCT OBER|NOVEMBER

2019

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two years of “I find it difficult to spend don’t believe in.� my life making things I

WHATCANSOCIAL MEDIAREALLY TELLYOUABOUT YOURPROJECT?

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“What’s great about being a producer is you never know what the week will bring, breat hing new life into something in a way you didn’t think possible the week before.�

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Lucy Fisher

VICE PRESIDENTS, MOTION PICTURES Reginald Hudlin Jon Kilik VICE PRESIDENTS, TELEVISION Gene Stein Lydia Tenaglia VICE PRESIDENT, NEW MEDIA Jenni Ogden VICE PRESIDENT, AP COUNCIL Melissa Friedman VICE PRESIDENTS, PGA EAST William Horberg Kay Rothman TREASURER Megan Mascena Gaspar SECRETARIES OF RECORD Mark Gordon Hawk Koch PRESIDENTS EMERITI Gary Lucchesi Lori McCreary NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/COO Vance Van Petten NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/COO Susan Sprung NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS Stephanie Allain Charles P. Howard Michael Ambers Lynn Hylden Nina Yang Bongiovi Paulette Lifton Stacy Burstin Rosemary Lombard John Canning James Lopez Yolanda T. Cochran Betsy Ockerlund Nolte Donald De Line Bruna Papandrea Mike Farah Kristine Pregot Donna Gigliotti Charles Roven Gary Goetzman Peter Saraf Jennifer A. Haire Angela Victor Marshall Herskovitz Ian Wagner EDITOR Peggy Jo Abraham

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F I R S T PERSON

Natasha Kopp, second from right, competes with the Silver Peak Performance team in Redondo Beach.

STROKE OF GENIUS AN ENERGETIC PRODUCER TAKES THE PLUNGE AND SCORES BIG AT THE SENIOR GAMES Written by Natasha Kopp

L

ast year was a big year for me. I hit the half-century mark. Fifty always seemed to me to be the turning point where life would start to slow down. I dreaded that thought, because I love staying busy and my life has always been a whirlwind of activity. When I am not producing content for Disney TV Animation, I spend my time playing sports and traveling. However, in the past few years, I have noticed injuries occurring more frequently. I started second-guessing myself. Could my body

be telling me something? Could it be true? Could this be the end of my active lifestyle because I am turning 50? Am I over the hill? I’m lucky to have many friends in my life who have pushed back on preconceived notions of aging. For instance my friend Sandy, whom I met through mutual friends from Disney, is a go-getter independent filmmaker. But I recently learned that she is also a go-getter in track and field. I discovered this when she told me how she won a

gold medal in a push-up competition in the Pasadena Senior Games, which is a qualifying competition for the National Senior Games. I was curious and wanted to know more. Sandy told me I would be eligible to compete when I turned 50. Suddenly my birthday had a reward. Just a few months later, while I was getting my teeth cleaned, my dentist and coed league softball pitcher, Dr. Ken, also brought up the Senior Games. Now I was thoroughly intrigued and trying to find a way to get in on the fun as soon as I was eligible. 

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F I R S T PERSON

Up to this point, I at the pool. They had been playing a lot are inspiring, of softball 10 months encouraging, and out of the year. The supportive. It is remaining two the perfect way to months I would train begin the day. as a swimmer for my My U.S. Masters Disney triathlon relay Swimming team. I love both sports, experiences with but I found I had fewer SPP gave me the injuries in the water. So best preparation as soon as I turned 50, for the National I decided to compete Senior Games. in the last qualifying After U.S. Masters Senior Games swim Swimming regional meet of the year. That and national swim meant I needed to make meets, I had a a quick road trip to San toolbox filled with Kopp’s journey to the National Senior Games began at a qualifiying Francisco on a Saturday tips and tricks for event in San Francisco. night. My competition navigating my way was held early the following morning. I chose four events in in a fast-paced swim meet environment. I was ready for the hopes of qualifying in one of them. Much to my surprise, I National Senior Games. qualified in every single event I swam! Feeling both nervous and excited, I arrived in Albuquerque After the excitement of qualifying, I started to realize if I were on June 14, ready to immerse myself in the whole experience. going to compete at a national level, I needed to find a coach who The airport terminal had a wall of signs made by children that would train me. I knew Charles McPeak from my ocean-swim welcomed athletes from every state. It was an honor to be training for the Disney Triathlon Team. Charles and I had spent there. The athlete village was alive with competitors from the a few Saturdays training together in the ocean over the summer. U.S., Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Mexico, Slovakia, Sweden and When I reached out to him, he told me about his team, Silver Trinidad and Tobago. It was amazing to see so many healthy and Peak Performance. He invited me to train with them in the pool active people over 50 all in one place.  four days a week. There was just one small caveat: the training The week I spent at the Senior Games showed me “If time was 6 a.m. By now, I was too invested to turn back. I you can see it, you can be it.” I was inspired by so many painfully moved my wake-up alarm to 5:15 a.m. and tried to get people, particularly Julia Hawkins, also known as “Hurricane to bed early before my first day of proper training with SPP.  Hawkins.” She is a 103-year-old track star. She took the gold in both Charles is a walking enigma. He looks like Billy Idol and the 50-meter and 100-meter dash events in the 100-plus age group, starts every swim practice with a rebel yell of, “We’re burning and she broke a world record for the oldest athlete to compete in daylight!” Under that punk rock exterior, he has 35 years of track and field. She was dancing in the aisles at the celebration of experience as a competitive swimmer. Plus he can effectively the athletes. I want to be just like her when I grow up.   translate his knowledge and expertise in an inspiring way to his I no longer worry about slowing down because thanks to students. By his side in life and by the pool is his lovely wife, the Senior Games, my athletic career is just ramping up! I’m Kris, aka Skittles. She earned her nickname for her ever-changing proud to say I made the podium in two of my swimming vibrant hair colors and her never-changing positive attitude. I events and brought home two eighth-place ribbons for the am blessed to have my SPP gurus by my side. They wear their 200- and 500-meter freestyle races. I am looking forward to an hearts on their sleeves, greet you with great hugs, and hold opportunity to improve my ranking at the 2021 National Senior your hand for cheers and tears. Together they have assembled Games. Florida, here I come! ¢ quite an eclectic family of swimmers. The swim team members are young, old, short, tall, beginner, expert and everything in If you have a passion, side job or venture outside of producing, between. Everyone is warmly welcomed to the fish family. I we’d like to highlight your accomplishment. Send an email with look forward to waking up to see these silly, fun-loving people the topic “First Person” to producedbymag@producersguild.org.

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PRODUCED BY


“ BONE-CHILLING HEARTBREAKING.” A SYMBOLIC STATE-OF THE-NATION ADDRESS THAT’S AND

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“THE FILM OF THE YEAR.” – TE RRI W H IT E ,

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BEST PICTURE

TODD PHILLIPS, p.g.a. BRADLEY COOPER, p.g.a. EMMA TILLINGER KOSKOFF, p.g.a. W W W. W BAWA R DS. COM


ON THE SCENE

MASTERCLASS SESSIONS DRAW FULL HOUSE PRODUCED BY: NEW YORK AT FLORENCE GOULD HALL, NOVEMBER 9 The Big Apple was buzzing when the Producers Guild held its sixth annual Produced By: New York Conference. A sold-out crowd packed Florence Gould Hall to hear from top-notch content creators, industry executives and leading actors. The day began with a fascinating conversation between the head of original films at Netflix Studios, Scott Stuber, and Oscar-winning director Ron Howard. Masterclass sessions offered unique observations on topics such as remaking the classic Little Women, developing an action movie around real-life characters in Ford v Ferrari, and the cathartic experience of making Honey Boy. Other discussions centered on the approach to producing Marriage Story, researching the lead role in Harriet and the passion project Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo. Two documentaries were also featured: American Factory and One Child Nation. The conference ended with a session on The Future of Producing, moderated by Lori McCreary. Many sponsors helped make the event possible, including official automotive partner General Motors, official airline sponsor Delta and annual sponsor GreenSlate. Produced By: New York is the only conference of its kind on the East Coast—a place to learn from the best in the entertainment industry while networking with producers from all over the world.

Photographed by Scott Roth/Invision for Producers Guild of America/AP Images

Natl. Exec. Dir./COO Vance Van Petten; producer Julie Goldman; co-director, producer, cinematographer Nanfu Wang; co-director, producer Jialing Zhang of One Child Nation; moderator Marilyn Ness; Natl. Exec. Dir./COO Susan Sprung; PGA East Managing Director Michelle Byrd

Harriet producer Debra Martin Chase, writer, director Kasi Lemmons and actress Cynthia Erivo with moderator Tonya Lewis Lee

Producer David Heyman joins writer, director, producer Noah Baumbach to discuss Marriage Story with PGA East Vice Chair Donna Gigliotti.

Kay Rothman, PGA East Chair, Michelle Byrd, PGA East Managing Director

Scott Stuber, head of original films at Netflix and director Ron Howard open the conference with an engaging conversation.

Director, producer Alma Har’el and producer Daniela Taplin Lundberg talk Honey Boy with moderator Frida Torresblanco.

Conference attendees network at Florence Gould Hall.

PRODUCED BY

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ON THE SCENE

PRODUCED BY: NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 9 NEW YORK CITY (continued)

Co-director, producer, cinematographer Steven Bognar of American Factory with Participant’s Elise Pearlstein

Moderator of the Little Women panel Bruce Cohen, producer Amy Pascal and writer, director Greta Gerwig

Producer, actor Mark Ruffalo, producer Pamela Koffler, producer Christine Vachon give insight into Dark Waters with moderator Lisa Cortés.

“The Future of Producing” panelists Elaine Frontain Bryant, Dan Lin, Banks Tarver, Nina Yang Bongiovi in conversation with PGA President Emeritus Lori McCreary

Produced By: New York conference sponsor, GreenSlate

Clair Philips of UTA Marketing; Natl. Exec. Dir./COO Susan Sprung; Sarah Schrode of General Motors; Christie Lacangelo of Jack Morton; Natl. Exec. Dir./ COO Vance Van Petten Ford v Ferrari panel featured editor Michael McCusker; director, producer James Mangold; moderator Anne Hubbell; actor Tracy Letts

Netflix’s Scott Stuber speaks with Branded Entertainment Network attendees.

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F O R I N

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MOVIE HITS YOU LIKE A SHOT IN THE HEART.” OWEN GLEIBERMAN

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IS TOWERINGLY CRAFTED AND MOVING.” RICHARD ROEPER

“A

BEAUTIFULLY FILMED ADVENTURE FOR THE AGES.”

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“★★★★

AN UNEXPECTED SUPERHERO FILM. The remarkable life of Harriet Tubman is told with heart and cinematic craft.” The Guardian

“A lustrous, gripping epic of the legendary freedom fighter’s life.” The Hollywood Reporter

WINNER BEST ACTRESS

Hollywood Breakout Actress Award Cynthia Erivo Hollywood Film Awards

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION IN ALL CATEGORIES

For more on this film, go to www.FocusFeaturesGuilds2019.com

STORY BY GREGORY ALLEN HOWARD SCREENPLAY BY GREGORY ALLEN HOWARD AND KASI LEMMONS DIRECTED BY KASI LEMMONS Sign up at FocusInsider.com for exclusive access to early screenings, film premieres and more.

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Wes Studi celebrates becoming the first Native American actor to receive an Oscar.

TAPPING INTO

A RICH VEIN OF CONTENT HISTORIC OSCAR SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON NATIVE AMERICAN TALENT AND MATERIAL Written By Maggie Begley

PRODUCED BY

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TAPPING INTO A RICH VEIN OF CONTENT

ONE OF THE FIRST IMAGES EVER CAPTURED ON FILM WAS OF AN AMERICAN INDIAN PERFORMING THE SACRED SIOUX GHOST DANCE. The iconic footage, shot in 1894 by Thomas Edison, now resides in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Film history was made once again when veteran actor Wes Studi became the first Native American actor to receive an Oscar. Studi was honored with a Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on October 27. The image of Wes Studi on stage, alongside fellow recipients David Lynch, Geena Davis and Lina Wertmüller, had profound significance throughout Indian Country and, hopefully, beyond. In accepting the award, Studi, a Cherokee-American (and Vietnam vet) whose credits include Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves, Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans and Heat, and Scott Cooper’s Hostiles, noted that the Oscar represented a “humbling honor for doing something that I love.” Many were reminded of a similarly momentous occasion in 1940 when African-American actress Hattie McDaniel won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Gone with the Wind. At that ceremony, held at the now defunct Coconut Grove nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel, McDaniel and her escort were required to sit at a segregated table for two at the far end of the room because the hotel had a strict no-Blacks policy. They allowed McDaniel in as a favor.

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Other “firsts” were to follow: Miyoshi Umeki became the first Asian to win an acting Oscar for 1957’s Sayonara, and Rita Moreno was the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award—for 1960’s West Side Story—to name a few. Studi has now joined that illustrious group of pioneers. It’s hard to quantify the impact that this recognition will have on Native and indigenous children. However, the qualitative effect is more easily imagined. Ray Halbritter is Nation Representative for the Oneida Indian Nation of Central New York and an executive producer of the recent Sundance award-winning documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. He’s also the architect of the Change the Mascot movement, a grassroots campaign dedicated to ending offensive Native American “mascotization” in the sports world. Halbritter sums up the impact of Studi’s well-deserved accolade this way: “Perhaps one of the reasons that his intense—sometimes heroic, sometimes villainous, but always authentic—screen portrayals have affected Native American viewers so profoundly is the almost complete lack of realistic Native American characters in the mass media. For most of the 20th century, an endless stream of ‘savage’ caricatures in Hollywood westerns defined an entire people.” Native Americans have a vast array of challenges facing them. The aforementioned Native mascots, tribal sovereignty, civil rights and mental health issues all defy easy solutions. For American Indians and Alaska Natives, suicide is a public health crisis. Overwhelming evidence suggests that a lack of self-esteem and self-identity, compounded by a dearth of mirrored images in the culture, are among the source problems resulting in such harrowing statistics. “I’m not sure the Academy nor the entertainment industry understands the severity of Native invisibility and misrepresentation on screen,” says N.

Bird Runningwater, Director of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program. “The recognition Wes Studi received will highlight our community, our history on screen and have an impact on raising Native American visibility. Native representation on screen is at less than .4%, while Native-identifying and mixed-race people with Native ancestry make up around 5% of the U.S. population. By including Native characters, storylines and talent in productions, we are uplifting the everyday modern existence of Native people, affirming that they do exist in the 21st century and are valuable contributors to the cultural fabric of the United States.” Members of the Producers Guild of America have often led the way in righting societal injustices by exposing them through films and television projects. But it’s important to emphasize that inclusion is also good business. Movio, a global leader in data analytics for the film industry, recently released a white paper that spelled out the financial rewards attendant to increased minority representation. “The Diversity Demand: Securing the Future of Moviegoing” outlined how attracting diverse audiences will soon be paramount to the success of filmmakers and marketers. The analysis confirmed a correlation between a minority group’s representation on screen and that group’s audience turnout, with some groups attending in numbers at more than twice the usual rate. The research also showed that increased representation of minority groups on screen can influence less-engaged moviegoers within that demographic group to attend the theater. According to the research, the audience for Pixar’s Coco was nearly 75% more Latinx than the audience for another Pixar hit, Incredibles 2. Horror hit Us brought out an audience that was nearly 100% more Black than the audience that attended another film in the horror genre, A Quiet Place. Crazy Rich Asians brought in a significantly higher share of firsttime, infrequent, and occasional Asian moviegoers than any other ethnic group, and mega blockbuster hit Black Panther


TAPPING INTO A RICH VEIN OF CONTENT

attracted an audience that was 38% more Black than Avengers: Infinity War. Movio’s Chief Commercial Officer, Craig Jones, emphasizes, “Today’s consumer has countless entertainment options, making it easier than ever for diverse audiences to find content that speaks to their tastes and experiences. If cinema is to remain relevant and continue having a cultural impact, it must attract these audiences by delivering more representative content.” Producers interested in tapping into a virgin, almost limitless supply of talent and source material would do well to explore the options within Indian Country. The proliferation of platforms and the insatiable need for content for the burgeoning streaming services require fervent efforts to uncover previously untapped voices and source material. There also must be channels by which this material makes it to the big and little screens. Substantive change starts from the top. Responsibility lies with producers and executives to make the strategic commitment to grow our business through the lens of diversity. The PGA has its own robust diversity program that connects promising creatives with member-mentors to learn the ropes of the profession. According to writer-producer Sasheen

COURTESY OF ONEIDA INDIAN NATION

Oneida Indian Nation Rep. Ray Halbritter, with Jolene Patterson, recipient of 2019 Sundance Inst. Fellowship

Artis, Co-chair of the PGA Power of Diversity Master Workshop, “Our class of 2016 alumna Katherine Ruppe has a clever crime procedural, Silver Star, which revolves around a Native American female lead. However, her efforts to get the project developed have been hampered by a prevailing notion that there just aren’t any Native American actresses who could carry a series.” Another industry organization eager to aid producers in their quest to tap into the power of Native storytelling and talent is the Sundance Institute. Its commitment to supporting indigenous artists is woven throughout its history. Indigenous filmmakers have long been involved in the Institute, going back to Larry Little Bird (Laguna/Santo Domingo Pueblo) and Chris Spotted Eagle (Houmas Nation), who participated in the first meetings founding the Institute. Following president and founder Robert Redford’s original vision, the Institute has remained committed to supporting the voices of indigenous artists. The Indigenous Program has built and sustained an indigenous film circle, which now spans three generations. Its Native Lab Fellowship has been a vital part of supporting indigenous filmmakers since 2004.

Halbritter is particularly proud of the Oneida Nation’s partnership with Sundance Institute, which in 2018 resulted in a scholarship program to identify and support Native filmmakers in New York State. The joint initiative is designed to expand the reach of Native storytellers through film screenings and workshops, as well as year-long fellowships for promising Native filmmakers. The crucial work of advocacy among Native artists in the entertainment industry is also made stronger by the tireless efforts of people like Sonny Skyhawk, whose nonprofit American Indians in Film & Television (AIFT) has advanced the careers of Native artists in Hollywood for four decades. The organization serves as a clearinghouse for producers looking to explore the bounty of Native talent as well as untapped original stories. Skyhawk encourages producers to consider the beauty and richness of Native American folklore and fables as well as stories of modern Native life in this country. “We can no longer remain invisible,” says Skyhawk. “Our stories need to be told. Our future generations deserve and demand it. Images speak, they have a voice, and we have been relegated to silence for far too long. Our images have to be included and our voices have to be heard.” The Academy’s recognition of Studi’s contributions is truly monumental and a huge leap forward. As Halbritter so keenly observes, “Thomas Edison’s kinescope footage of that Sioux ghost dance showed how the fragile flicker of light of the newly born cinema art form could illuminate a culture. The image of Wes Studi receiving a Governor’s Award generated another flicker of light just as powerful in the hearts and minds of Native American children throughout this country, and indigenous people around the world. That’s the true power of film.” Maggie Begley is the owner of public relations consultancy MBC, representing producers, animation studios, cinema technology companies and films. She has worked with Native American nations to increase representation in the mass media for over a decade.

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T H E C OV E R

MARTA

KAUFFMAN

INTERVIEW BY PEGGY JO ABRAHAM photographed by kremer johnson photography

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THE COVER: MARTA KAUFFMAN

Producer and writer Marta Kauffman attributes the success of her mega-hit Friends and the current Netflix favorite Grace and Frankie to the fact that the shows are comfortable, exude warmth and are easy to relate to. Upon meeting Kauffman for the first time, one immediately realizes these are the same characteristics you could use to describe her. Although Kauffman says her days shooting all the episodes at once for the final season of Grace and Frankie are a bit like “being on a hamster wheel,” she appears calm and organized. When asked what she would be doing if she weren’t in the entertainment industry, Kauffman says she would have probably been a teacher or a veterinarian—interesting choices, especially given the paths her three children are on. Her oldest daughter is not only a producer in Marta’s production company, but Kauffman says she was actually the one to come up with the original premise for Grace and Frankie: two women who don’t really like each other whose husbands end up getting married. Her son is a composer for the show, and her youngest daughter is an equine studies major. It’s clear the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. What is also clear is that Kauffman is grateful for her success. Hers has been a career predicated on the philosophy that it’s important to only pour your heart into projects you feel passionate about. That dedication has resulted in seminal series and iconic characters that will forever be part of television history. It is why the PGA is so proud to name Kauffman the recipient of the 2020 Norman Lear Award, the Guild’s highest honor for TV producers. “I am deeply honored to receive this award from my peers at the PGA, particularly as it’s named for a legendary producer who has impacted my career from the beginning,” says Kauffman. “Thank you to the Producers Guild for this meaningful recognition.” It is truly our pleasure, Marta.

I WANT TO START WITH THE FACT THAT YOU CREATED YOUR PRODUCTION COMPANY, OKAY GOODNIGHT!, WELL BEFORE THE “ME TOO” MOVEMENT, AND IT’S AN ALL-FEMALE COMPANY. WHAT WERE SOME IMPORTANT FACTORS THAT WENT INTO THAT DECISION? Well, I’ve always been a feminist. And having a company that tells women’s stories was not only intriguing to me, but felt necessary because women’s stories aren’t told as often as men’s stories are. When my company started, we pitched an idea that had a female lead for a film and the man we met with said to us, “Unless it’s Meryl Streep or Sandra Bullock, it’s not getting made.” So that just made me mad and I thought, “All right, I’m going to take that one on.”

IN TERMS OF PARITY WITH MEN, WHERE DO YOU THINK WOMEN ARE NOW IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY? I think it’s much better. There are more women, more opportunities, more writers’ rooms that have a good percentage of women in them. There are more female showrunners and more female producers. Where I think we run into some problems is on all the roles that used to be considered secretarial, like the script supervisor and the coordinator. They work as long of hours as anybody else and work harder than anybody I know, yet they don’t get equal pay to most of the men on the crew.

WHAT IF A MAN WAS A SCRIPT SUPERVISOR? Well, I’ve never met a male script supervisor. I’m sure they exist, but I’ve never met one. And so I don’t know.

WELL, THERE YOU GO. THE FACT THAT YOU’VE NEVER MET ONE IS VERY TELLING. Yes, and I’ve been doing this for a lot of years.

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THE COVER: MARTA KAUFFMAN

I feel like my strength was never the jokes. I can write humor, but I don’t write jokes. And I feel like my strength in storytelling is the reality of the story, the shape of the story, the emotional content of that story. That’s always where I felt I have been most successful. I have a hard time calling myself a comedy writer. I think I am a generally witty person but because I don’t write jokes, I don’t think of myself that way.

WELL, FAIR ENOUGH. BUT GRACE AND FRANKIE DON’T TELL JOKES AND THEY’RE BOTH REALLY FUNNY.

COURTESY OF ALI GOLDSTEIN / NETFLIX

TURNING TO YOUR WORK, I READ THAT AFTER GETTING INVOLVED WITH GRACE AND FRANKIE , YOU WERE SURPRISED AT HOW FUNNY YOU WERE. AND I THOUGHT, REALLY? FRIENDS WAS SO HILARIOUS. I COULDN’T FATHOM THE FACT THAT YOU WOULDN’T CONSIDER YOURSELF A TRULY FUNNY WRITER.

But there’s a lot of people in the writers’ room, so that comes from many people.

YOU DID FRIENDS , AND NOW YOU’VE CREATED A SHOW WITH 70-SOMETHINGS, AND IT’S ALSO BEING WATCHED BY MILLENNIALS, BOTH MALE AND FEMALE. WHO DOES THAT? HOW DOES ONE DO THAT? One does not go into it thinking that’s how it’s going to happen. That’s for sure. I mean, when we started the show, we really thought we would have a very narrow demographic. And I think it was one that Netflix was interested in encouraging. The fact that it has reached beyond that demographic is thrilling and surprising. I think one of the things that this show does is that besides being aspirational—we all want to be like that or have a friend like that when we’re their age—it has a quality of warmth. I think it’s comfortable. Someone once called it comfort food. And I think that is what it is. These people love each other and none of them are awful.

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WERE THE ROLES OF GRACE AND FRANKIE WRITTEN WITH JANE AND LILY IN MIND?

FIND THE MOST PERFECT PEOPLE IN EVERY WAY, SHAPE, AND FORM?”

No, no. We had Jane and Lily first.

No, fortunately we got to do it the other way around.

WOW. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? It was just a fluke the way this all happened. I was having lunch with Marcy Ross, who runs the TV department at Skydance. And she said that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin want to do TV. I thought she meant together. I called my agent and I said, “Is it true that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin want to do a TV show together?” and my agent said, “I don’t know. I’ll call you back.” She made a bunch of phone calls, got back to me about 20 minutes later and said, “They do now.” So we had Jane and Lily first.

THAT’S CRAZY BECAUSE WHEN I WATCH I THINK, “HOW COULD YOU WRITE THIS AND THEN

JANE AND HER CO-STAR SAM WATERSTON HAVE BEEN MAKING NEWS LATELY FOR GETTING ARRESTED IN D.C. WHILE PROTESTING CLIMATE CHANGE. TALK ABOUT RELEVANT … Actually the writers and I have been talking about going to Washington to protest with them. Jane is really something. She puts her money where her mouth is, and she’s amazing. She doesn’t stop. She’s the Energizer Bunny.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF WORKING ON ALL 13 EPISODES OF GRACE AND FRANKIE AT ONCE?


between the Writers Guild and the Producers Guild we can figure out a way to give a showrunner a different title. Because executive producer seems to be a title that goes to a number of people who don’t function like this in a day-to-day way. But people like to get the executive producer credit, and it’s the only credit we have. So I have that credit, and then there are people who have that credit who don’t fulfill that role. It’s a little frustrating.

HOW INVOLVED ARE YOU WITH THE MUSIC ON THE SHOW? I THINK IT’S SO GOOD.

Marta Kauffman directs Lily Tomlin on the set of Grace and Frankie

We start with preproduction which means we start with the writers. And that’s all it is for the first 10 weeks—the writers trying to figure out how this is going to work, what’s the arc going to be, what’s the through line, what’s the theme, how do we shape the season. And once we start production, we’re also doing post. So the process for me, who is here from the beginning of preproduction to the end of post, it takes about a year to do all of the episodes. This season will be even longer because we’re doing 16 episodes. I have a notebook I use and every morning I write down what I have to do for the day. And I can’t tell you how many days I have something to do on every single episode.

SO THAT’S THE NEW NORMAL WITH STREAMING NOW, RIGHT? I MEAN, THAT’S NOT HOW YOU DID FRIENDS . No, it’s not how we did Friends. First of

all, Friends was multi-camera, which is a little different. And the schedule was different too. There was a hiatus every three weeks so that we could catch up. As far as this goes, it’s like being on a hamster wheel a little bit. Once you get started there is no stopping until it’s finished. It’s a crazy, wonderful, jampacked day.

IT SOUNDS EXHAUSTING. It is a long day. And as executive producer/ showrunner, I do a bit of everything. I have to check costumes. I have to go to post. I have to do a spotting session for music. And we’re still writing this episode while we’re rewriting that episode. Plus going onto the set for all the rehearsals and all the masters.

SEEMS LIKE THERE IS SO MUCH MULTITASKING INVOLVED. It is a lot of multitasking, and it’s actually an area where I’m hoping that

Oh, thank you. We spot the music with the composers. We listen to every cue. We give notes on every cue. And then we have to do the mix playback where we listen to all the cues and all the sound as well. We’re involved every step of the way.

HERE WE ARE 15 YEARS AFTER FRIENDS ENDED, AND IT’S STILL THIS HUGE COMMODITY. AN ENTIRELY NEW GENERATION IS WATCHING. HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL AUDIENCE IN THE WAY THEY VIEW THE SHOW? Well, I think one of the big differences is— and I think it was David Crane who said this—if the show were to be done today they’d all be sitting on the couch on their phones. Young people are enjoying the warmth, the conversation and the shared experiences. My youngest daughter is 20. When she was about 15, someone at her school said to her, “Have you seen that new show called Friends?” They thought it was a period piece. So that’s also how they’re looking at it, like it’s from another time frame. It too is aspirational and extremely identifiable. You can identify with the characters. You can identify with what they want, as opposed to some of the darker comedies, which are harder to invest in emotionally.

AND IT’S STILL FUNNY. Yeah, I hope so. [LAUGHS]

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THE COVER: MARTA KAUFFMAN

COURTESY OF ALI GOLDSTEIN / NETFLIX

Kaufmann and cast discuss a scene at Grace and Frankie’s beach house.

I RECENTLY READ WHERE JENNIFER ANISTON JOINED INSTAGRAM WITH JUST ONE PHOTO, FROM ONE REUNION DINNER, ON ONE NIGHT, AND 8-1/2 MILLION PEOPLE VIEWED IT. SHE SET A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD! That is unbelievable. As you said, they are still in the zeitgeist.

IT WAS COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT WHEN THE CAST WAS RENEGOTIATING ITS SALARY, THEY WERE NEGOTIATING AS ONE ENTITY FOR THE LEVERAGE IT BROUGHT TO THE TABLE. IT WAS A UNIQUE SITUATION AT THE TIME. I think it was more than just for the leverage. I also think it was because they were an ensemble and deserved to be treated equally. You know, one shouldn’t

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make more than another in an ensemble cast. So the fact that they were negotiating as a group, I thought was great.

I’D SAY BEING A COMBO OF GRACE AND FRANKIE IS NOT A BAD THING TO BE. [LAUGHS]

SO EVEN THOUGH IT MIGHT COST YOU MORE MONEY, YOU WERE GOOD WITH IT? I thought it was fantastic. I thought it’s exactly what it should be. It didn’t make negotiating any easier. But we got through it.

IS THERE A CHARACTER YOU’VE CREATED WHO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? I’m a real combination of Grace and Frankie. So I identify with pieces of them very strongly. But I think it’s Monica. I can be bossy, too. And I can also be anal about things like making you hear the click when you close your marker. Marshmallows in concentric circles on the sweet potatoes. Stuff like that.

WHEN YOU STARTED GRACE AND FRANKIE, WHAT WAS THE TOUGHEST PART OF WRITING WITHOUT YOUR LONGTIME COLLABORATOR, DAVID CRANE? After working with him for 27 years, this was like a whole new profession. David and I wrote everything together. He always sat at the keyboard. I felt like I wrote out loud. When I had to write my first script by myself, I had to have conversations with myself, like, “Is this a stupid idea?” Then, “Yeah, Marta, that’s really dumb.” I felt like I had to imitate that dynamic. I’ve gotten better at it. I don’t need to do that anymore. I’ve learned that I have certain rhythms which I didn’t know before, that I have rhythms in my


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THE COVER: MARTA KAUFFMAN

writing. I have to sort of ride these waves of inspiration and then I have to walk away from it for a little bit and let things percolate, and then I go back to it. It was definitely a difficult transition. But I have to be honest—it would have been worse if I lost him as a friend. He’s still my dearest, dearest friend.

NOW GRACE AND FRANKIE IS THE LONGEST-RUNNING SERIES ON NETFLIX. That’s right. It will be when it’s over.

WHAT DOES THAT DISTINCTION MEAN TO YOU? Well, they don’t do long-term series anymore. Everything is three seasons and out. So we feel it’s very special that we have that to claim.

WHAT’S NEXT? ARE YOU INTERESTED IN WRITING A DRAMATIC SERIES? Yes. As a matter of fact, we wrote a film based on a book called We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which is quirky but it’s dramatic. We’re working on another project that’s dramatic, and a one-hour that’s a comedic drama. And we’re developing a pilot about drag queen nuns.

DRAG QUEEN NUNS? Yes. It’s based on a real order called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Obviously they’re not accepted by the Catholic Church, but they do all the good work that nuns do. And it’s really fun.

SO YOU’RE FINE WITH GOING IN

ANY DIRECTION? I am. I’m good with any of it as long as I feel passionately about the project. That is what we look for, not just to get a bunch of stuff on the air, although that’s nice too. But it’s really the stuff that we are deeply passionate about because you work too hard not to be invested.

IS THAT A LUXURY YOU HAVE NOW DUE TO YOUR PAST SUCCESS? Actually I’ve always felt this way. This isn’t something that’s new. When David and I were doing Friends, we realized back then that when the projects weren’t from our hearts, they never turned out as well. And that to me is the big lesson. If you aren’t wholly invested in your soul, it’s never going to be as good as if you are.

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he civil war in Sierra Leone began in 1991 and lasted 11 years. It claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people. When it began, diamonds mined in the strongholds controlled by a rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front, were sold to finance the war effort or traded for weapons and military training. Journalists and human rights activists on the ground raised the alarm and alerted the international community about the sale of these “conflict diamonds,” or “blood diamonds,” as they came to be known. But it wasn’t until the 2006 feature film, Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, that the public learned the term and the role that diamonds played in the devastating civil war. The film’s impact campaign, spearheaded by Global Witness and Amnesty International, helped to educate the global community about blood diamonds, as well as the Kimberley Process used to certify conflict-free diamonds, the complicit role of some international jewelry companies, and the specific actions that individuals could take to be responsible, conscious consumers of diamonds. Global Witness and Amnesty International mobilized their members to spread the word about the film. Thirteen years after the movie’s release, jewelers still promote to customers that their diamonds are certified conflict-free. Like blood diamonds, the terms blood minerals, blood chocolate and blood gold are now also part of the progressive vernacular, in large part due to the film and impact campaign. Blood Diamond has been integrated into the curricula in high schools and college courses, and is referenced by organizations in international human rights legal cases. Numerous other documentaries focusing on conflict minerals and gold have modeled their social impact campaigns after Blood Diamond.

The Value of Social Impact Campaigns In the most widely used structure of social impact campaigns, organizations partner with studios and filmmakers on projects

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that can be mutually beneficial: The films help raise awareness with the theatergoing public about the issues these organizations confront, and in turn, organizations help mobilize their millions of members to support the film during its theatrical release. The NGOs also provide a “seal of approval” about the film’s accuracy and help generate stories in both mainstream and nontraditional press about the film partnership. The same model of cooperation has been used for documentaries, TV series, streaming and other media. When Jeff Skoll started Participant Media as a company with the double mission of producing socially relevant films that also had impact campaigns, the company set a high bar and firmly established the landscape of social impact entertainment. Campaigns for films and documentaries like An Inconvenient Truth, FOOD, Inc., and most recently, Roma, helped drive audiences to theaters and inspired people to take actions that led to tangible changes. Some films have had lasting social impact long after theatrical release or broadcast and are still being used by organizations, educational institutions and community-based groups. An Inconvenient Truth continues to energize people to engage on the issue of climate

change, Blackfish assisted the animal rights movement in compelling Sea World to end its captive orca breeding program and phase out its orca shows, and Super Size Me and FOOD, Inc. led to changes in the fast-food industry. The documentary The Hunting Ground continues to be screened by colleges as part of their Title IX commitments to combating campus sexual assaults. The music video for the Oscar-nominated song “Til It Happens to You,” written by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga, was an initiative of the film’s social impact campaign. It has been viewed more than 47 million times, and the Sexual Assault Hotline number included at the end of the video resulted in an increase of 34% in calls during the first 48 hours after the video premiered. The music video is still being viewed, and survivors of sexual assault continue to call the hotline.

Developing and Executing Impact Campaigns Social impact campaigns bring together filmmakers, production companies and distributors with nonprofit organizations, think tanks and foundations. Collaboration is vital from the beginning. It is also critically important to define initiatives, metrics and goals in partnership with the


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people doing the work on the ground, on the policy side, and in agencies that have the power to effect change. Working with organizations helps filmmakers analyze issues from different perspectives. NGOs have credible experts who understand the complexity of the issues in the films and provide valuable insights. Building a strong coalition behind a movie takes time, partly because securing NGO support requires many levels of approval. This is one reason why it is essential to give social impact campaigns a long runway. It allows the impact campaign team to see the film far enough in advance to start partner outreach, develop a strategy with initiatives and goals, and execute the campaign. In terms of budgets, a social impact campaign for a studio feature film averages around $300,000; documentaries and independent films between $75,000, and $150,000, depending on length of campaign (6–18 months), number of initiatives, and domestic and international events. Filmmakers and distributors should consider the fact that campaigns can bring numerous additional benefits to a film’s release and can create value long

past theatrical and into other platforms.

Delivering the Message Filmmakers sometimes express concern that an impact campaign will politicize their film or will cause the public to perceive the film as a “message” movie that will lecture rather than entertain. In general, documentaries lend themselves to hard-hitting messages while some feature films benefit from a more nuanced “Trojan horse” approach to implementing a campaign. In both cases, the campaigns should complement the marketing and advertising for the film, and should be aligned with the goal of driving box office attendance or drawing viewers to broadcasts or streaming services. The organizations and groups supporting the impact campaigns are a built-in audience that can be mobilized to turn out for the films and to be active partners in promoting them through social media.

Current Campaigns Two critically acclaimed Netflix documentaries have robust campaigns in progress: Knock Down the House and American Factory.

Knock Down the House, produced by PGA members Regina K. Scully and Stephanie Soechtig, follows four extraordinary women—Alexandria OcasioCortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin—as they take on the congressional establishment by mounting grassroots campaigns and building a movement during a time of historic volatility in American politics. Knock Down the House’s campaign focuses on the importance of civic engagement, voting, and inspiring young girls and women to pursue elected office. The outreach initiative has formed partnerships and alliances with a broad base of nonpartisan organizations, community groups and schools. To date, there have been 400-plus high school, college and community-based screenings, and more than 40 nongovernmental organizations are supporting and promoting the documentary. American Factory, presented by Higher Ground Productions and Participant Media, is the first title from President and Mrs. Obama’s production company. It documents the revitalization of a factory in Dayton, Ohio, and provides a startling

American Factory directors/ producers Steven Bogner and Julia Reichert with President and Mrs. Obama

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and students from the documentary Knock Down the House

glimpse into the global economic realignment playing out in cities across the country and the world. The documentary serves as the launching pad for a national campaign to seed a conversation around the dignity of work, bring visibility to the fractured compact between workers and employers, and build support for a future of work that benefits everyone. Its social impact campaign include a national tour with film screenings in communities across the country. The tour kicked off in Louisville and will continue on to Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Boston, Detroit and Seattle. Experts from the AFLCIO, New America, and Working America have partnered to create discussion guides and an impact tool kit. Screenings

are also being self-organized by individuals and groups in 35 states across the U.S., Italy, Luxembourg and Puerto Rico. Knock Down the House and America Factory are resonating with a wide variety of organizations and people who are taking action through the impact campaigns. Judging by the engagement metrics, both films are poised to have short- and long-term impact. This past spring, The UCLA Skoll Center published its landmark report The State of Social Impact Entertainment that maps this landscape, examines frameworks for evaluation, establishes best practices and highlights key issues in the field. With contributions from studio executives, distributors, filmmakers,

Bonnie Abaunza has been an impact campaign producer for 20 years. She is founder of the Abaunza Group, which develops and executes campaigns to help films move the needle on critical social, political and cultural issues.  impact campaign producers and others analyzing the campaigns of narrative and documentary films, television, theater and emerging forms, the report finds that “the financial and critical success of social impact entertainment proves that audiences have a real hunger for stories that entertain, engage and inspire.”

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Film Fan Bill Hader Sets His Sights on Story Written by Katie Grant

he Jaws T-shirt was a clear giveaway when Bill Hader showed up to work as a PA in the early 2000s on sets like The Scorpion King, Collateral Damage and Critical Mass. A giveaway that he is, was, and always will be a film nerd. Since those days, the former SNL cast member has earned more distinguished titles, such as multiple Emmy winner (for acting and producing), DGA winner, WGA winner, showrunner and producer. Most importantly, Bill Hader can now finally call himself a filmmaker. Well, as he puts it, he can do that—but only when he’s “alone in the shower.” Hader headed to LA from Tulsa with the singular goal of making movies. “I just want to see how these things are made,” he remembers thinking. That spirit of curiosity and humility, still very present, made way for Hader’s climbing success. After all, he never meant to be in front of the camera. He ended up on SNL purely by chance when Megan Mullally saw him in a backyard performance with his four-man improv troupe—which he landed in because he simply wanted something to do, something creative. Mullally called Lorne Michaels, Hader auditioned, and the rest is history. Hader started making his own films as a teen chasing his willing sisters through the woods with a camera for action scenes. Without an editing system, he would try to cut his work between VCRs but mostly edited in camera on the VHS format. The positive feedback he got from a high school teacher who said, “You’re really good,” combined with the creative high he felt, kept Hader going and fed his drive to make movies. True to form, Hader can’t help but use a film reference to explain how he sees producing: “Well, it’s kind of like Lee Marvin’s character [Major Reisman] in The Dirty Dozen. He pretty much puts everyone together. He’s the person that says, ‘We need an explosives guy. We need this. We need that. We need

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PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT TRACHTENBERG

“You have to do it all as one job. You’re telling a story, then you get out of the way of it.”

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Bill Hader on the set of Barry

this so we can pull that thing off.’ And sometimes the filmmaker, the producer, will oversee that aspect.” Currently as co-creator, co-executive producer, writer, director and star of Barry (HBO), Hader tries to think like a producer, but admits that after all his years in the business, it’s “instinctual. That’s the hardest thing about all this. You have to have the experience in order to get the experience. You have to kind of win the lottery.” And win the lottery he did. Landing SNL gave Hader the ability to reach out and meet, or better yet, work with, artists he looks up to. As a big Pixar fan, Hader asked to collaborate with their visionaries, and Pete Docter in particular. That turned into a writing credit on Inside Out, the Oscar-winning animated feature in which he played

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the voice of Fear. He was actually asked to play Fear after recording a temporary voice track for the animators to work with that featured all the characters. Speaking in that voice of Fear, Hader has become an unofficial and very vocal spokesperson for anxiety, citing the terror he experienced working on live TV for SNL. Hader also worked with the writers of South Park, aiming to hone his story structure. That stint became his first producing credit and his first Emmy win. If working as a PA taught Hader how to run a crew properly, SNL showed him how to produce his own work, suggesting costumes, makeup and basic set pieces for the sketches he wrote. And then South Park let him see that producing stories is really about finding the emotional heart

of the piece rather than a three-act story structure or the hero’s journey. “I used to think it was that stuff. And it’s not. What I learned at South Park is you follow the emotion and have a logic. And I think that’s why Alec [Berg] and I write really well together. I’m like almost all emotion and he’s almost all logic.” Berg is Barry’s co-creator and co-EP whom their mutual agent paired Hader with in hopes they’d nail an idea for Hader’s HBO deal. They happened upon the premise of a hit man, which Berg famously did not like at first. But once Hader explained that it would be him, not the slick, skinny-tie-wearing idea of a hit man we usually see, they were off and running— straight to an acting class for research. And therein lies the brilliance of Barry, because

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Hader, Stephen Root and Barry co-creator Alec Berg

placing a hit man with PTSD from his military years in an acting class so he can get in touch with his emotions is unexpected, interesting, dramatic and funny. That acting class was taught by Howie Deutch—famous for directing films like Pretty in Pink and Grumpier Old Men—at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Hader had plenty of experience in improv classes but not acting classes, which are a whole different animal. Between Deutch’s consulting on the first season and a cast full of actors playing actors with decades of class time between them—not to mention Henry Winkler, who studied with the famed acting teacher Stella Adler—the show is so true to form that it adds to Barry’s already disturbing nature. And that combo of Hader and Berg playing off the right and left sides of their respective brains is, literally, a winning one. Sixteen awards later, the team is currently working on season 3 of Barry. Hader learned on the job how to make hard production calls like the one he

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cites from Barry season 2’s final day of shooting. They were slated to film a big shoot-out scene on location as well as a three-page monologue for Stephen Root’s character, Fuches, Barry’s crime boss. But it was raining, so sound was an issue. The suggested plan was to do the shoot-out, wait on the rain and do the monologue, hoping to make it in between storms. Hader said, “I don’t want to do that to Stephen because he’ll be in his head going, ‘I have to nail this. I have to get it right.’” Hader made the costly decision to bring the entire crew back for a half day at the end of the week when it wasn’t supposed to rain. He says he was met with an “awful, dead silence. That was a big one where I felt like I dropped a bomb and then walked away. It was really for the actor … I didn’t want him trying to give a long monologue, and then instead of listening to him, we’re looking at the sky.” Hader credits keeping it simple and taking things one day at a time for getting

through days like that. “It’s kind of the mountain climber thing where they have to look right in front of them. If they look at the top, they’ll just freak out. So you have to look in front of you and not see how much longer you have to shoot.” Besides Barry season 3, next up for Hader is a feature film called Henchmen that he wrote with four other people. It’s about “two guys who learn they are henchmen for a bad guy.” He also continues to contribute as a writer, producer and performer to the Emmy-nominated Documentary Now!, a farcical mockumentary series he created with Fred Armisen, Seth Myers and Rhys Thomas for IFC. “Documentary Now! is like an ultimate collaboration between people who have their own shows. Rhys Thomas and Alex Buono, those two guys make that show happen. We make the jokes and stuff and talk about the recipe basically. But they have to go and make it. So I give them most of the credit for that show.”

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Hader is also a dad helping raise three girls and, when asked to compare parenting and producing, he offers, “I think people just like feeling heard. You try to do things with as much respect as you can and hear people as much as you can, even if you think you know the answer to something. The flip side is if you’re too nice, people feel like they can take advantage of you. So you have to just be nice but really honest and no bullshit. And that might involve saying, ‘This isn’t working.’” Hader’s advice for up-and-coming fellow film nerds is simply to fail. “The big thing for me was failing and learning from failure. When I was coming up, it was so expensive to make something and make it on a professional level, but now you can do it with your phone. So you don’t really have an excuse. “I think the thing that holds people back is fear of failing. They get nervous and I just would make it, see what happens and learn. If it comes from your life, then it’s easier to write because you know how you felt. Everyone starts off copying the stuff that they like. You do that for a while and then slowly, you start to know what you like, and you start just being

honest in your storytelling.” Honest stories, Hader says, must include both the dark and lighter sides of life. “Life is like that if you’re open to it. You have bright moments and terrible moments and that’s just how it works. So when you don’t have that, it feels weird. I always feel like when something’s too light, I kind of roll my eyes at it. Or if something is too serious, I roll my eyes at it.” Casting Barry was another exercise in authenticity for Hader. He says Anthony Carrigan won the part of NoHo Hank because of the way Carrigan listened in the audition. “Sometimes people like to cut out the listening and I like to watch it. I like seeing the thought enter someone’s head. I love just sitting and watching someone behave.” One of Barry’s casting directors, Sherry Thomas, was hired partially because she, like Hader, happened to have Winkler on her short list to play acting teacher Gene Cousineau. She came in to the interview with that list, admitting presumption, but that bold move was a sign to Hader they were on the same page. It was a show that, by the way, Hader couldn’t believe anyone was actually watching until Barry got 13 Emmy

nominations for the first season. Those accolades won’t keep him from working hard, though. Even when he’s called a “TV auteur” by the press, Hader offers, “It’s nice, but you can’t look at yourself that way. It doesn’t make you better at your job. You’ve got to just keep trying to get better.” What he’s improving on now is point of view. As an 8-year-old boy, watching classic films with his dad, Hader realized he “was always moved by scenes that had a very strong point of view, like the scene in Taxi Driver when DeNiro’s on the phone with Cybil Shepherd after their disastrous date, and while he’s talking to her, the camera just kind of dollies off of him. It’s almost like the movie can’t watch what’s happening.” On Barry, holding to that point of view gets harder with all the hats Hader wears. “You have to do it all as one job. You’re telling a story, then you get out of the way of it and then everything else, the acting and directing, it’s all just enhancing that point of view, that story. Every aspect of filmmaking is to harness that and to try to foster it or get out of the way of it.” Judging by his work, Bill Hader is one film nerd-turned-filmmaker who’s mastering that process.

Henry Winkler with Hader in season 2 episode

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Producer Jenno Topping kicks into creative overdrive with Ford v Ferrari Written by Kevin Perry

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F

or someone as driven, enthusiastic, and accomplished as Jenno Topping, she’s exceedingly eager to play hooky. As we meet for our interview, I thank her for her time and she graciously replies, “Don’t worry; I’m in no rush! This is a lot more fun than what I have to do after this.” When pressed for details about her next dreaded task, her tone becomes somber. “Horrible. Passing on a project.” A remorseful look shrouds Ms. Topping’s expression as the possibilities of collaboration and creative achievement flicker through her fertile imagination. She is a passionate advocate for her fellow dreamers, and nothing pains her

more than the idea of missing out on that next foray into cinematic nirvana. “I try to tell stories,” Topping states simply, “about unlikely heroes or heroines, and I want what all filmmakers want, which is to move people and make them laugh. To make them see the world through a different viewpoint.” Her latest POV focuses on the 1966 motorized, real-life drama that is Ford v Ferrari. The souped-up plot tells the tale of two racing legends, played by Oscar winners Christian Bale and Matt Damon, who revolutionized Ford’s racing department to trounce the boutique Ferrari team. “It’s such a David and Goliath story,” declares Topping. But on set, the lines between underdog and overlord became as blurred as a checkered flag at 200 mph. “So often when you’re making a film, whether it’s a big film or a little film, you feel like you’re up against

the powers that be.” Accepting the David role in this parable, Topping tossed aside the proverbial slingshot and built bridges instead. “Sure, Ford was the Goliath of this movie, but these guys never would have had this shot, this opportunity, had Ford not had the balls to go for it. I feel very similarly about film studios. Who in this day and age would have given us that amount of money to make this film—a race car drama, essentially? That was Fox. We were very, very aware of both living the metaphor, but also the subtler aspects of the metaphor, which is the fact that you’re given the opportunity in the first place by the Goliath.” Opportunity wasn’t knocking very loudly when Topping got started in the business, but she had a hearty ethic guiding her way. “My dad was a farmer, and he really instilled this idea that it’s one foot in front of the other in terms of trying to

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“I WANT WHAT ALL FILMMAKERS WANT, WHICH IS TO MOVE PEOPLE AND MAKE THEM LAUGH. TO MAKE THEM SEE THE WORLD THROUGH A DIFFERENT VIEWPOINT.”

Producers James Mangold, Jenno Topping and production designer Francois Audouy on set of Ford v Ferrrari

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do good work.” So why did she pivot from the harvest to Hollywood? “I couldn’t get a job in journalism. That’s the honest answer.” With a disarming chuckle, Topping retraces her first steps in the media world. “I worked at ABC News in New York with Peter Jennings,” she recounts, but her ambitions soon led her to Hollywood. “I ran out of money. I needed to get the first job I could possibly get. That was working for an independent producer who was also a music manager. So I went on tour with bands for their promotional tours and checked them in and out of rehab, and I worked as an assistant and a location PA on his independent films. I had always loved movies. I just never thought of them as a way to make money. I assumed I would be a journalist, but you do whatever you need to do to support yourself when you’re young.” Topping’s early years were a revelation of reinvention. She turbocharged the Charlie’s Angels franchise and transformed The Brady Bunch from a wholesome TV series into a big-screen screwball comedy. Regarding the latter challenge, Topping reveals, “They were looking to reinvigorate that brand, so they gave us the opportunity as long as we didn’t spend more than $12 million.” Laughing, she continues, “Often, that’s the quid pro quo: the lower the price point and the lower the risk for the company, the more you can invent.” This boundless quest for innovation soon caught the attention of Peter Chernin, with whom Topping has collaborated on disparate and daring projects like St. Vincent, the Planet of the Apes reboots and Best Picture nominee Hidden Figures. “When Peter started this company, he really wanted to work in every genre, at every price point. I think that was confusing to people, primarily agents, because it’s hard to sell to people who don’t have a clearly defined brand.” But Topping was more interested in audiences than constraints, and it


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influenced her foundational philosophy. “Most humans have an eclectic palate. It’s unusual to have a person, whether it’s an executive or a producer or a filmmaker, who just wants to stay in a very narrow lane. So for us, it’s all about the filmmakers and the writers and the talent. Who are the most interesting and compelling storytellers today and how do we keep taking shots on them and backing them and working with them hopefully over and over again?” The director at the top of her list: James Mangold, the helmer of Ford v Ferrari. “He’s truly a general of the army,” praises Topping. “He is a consummate professional and his knowledge of film is encyclopedic. He has worked in every genre, and he’s a producer as well as a director.” Adding octane to their mutual admiration, Mangold comments, “Jenno is a simply a great movie producer. On all levels. She combines the wisdom and calm of a seasoned professional with the unbridled optimism and unyielding spirit of a person who truly loves the process of

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making films and deeply believes in the promise of every project, no matter the budget. She loves story, loves people, has great instincts, is energetic, generous and unflinching in adversity, and as a bonus, she’s often hilarious.” Their passion was in sync, but there were plenty of monkey wrenches thrown into the pre-pro of Ford v Ferrari. “Jim and I were in the production offices one day, and we had assembled a meeting of all of the various heads of department to run through, with toy cars and cardboard cutouts on this huge table, how we would shoot one of the races from a logistical standpoint. There were tons of people standing around … and we couldn’t figure it out. Jim had this kind of bemused look on his face, and he turns to me and says, ‘Y’know what’s funny? I’m not really a car person.’ And I thought, S---! Why are you telling me that? We’re shooting in six weeks.” Topping savors the recollection warmly as she clarifies, “The truth is, it was one of the best things about his approach to this movie. He is a car person to the degree that

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Christian Bale puts the pedal to the metal as he races for the Ford team.

Producer Peter Chernin and Topping at Ford v Ferrari Toronto premiere

he cared so much about the racing, and he cared so much about getting it all right and having it be really dramatic and muscular. But he cares more about the people, and he


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cares more about the way in which they impacted each other and moved each other and pushed each other and protected one another. That’s the beauty of the story for him. That’s what he was focusing on during the racing sequences.” Striking a balance between searing drama and incendiary action wouldn’t be easy—or cheap—but Topping had her director’s back. “He wanted it to feel like a really big, sexy, classic movie in the old-school manner. So it was going to cost money to re-create. We went to Atlanta for some of the track stuff—we looked at Le Mans, but obviously it has changed so much that we couldn’t shoot there. So how are you going to re-create that in a way that’s fiscally responsible but also captures the history of the moment and the beauty of the moment?” Answering her own question, Topping buckles up for an epic trip down memory lane. “We went to France. We shot a lot here [in the States]. It was a very big production, all in the service of making it feel seamless and lush and beautiful. It was incredibly complicated. We’re trying to match stuff we’re doing in Atlanta to stuff we’re shooting here [Southern California]. Even though we’re in two completely different geographic locations, we’re shooting like fractions of seconds later on that track than we already shot on this track, and we’re trying to mush it all together. It was a lot of moving parts.” Some of those parts were moving a bit too fast, which is why Topping had to be pragmatic about the film’s more death-defying elements. Ford v Ferrari contains footage too dangerous to be captured without the benefit of computergenerated imagery, though the practical effects team puts the viewer in the driver’s seat as often as humanly possible. It’s a pragmatic thrill ride that perfectly illustrates what a friend once told her: “The best moment is when you realize you get to make the movie, and then from there it’s a series of compromises.” It was a juggling act requiring thousands of hands on deck, so Topping leaned on her trusted pit crew. “First you

“I WANT THIS FILMMAKING TEAM TO GET THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND THE CREDIT AND THE ACCLAIM THAT THEY DESERVE FOR HAVING

KILLED THEMSELVES AT THE SERVICE OF SOMETHING THAT FEELS IN SOME WAYS LIKE A DYING ART.” need the vision of the filmmaker, and next you need the team. I just want to work with good, talented people. Jim is somebody who floors me on a daily basis. He has a very peculiar way of having a really strong vision while also remaining quite open to actors and to his department heads and other creative people. That’s the best experience you can have.” Taking it one step further, Topping exclaims, “It was like a master class in filmmaking, shooting this movie, because the heads of department and the people working under them were so, so good!” The cast and crew amplified Topping’s enthusiasm for their shared labor of love. “We all had this bittersweet feeling as we were making the movie that this is the kind of film that doesn’t get made much anymore. For all of us who love movies, you just want this field to stay vibrant and to stay dynamic. I want this filmmaking team to get the acknowledgment and the credit and the acclaim that they deserve for having killed themselves at the service of something that feels in some ways like a dying art.” Topping punctuates this statement with a laugh, then turns serious. “We’re living through a seismic transition in the business. I feel like there’s more at stake in terms of my hoping people

receive this movie, in particular, with as much enthusiasm and alacrity as I’m envisioning. I want it to be proof of concept. I want people to make movies like this again.” In addition to being the producer of Ford v Ferrari, Topping is its biggest fan. “There are so many moments in this movie that just kill me. I sob every time I see it.” Topping identifies with her subjects and envisions them through the audience’s perspective. “In terms of the material I pick, whether it’s Melissa McCarthy’s character in The Heat or the women in Hidden Figures or these guys [in Ford v Ferrari], I think people are attracted to characters who overcome insurmountable odds or difficult obstacles in a way that’s surprising or interesting. This movie is about friendship and courage and the beauty in caring so much about doing something because you want to be good at it and you love it so much. It’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame; it’s about the journey itself.” Inspired by the very characters she helps bring to cinematic life, the acclaimed producer concludes, “I just think that purity of intent is so rare these days.” The good news: It seems to be making a speedy comeback, one Jenno Topping film at a time.

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GOING GREEN

Sustainable Production Forum in Vancouver, B.C. on November 1, 2

A PACT FOR ACTION Initiative provides common goals for collective action on sustainability Written by Zena Harris and Lonnie Wake

I

n the fall of 2019 more than 6 million people around the world united in a global wave of protests. People of all ages took to the streets from Brazil to New Zealand, Russia to Mexico City. The message? We need urgent action on the climate emergency. Greta Thunberg sparked the protests by initiating her own solo protest in 2018, and momentum has built behind her over the past year. The world is coming together to speak out on an issue that not only affects everyone, but will take everyone to solve. Building on sustainability initiatives such as Green Production Guide (greenproductionguide.com)—a collaboration of PGA Green and the major Hollywood studios—the motion picture industry is gaining momentum as well. By leveraging the creativity of all the individuals who work in motion pictures, collectively the industry has the potential to make a huge difference.

Increasingly, acting sustainably is no longer merely an option—it is becoming standard operating procedure. But it’s important to see sustainability as an opportunity, not a burden. It is another way that we can connect among individuals, departments and organizations. It is a way to make the industry more efficient. It is the path to the future. We are all connected by our common home and by the fact that we all have an impact on the environment. It can be daunting to think about trying to reduce that impact alone. But just as the individuals and departments on a production work together to create incredible productions, we can all take steps together to make changes, big or small. The Creative Industries Pact for Sustainable Action (known as the Pact) provides a pathway for collective action on common

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goals for sustainability within the industry. Nearly a year in the making, and with contributions from many, including PGA Green, the Pact is hot off the (virtual) press, and is launching this month. The Pact is an aspirational vision to unite the creative industries behind internationally recognized agreements and frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement. It brings people together to share achievements and inspire each other in the process. Studios and organizations large and small can endorse the Pact, track their progress vis-a-vis the pledges and share their success. Green Spark Group led the effort to connect stakeholders and draft the Pact, taking inspiration from other industries that have signed on to agreements such as the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action or the Plastics Pact. Another inspiration was our work on the strategic plan for Creative BC’s Reel Green, where 17 companies and organizations are working together on sustainable production in British Columbia. The Pact development process took 10 months and included industry stakeholders from around the world, as well as external reviews to check the scope and holistic nature of the Pact against those international environmental agreements. As people from across the industry engaged in the process, it became clear there is a consistent desire for a road map that the industry can follow—and that while sustainable production is taking place all over the world, no international framework united all of the industry’s efforts. Initial stakeholders who helped shape the Pact and provided feedback included PGA Green, major U.S.-based studios, and industry associations and organizations, from Canada to France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia and South Africa. External reviewers included experts on international sustainability policy from the University of British Columbia, University of Edinburgh, Yale University and the World Economic Forum. After incorporating feedback from each of these entities, the process culminated with a multinational stakeholder call to review and finalize the Pact. Now companies and organizations throughout the industry and around the world can sign on to the Pact and begin working toward its pledges to collectively reduce the industry’s impact. We can’t change everything all at once, but each small action makes a difference, and contributes to a growing global movement. A few steps taken on-set, like implementing a no-idling policy to reduce fuel use, managing waste, and donating materials, can go a long way toward reducing emissions and material waste. And collecting data helps us to understand the impact and tell the story of successes achieved and lessons learned. PGA member Mari Jo Winkler is working on a Participant Media production in Marseille, France. “I introduced the GPG tools to my production managers and local facilities team, and they ran with it. We’ve focused on composting, aggressive recycling

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GOING GREEN

and conservation of resources,” she says. Guild member Lydia Dean Pilcher, who typically uses the Green Production Guide’s Carbon Calculator on her productions, is currently using albert, a UK platform, while producing a six-hour miniseries called A Suitable Boy, filming in India for BBC Studios. “BBC mandates that productions complete carbon footprint reporting, and they have a certification program for those who want to go further in their sustainability measures. We formed a Green Team within our cast and crew,” says Pilcher, “to collectively push our initiatives forward.” While global alignment of tools is the next step for the industry, the Pact is a grounding central platform to capture regional context and document sustainability efforts vis-a-vis the pledges. The first two pledges in the Pact are to “formally develop and implement an action-oriented sustainability strategy which aligns with the goals within established frameworks” and to “establish metrics to quantify, track and report on resource consumption, emissions and impacts through the establishment of a baseline and assessment of performance over time.” A studio’s sustainability strategy, for example, may include the use of tools like the GPG and albert carbon calculator to understand impacts, take steps to make changes and communicate their progress. Spreading the sustainable word isn’t just for producers and crew. Talent and those above the line can include a sustainability rider in their contract to catalyze sustainability on production. With the Pact, the creative industry now has a road map for collective action. The industry is positioned to come together and play an important role in the global movement for climate action. As Greta Thunberg has challenged and inspired youth to engage in their future, everyone in the motion picture industry, from organizations and studios to producers, talent and crew, can together take action and mobilize. We can shape the sustainable future of the industry and our collective home. The time to act is now. To learn more about the Pact, visit creativeindustriespact.com.

Zena Harris is President and Lonnie Wake is Communications Manager of Green Spark Group, a sustainability consultancy with a vision to transform culture and change the climate of entertainment. Learn more at greensparkgroup.com.


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Emma Tillinger Koskoff learns from a master how to bring humanity to her productions By Sarah Sanders

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SCOR 96

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Standing: David Webb, First AD; Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producer; Victor Paguia, Stunts. Seated: Martin Scorsese, Al Pacino, Stephen Graham

COURTESY OF NIKO TAVERNISE

R SESE PRODUCED BY

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UNIVERSITY OF SCORSESE

“Lead with kindness.” These aren’t the words I was expecting to be the guiding philosophy of the woman best known as “Martin Scorsese’s producer”—the woman behind such dark, gritty blockbusters as The Wolf of Wall Street and The Departed. But from the moment she says hello, it’s clear producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff not only values but also embodies a genuine kindness. She’s in Manhattan for the New York Film Festival, where The Irishman and Joker both had premieres, and when we meet in her hotel suite, she’s just raced back from a morning screening. Despite her packed schedule, Koskoff is warm and welcoming, and by the end of our conversation I feel as though I’m talking to someone I’ve known for a long time. This warmth becomes less surprising the more Koskoff talks about her work philosophy, and how relationships and human connection are of paramount importance. Indeed, for the past 17 years, her working relationship with Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese has been at the center of her career. Koskoff worked as his executive assistant for three years and in 2006 was promoted to President of Production for Sikelia Productions. She now works alongside Scorsese on all aspects of his film and television projects. “I will say I have the greatest gig in town,” Koskoff says. “I’ve been so fortunate to be raised and mentored by Marty in this job. He’s so giving and patient. He’s extremely demanding,” she adds. “He has taught me so much, so it’s been 17 years of growth and a great learning process. It’s like my own private film school.” Koskoff never went to traditional film school. From the time she was in high school, she knew she wanted to start working in entertainment right away. “I knew that I did not want to go to college. I knew that I did not want to go to film school. I knew that I wanted to just get out and get into the workforce,” she

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says. “My father’s a theater director. My mother’s an actress, writer, director. So this is in my DNA. And now, I feel like the luckiest producer.” Over the course of the years, Koskoff and Scorsese have built a meaningful relationship and learned how to work together really well. In addition to handling the production demands of their films, she prioritizes protecting Scorsese and his creative process. “My main focus, and what I pride myself on, is putting the support team around him and help make the shoot, the edit and the post as safe and secure as possible for him,” she says. “I always want to be able to give Marty the freedom to create and do what he does.” Balancing creative and logistical demands was both a joy and a challenge throughout work on The Irishman. The star-studded film brings together a legendary cast including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci—and marks not only a reunion for De Niro, Pesci and

Even though Koskoff and Scorsese are no strangers to giant films, the scale of The Irishman was immense: It spans 50 years, and production involved 320 scenes in 117 locations. “It’s always challenging making a film,” she explains, but “this was particularly challenging, just given the amount of days, the scope and size of what we were doing.” Scorsese apparently agreed. She recounts with a smile how he “would come to the set sometimes and say, ‘Who are all these people? What are all these trucks doing here? What is going on? Emma, this is not how you make a movie!’ And I would laugh and say, ‘Remember though, we are carrying nine cameras at all times because we’re shooting digital, and we’re shooting film. Marty, that’s three camera crews! It’s a lot of people! This is how we’re making this movie!’” she says. “And he’d go, ‘Ugh, this is crazy!’ and then he’d go off laughing.” In the midst of such a complicated

“I ALWAYS WANT TO BE ABLE TO GIVE MARTY THE FREEDOM TO CREATE AND DO WHAT HE DOES.” Scorsese, but also the first time Pacino and the director have worked together. According to production notes, The Irishman is “an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century.” Koskoff loved the screenplay and working with the cast. Further, the idea of the film had been De Niro’s passion project for a long time, which added an extra special element to the process. “To be able to help him see that come to life was just very moving and amazing,” she says.

production, it was especially important to Koskoff to ensure that Scorsese and the actors had the space and time they needed to do their creative work, and to be “malleable to the needs of the actors,” who were diving into intense, dramatic roles. “I’ll always err on the side of the human needs as opposed to the production demands,” she says, while also acknowledging that she’s deeply involved in handling all of those aspects, from budgeting to scheduling. “I’ll always figure out how to compensate on that [the production] side to make sure Marty and the actors have what they need,” she explains. “Whether that’s making


“ EXTRAORDINARILY BEAUTIFUL AND WRENCHING. A CALL FOR MORAL VIGILANCE IN ANY ERA. THE CONVICTION OF THIS MOVIE WOULD SPEAK FORCEFULLY IN ANY LANGUAGE.” J u s t i n C h a n g,

Written and Directed by

TERRENCE MALICK Fo r Yo u r C o n s i d e ra tion i n Al l C a te g ori es In c lud i ng

BEST PICTURE Produced by

GRANT HILL, p.g.a. DARIO BERGESIO, JOSH JETER, p.g.a. ELISABETH BENTLEY

BEST DIRECTOR BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Based on True Events AUGUST DIEHL

VALERIE PACHNER

AHiddenLifeFYC.com


difficult phone calls to add a day, or whatever I have to sort of handle so that it’s handled, I’m happy and willing to do it.” Still, not even the best preparation or negotiations can account for the weather, an element that has made for some of the most memorable days of Koskoff’s and Scorsese’s shoots. She tells the story of one particular day shooting The Irishman during a February cold snap when the windchill brought the temperature to below zero. They were by the water in Red Hook, Brooklyn, shooting a scene in which De Niro and actor Bo Dietl push taxi cabs into the river. “It was so cold, I can’t even tell you,” she exclaims, even with hot-air blowers they had brought to try to keep people warm. “I literally put on my ski gear: my ski pants, my winter boots, my ski jacket, my face mask.” “It was a big scene,” she explains, involving a crane, choreography from DP Rodrigo Pietro—and a three-hour reset to get the taxicabs out of the river in case they didn’t get the shot. “You know, with Marty, if it’s not the way he wants it, we’re doing it again,” she says. “And we got the shot.” While that day was difficult, Koskoff says nothing compares to shooting 2016’s Silence, a film Scorsese had been wanting to make for nearly 30 years, and which was shot entirely in Taiwan. “That was a beast. It was an incredibly difficult film to put together. I remember saying to him, ‘It’s you and me: We can’t call LA when we get into trouble. We’ve got a finite amount of money. We’ve got a finite amount of time,’” she recalls. But Scorsese “was an incredible producing partner to me. I had to have tough conversations, we had to make tough choices, and we did it together.” The most challenging of those days? Driving up a mountain at 4:30 a.m., preparing for a giant scene involving many background actors and getting a call that there was a downpour so torrential that the extras’ tents had blown off the side of the mountain. There was lightning, and the whole set was flooded— and the scene they were shooting was meant to be on a hot, dry day. “That’s a situation where you have to just go with go with it,” she explains, though she did briefly consider calling it a day. “But we got up there, the rain stopped, the lightning stopped, we got those tents back up, and we made our day.” Indeed, the work required to produce Silence made the project all the more meaningful to her. “My blood, sweat and tears went into that film, and I am so proud of that movie,” she says. It was the first time she felt secure in the knowledge that “I got this. I actually can produce a film,” she explains. “Somebody was saying I have imposter syndrome—you know, ‘They’re going to find out I don’t really know what I’m doing.’ But that really gave me a level of confidence that I didn’t have before.” Koskoff was met with a new kind of challenge working on Joker— producing with someone other than Scorsese. She met Joker director Todd Phillips a couple of years ago. The two hit it off, and initially Scorsese’s production company was interested in making the film. While Scorsese ultimately was not able to be involved due to scheduling constraints, when Phillips asked Koskoff to stay on and her own schedule allowed, Scorsese gave her the go-ahead. “It was quite terrifying,” she says. “I was very nervous. I sort of secondguessed myself. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I shouldn’t be doing this. I don’t really know what I’m doing … I don’t know that I really know how to produce for somebody else.’” However, after some encouragement from her dear friend—producer and manager Rick Yorn—and her husband, Nick, Koskoff agreed. Phillips was “extremely supportive and welcoming and nurturing and championing,” she says, and working on the movie was a great experience.

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UNIVERSITY OF SCORSESE


UNIVERSITY OF SCORSESE

“I’LL ALWAYS ERR ON THE SIDE OF THE HUMAN NEEDS AS OPPOSED TO THE PRODUCTION DEMANDS.”

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“ELEGANTLY, CAREFULLY MADE.“ Executive Producers GEORGE CLOONEY GRANT HESLOV RICHARD BROWN STEVE GOLIN LUKE DAVIES DAVID MICHÔD Produced by BARBARA A. HALL Producer ELLEN KURAS


UNIVERSITY OF SCORSESE

COURTESY OF NIKO TAVERNISE

Koskoff’s 17 years with Scorsese have been, she says, “like my own private film school.”

“It was another film that really gave me a level of confidence that I didn’t have,” she explains. “I have a lot of insecurities and I have a lot to learn, and I know that. I’m confident in my ability in what I do, so I’m confident in the room. But I’m also not afraid to be vulnerable and to ask for help when I need it, and to lean on people when I need it. I make sure to surround myself with the best of the best because I stand on many, many shoulders.” In fact, an element of working on Joker that Koskoff valued was being able to hire and bring along several crew members she had worked with before, including AD David Webb, with whom Phillips had been wanting to work for years. She’s very close to the crew members,

explaining, “I’m attached at the hip to the line producer and the AD and the DP.” Making sure the crew is happy is something Koskoff takes very seriously. “I want the crew to feel just as important as the actors and the director, and just as well taken care of. That’s sort of how I like to operate, and I do operate,” she explains. “I’m a big fan of food trucks, a big fan of spoiling my crew, a big fan of, you know, Friday night wrap drinks,” she says. “It’s gonna be hard work, so let’s make it as much fun as it can be.” When I ask what she does for herself to decompress at the end of a long day, Koskoff is quick with her response: “I love to have a big, tall glass of red wine. Maybe two,” she says. She loves to sit in the

trailer with her team and recap the day, “take a deep breath, and get ready to do it all again,” she adds. It seems like Koskoff will have many more days to “do it all again.” She’s currently preparing to shoot Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma over the summer. No matter how busy or stressful a day may be, though, Koskoff insists that having empathy is a vital element of producing. “Really try and keep your humanity,” she says. “Everybody is a human being. Everybody is there to do the same thing. Lead with kindness, lead with authority, lead with confidence. But most importantly, lead with kindness.” Words to live by, on and off a film set.

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WINNER

ZACK GOTTSAGEN

CHAMPION OF INCLUSION AWARD

BEST BUDDIES

WINNER

WINNER POSITIVE IMAGES IN THE MEDIA AWARD TASH

WINNER

NARRATIVE FEATURE TYLER NILSON & MICHAEL SCHWARTZ

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT TYLER NILSON & MICHAEL SCHWARTZ

NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL AUDIENCE AWARD

SXSW FILM FESTIVAL AUDIENCE AWARD


ON THE SCENE PRODUCERS ON PRODUCING, SEPTEMBER 19, SEPTEMBER 30, NEW YORK

STATE-OF-THE-ART DOCUMENTARY DISTRIBUTION STRATEGIES, SEPTEMBER 19, NEW YORK

PHOTOGRAPHED BY GEENA HOFFMAN

The Documentary/Nonfiction Committee presented a State-ofthe-Art Documentary Distribution Strategies program. Speaker Peter Broderick covered the benefits of hybrid distribution as well as strategies producers can use to maximize audience and revenue in the new world of documentary distribution. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss their current projects and distribution challenges. The evening concluded with a light reception and networking.

In September, the One Guild Initiative hosted two Producers on Producing programs in collaboration with the Urbanworld Film Festival and New York Film Festival. The Producers on Producing series is part of PGA’s One Guild initiative supporting inclusive membership, employment, content and depictions. The September 19 program with Tonya Lewis Lee (Co-founder, ToniK Productions) and Lori McCreary (CEO, Revelations Entertainment) was held at the Urbanworld Film Festival. The pair discussed how their early career experiences—Lewis Lee as a corporate lawyer and McCreary as a data scientist—contributed to their producing careers. Lewis Lee and McCreary also shared their personal producing philosophies, from what a producer should bring to a pitch meeting to their decisions to choose projects with the highest social impact.  The PGA cohosted a Producers on Producing segment at the 57th New York Film Festival on September 30. PGA member David Hinojosa (First Reformed, Vox Lux, Beatriz at Dinner) interviewed producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff (The Irishman, Joker, The Wolf of Wall Street). Koskoff is President of Production for Sikelia Productions and Hinojosa is an independent producer and producing partner at Killer Films. Koskoff discussed her priorities as a producer and how she fosters creative, collaborative sets. Koskoff and Hinojosa also answered audience questions on topics such as working with financiers, getting through gatekeepers and the impact of streamEmma Tillinger Koskoff and David ing platforms like Hinojosa Netflix.

INDIE BREAKFAST, SEPTEMBER 17, NEW YORK The Chairs of the PGA East Independent Film Producers Committee hosted an intimate breakfast with the new Artistic Director of the Berlin Film Festival, Carlo Chatrian. The breakfast provided the opportunity for independent film and documentary producers to hear about some of the changes ahead of this year’s festival, while also networking with colleagues.

Diane Houslin, Lori McCreary, Tonya Lewis Lee, Gabrielle Glore, Matthew Principe at Urbanworld Film Festival

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MEET TEACHER JESSICA

One book changed her life.

Photo Credit: Save the Children / Rachel Palmer

Jessica’s world is now wide open because she can read. She attends a school sponsored by Save the Children – and wants to be just like her teacher one day. For 100 years, Save the Children has been ensuring children’s needs are met, in the U.S. and around the world. See how one small act can change the life of a child.

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Learn more at savethechildren.org/change CHANGING A LIFE LASTS A LIFETIME


ON THE SCENE EMMY VIEWING PARTY, SEPTEMBER 22, LOS ANGELES PGA members gathered at Jalapeño Pete’s in Studio City to celebrate the broadcast of the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards. Attendees dressed in festive attire and enjoyed appetizers and cocktails while watching the show. In addition to networking with their fellow members, attendees were encouraged to bring PGA-eligible guests interested in joining the Guild. The guests had an opportunity to learn more about the many benefits of being a PGA member and received a special discount code for 50% off the cost of their application fee. The Emmy Viewing and Recruitment Party was hosted by the PGA West Events Committee. The volunteer event organizers included Alesia Glidewell, Ian Wagner, Stacy Ekstein and Michelle Romano, as well as Event Committee Chairs Karen Covell and Joe Morabito.


ON THE SCENE

FINANCING SOCIAL IMPACT ENTERTAINMENT, SEPTEMBER 21, FOWLER MUSEUM AT UCLA The PGA’s Social Impact Entertainment Task Force (SIETF), led by Anne Marie Gillen, PGA member and SIETF co-founder, produced an incredibly informative event titled Financing Social Impact Entertainment. The program, a collaboration with UCLA’s Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment, was held at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. With introductions from Laura Herb, Program Manager of the Skoll SIE Center, an overview by SIETF member William Nix and a presentation on financing terminology by Gillen, the event sought to define the content and focus of this genre of filmmaking in the documentary, film, TV and new media platforms. Two panels shared their insights and takeaway information on how to get these projects funded and supported. Panel A, moderated by Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of the International Documentary Association, focused on documentaries, new media, grants, foundations and nonprofits. Panel B did a deep dive into financing social impact film and television with moderator Gillen. The event was videotaped and is available to all members on the PGA website.

Event Producer Anne Marie Gillen

POWER WOMEN SUMMIT, OCTOBER 24–25, LOS ANGELES Women’s Impact Network represented the PGA at the 2nd annual Power Women Summit, hosted by The Wrap and held at the Fairmont Miramar. The Summit featured performances and panels led by Eva Longoria, Crissy Metz, Rita Wilson, Jennifer Salke and Gigi Gorgeous, among many others. It was an inspiring two days of education, mentorship, workshops and networking to promote the (L-R) Yolanda T. Cochran (WIN National Co-chair), Dayna Lynne goal of greater women’s leadership in the entertainment North (Writer/EP), Kathleen Prior Louis (KPL Talent), Dana Belcastro (EVP Feature Production, Fox), Jeanette Volturno (Head of Feature industry, and gender balance in media, entertainment and Production, Blumhouse), Ivy Kagan Bierman (Partner, Loeb & Loeb) technology overall. With the goal of “Toward 50/50,” the event highlighted women of achievement, encouraged discussion on topics of impact and created a lasting community of powerful women. Our PGA WIN panel was titled Hiring Practices: Practical Strategies for Achieving More Optimal Parity and Gender & Diverse Inclusion. It was a spirited conversation that focused on giving attendees concrete action items for achieving this goal.

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O P E N D O ORS

MAKING DIVERSITY SECOND NATURE NEW YEAR IS GREAT TIME TO BRING NEW VOICES TO THE TABLE Written by Sasheen R. Artis

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ight around this time of year, we begin to see more ads and articles encouraging us to live better, exercise more and eat healthier. And we know in order to do that, it’s important to change our habits. Moreover, we know it takes discipline, courage and hard work on a daily basis to keep good habits in place and be successful. So I wondered: Can we use these same tenets in the entertainment industry to infuse diversity, inclusion and retention in our projects and c-suites and grow our business? Can we develop good habits as producers and executives to produce authentic stories until it becomes second nature? Tom Bartow, a former financial advisor and college basketball coach, is credited with developing the “three phases of habit formation”—the honeymoon, the “fight-thru” and second nature—to help executives and companies excel. Let’s see if we can apply his theory.

A producer discovers a script with an authentic diverse story, options it and proceeds to find great talent to attach to it. Things are moving smoothly and she’s getting good responses from a top director and a couple of talented actors. The project is coming together and the producer decides the package is ready to take to financiers. Bartow characterizes this as the honeymoon phase—the feeling that “this is easy.” The producer is motivated and positive. It feels good. She meets with a financier who accepts the director, likes the story and believes that she can deliver the project, but doesn’t think it’s for an international audience and wants to change the race, gender, sexual orientation or another diverse aspect of the lead character. For the producer, this will undermine the entire project, but the financier is essential to getting it made. This is where reality sets in—Bartow’s fight-thru stage. At this point, he recommends these techniques: RECOGNIZE: The producer must say, “I have entered the fight-thru, and I need to win a few to move past this.” Winning each fight-thru will make it easier to win the next. Conversely, when you settle for losing a fight-thru, you make it easier to lose the next one. ASK TWO QUESTIONS: “How will I feel if I change the essential aspects of the lead character?” and “How will I feel if I don’t change the character and potentially lose the financier?” Consider all of the possibilities. You may have to start from scratch,

find a different financier and potentially lose the window of opportunity to make the project with the director. It’s OK to let yourself feel the positive in winning the fight-thru or the negative in losing. LIFE PROJECTION: Imagine in great detail what life would be like in five years if you compromise and settle for losing the fight-thru. What other compromises would you be forced to make? Be totally honest with yourself. Eventually the producer decides to seek another source of financing. After a long slog, she finally convinces a new group of funders to believe in her vision. Through her tenacity and courage not to compromise, she makes the commitment, day in and day out, to see it through and finally arrives at Bartow’s final phase—second nature. Making diversity, inclusion and retention “second nature” in your business requires hard work and sacrifice. It involves saying yes when others won’t, and taking risks and not allowing inevitable setbacks to discourage and derail you from your goals. Once it takes hold, it can become a business model, a strategy to be deployed company-wide, bringing new voices and perspectives to the table and opening doors to untapped markets. Exercising these good habits can be essential to your success. ¢

Sasheen R. Artis is a writer and producer and Co-Chair of the PGA Power of Diversity Master Workshop.

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P G A AT YO U R SERVICE

MARKING TIME The Producers Guild proudly salutes the following whose credits have been certified with the Producers Mark. This list includes films released in October and November. Certification via the Producers Mark indicates that a producer undertook a major portion of the producing duties on the motion picture.

21 BRIDGES Anthony Russo, p.g.a. Joe Russo, p.g.a. Mike LaRocca, p.g.a. Logan Coles, p.g.a. Chadwick Boseman, p.g.a.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY Gail Berman, p.g.a. Conrad Vernon, p.g.a. Alex Schwartz, p.g.a.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD Youree Henley, p.g.a. Marc Turtletaub, p.g.a. & Peter Saraf, p.g.a. Leah Holzer, p.g.a.

GAME DAY John Susman, p.g.a. Stuart Wolf, p.g.a.

GEMINI MAN Jerry Bruckheimer, p.g.a.

THE GOOD LIAR Bill Condon, p.g.a. Greg Yolen, p.g.a.

HONEY BOY Chris Leggett, p.g.a. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, p.g.a. Alma Har’el, p.g.a. Daniela Taplin Lundberg, p.g.a.

JEXI Suzanne Todd, p.g.a.

BLACK AND BLUE Sean Sorensen, p.g.a.

CHARLIE’S ANGELS Elizabeth Banks, p.g.a. & Max Handelman, p.g.a. Elizabeth Cantillon, p.g.a. Doug Belgrad, p.g.a.

JOKER Todd Phillips, p.g.a. & Bradley Cooper, p.g.a. Emma Tillinger Koskoff, p.g.a.

JOJO RABBIT Carthew Neal, p.g.a. Taika Waititi, p.g.a.

COUNTDOWN John Rickard, p.g.a. John Morris, p.g.a.

KNIVES OUT Rian Johnson, p.g.a. Ram Bergman, p.g.a.

DARK WATERS Mark Ruffalo, p.g.a. Christine Vachon, p.g.a. Pamela Koffler, p.g.a.

DOCTOR SLEEP Trevor Macy, p.g.a Jon Berg, p.g.a.

FORD V FERRARI Peter Chernin, p.g.a. & Jenno Topping, p.g.a. James Mangold, p.g.a.

FROZEN II To apply for Producers Mark certification, visit us online at producersguildawards.com.

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Peter Del Vecho, p.g.a.

LAST CHRISTMAS Emma Thompson, p.g.a. David Livingstone, p.g.a. Jessie Henderson, p.g.a. & Paul Feig, p.g.a.

THE LIGHTHOUSE Rodrigo Teixeira, p.g.a. Jay Van Hoy, p.g.a. Lourenço Sant’ Anna, p.g.a.

LITTLE MONSTERS Jodi Matterson, p.g.a. Bruna Papandrea, p.g.a. Steve Hutensky, p.g.a. Keith Calder, p.g.a. & Jess Calder, p.g.a.


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LUCY IN THE SKY Bruna Papandrea, p.g.a. Noah Hawley, p.g.a. John Cameron, p.g.a.

Gigi Pritzker, p.g.a. Rachel Shane, p.g.a. Michael Bederman, p.g.a.

PLAYING WITH FIRE MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL Joe Roth, p.g.a. Duncan Henderson, p.g.a.

MIDWAY Harald Kloser, p.g.a. Roland Emmerich, p.g.a.

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN Bill Migliore, p.g.a. Edward Norton, p.g.a.

Todd Garner, p.g.a. Sean Robins, p.g.a.

QUEEN & SLIM

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE James Cameron, p.g.a. David Ellison, p.g.a.

WESTERN STARS Thom Zimny, p.g.a. Jon Landau, p.g.a. Barbara Carr, p.g.a. George Travis, p.g.a.

Lena Waithe, p.g.a. Melina Matsoukas, p.g.a. Michelle Knudsen, p.g.a. Pamela Abdy, p.g.a.

STUFFED Kaleena Kiff, p.g.a. Galen Fletcher, p.g.a. Erin Derham, p.g.a.

PRODUCED BY

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P G A AT YO U R SERVICE

MEMBER BENEFITS ■ Discounted registration for Produced By Conference and Produced By: New York. ■ Vote on Producers Guild Awards and receive discount tickets to the event, as well as DVD screeners for awards consideration. ■ Access to CSATTF online safety training videos. ■ Admission to special PGA pre-release screenings and Q&A events. ■ Full access to PGA website including events, calendar, social networking tools, members-only video library. ■ Access to PGA Job Board, online resume search, employment tools and job forums.

■ Eligibility for PGA Mentoring Program. ■ Listing of contact and credit information in searchable online roster. ■ Arbitration of credit disputes. ■ Participation in the Motion Picture Industry Health, Welfare & Pension Plan. ■ Free attendance at PGA seminars. ■ Wide variety of discounts on events, merchandise, travel. ■ Complimentary subscription to Produced By.

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P G A AT YO U R SERVICE

NEW MEMBERS The Producers Guild is proud to welcome the following new members, who joined the Guild in September and October 2019.

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2

3

4

5

PRODUCERS COUNCIL Meriam Alrashid Julie Anderson Paloma Bilson Brandon Birtell Matthew Bissonnette Jennifer Busch Johanna Byer Irakli Chikvaidze Michael Clear Charles Cohen Gil Colon Erik Crary 1 Cristan Crocker Nick Cuse Julie Di Cataldo Jonathan Elrich Clay Epstein Ann Finnegan Pete Fisher Emile Gladstone Jeremy Gold Lawrence Grey JoAnn Grigioni Maximilian Haidbauer Wei Han Richard Hewitt Margret Huddleston David Huffman Pam Jacobson Phil Keoghan Phillip Kobylanski 6

Eli Lehrer Zac Locke Deborah Moore Michael Negri Lauren Neustadter Nigina Niyazmatova Kenneth Parker Maria Peek Diana Phillips Tanase Popa Robbie Praw Mark Rapaport Eugene Rhee Robert Rippberger 2 Marsy Robinson Craig Rosebraugh Anoush Sadegh Spero Stamboulis James Taylor Schuyler Weiss Philip Westgren Courtney Wieden Lisha Yakub 3 Bochen Zhang Glen Zipper Kristen Zolner

AP COUNCIL Jes Anderson Luke Austin Marne Braun Alex Breen 7

Samantha Brooks Jonathan Brytus Stephen Burns Andrew Catania Alexandria Costa Larry Detwiler Ryne Dillon Christopher Dimitrov Brett Dowler Jonathan Field Carol Gable Tamara Gagarin 4 Ketura Kestin Jacob Kitaeff John Lewis Jeff MacClay Jillian Mireles Carlos Morales Jacob Mullen 5 Mellisa Pinsly Danielle Pruitt Kim Rasser Jennifer Ricks Serge Riou Charlie Sanders Jodi Sanders Daryn Simons Aaron Talavera James Wallace Benjamin Warhit Phillipp Wolf Eileen Yedwab 6 8

NEW MEDIA COUNCIL Gina Apestegui 7 Jake Avnet Justin Coloma Carrie Dole Camie Holmes Ron Khoury 8 Terri Lubaroff Dan Mecca Lindsay Rodgers Danielle Suarez Doug Wolfe 9

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PRODUCED BY

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P G A AT YO U R SERVICE

PGA HEALTH: WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

“I WORK ON A WEST COAST IATSE PRODUCTION.”

“I AM AN INDIVIDUAL LOOKING FOR THE BEST COVERAGE I CAN AFFORD.”

Motion Picture Industry Plan

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The Actor’s Fund

Available to: Producers/Produced By, Executive Producers, Associate Producers, Post-Production Supervisors

Available to: Employers and employees of small production companies

Available to: All professionals who work in the entertainment industry

Who: •Work at a company with a minimum of three employees. Company owner may count as an employee if s/he draws a salary from the company.

The Actor’s Fund is the official organization representing the Affordable Care Act to the entertainment industry.

Who: •Work for an AMPTP signatory •Work on theatrical motion pictures, prime-time network series, prime-time, first-run syndicated series •Utilize a West Coast IA Crew •A re credited with 600 hours of work over the past six months. (Assume a 60-hour work week.) Once qualified, participants must be credited with 400 hours of work in the subsequent six-month period to extend coverage. CONTACT: Your payroll or labor relations department.

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“I RUN A SMALL COMPANY.”

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CONTACT: (866) 491-4001 Request information about MEWA (Multiple Employer Welfare Association) plans.

CONTACT: (800) 221-7303 (New York) (888) 825-0911 (Los Angeles) Request a consultation to discuss individual plans available on the open market.


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P G A AT YO U R SERVICE

FAQ: THE PRODUCERS MARK those three little letters have a lot backing them up

WHEN I SEE P.G.A. AFTER A PRODUCER’S NAME IN A MOVIE’S CREDITS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN? It means that according to the rules of the Producers Guild’s certification process, that producer performed a major portion of the producing functions on that particular motion picture.

DOES THE P.G.A. AFTER THE PRODUCER’S NAME MEAN THAT THE PRODUCER IS A MEMBER OF THE PRODUCERS GUILD? No. A producer does not need to be a member of the PGA to receive the “p.g.a.” designation after their name. In many cases, the sets of initials you see in movie credits (such as A.S.C. and A.C.E.) indicate membership in an organization. The Producers Mark is different. It’s a certification mark; its purpose is to designate that the producer has met an officially recognized standard of performance on that film.

IF A PRODUCER DOESN’T RECEIVE THE P.G.A. MARK FROM THE PRODUCERS GUILD, WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR PRODUCING CREDIT? Nothing. The Producers Mark doesn’t control or affect the “Produced By” credit in any way, nor does it invalidate that credit by its absence.

WHAT IMPACT DOES THE P.G.A. MARK HAVE ON AWARDS? Determinations for the Producers Mark and for producer award eligibility are determined at the same time and via the

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same process. In addition to the PGA, AMPAS, HFPA and BAFTA all rely on the PGA process to guide their decisionmaking. However the final selection of nominees is always at the discretion of the organization giving the award. Overwhelmingly, these organizations concur with the PGA determinations, but occasionally, the decisions diverge.

WHAT’S THE PROCESS? The process is initiated by the copyright owner of the film. After the postproduction process has commenced, but four to six weeks before credits are locked, the owner submits a film for consideration via ProducersGuildAwards.com. Within two to three weeks, the PGA sends out eligibility forms to every producer credited as “Produced By” or “Producer” on the film and sends confidential verification forms to a wide variety of third parties associated with the production of the film: the director(s), writer(s), department heads, company executives and key crew members. Once forms have been returned, the PGA convenes a panel of arbiters, each of them active and experienced producers with numerous (and recent) credits, typically in the genre or category of the film under consideration. (I.e., if the film is a major studio tentpole, we try to utilize arbiters with considerable experience in making those big-budget studio pictures. If the film is a smaller indie movie, we rely on producers familiar with that type of production, etc.) An initial arbitration panel typically has three arbiters. The arbiters review all materials

returned to the PGA by the producers and third parties, with all names of individuals credited on the film redacted, so that arbiters can arrive at a judgment based on the testimony provided rather than the name recognition and perceived reputation of the producers. Following the determination, the PGA staff informs the producers of the decision. Producers who object to the decision have five days to notify the Guild of an intent to appeal. After giving producers the opportunity to add to or clarify their testimony, the PGA will convene a new panel of arbiters. All appellate panels consist of three producers. If the initial decision was unanimous, the appellate panel will consist of one producer from the original panel and two new producers; if the initial decision was not unanimous, the appellate panel will consist of three new producers. The decision of the appellate panel is final.

SO WHEN ARBITERS ARE LOOKING AT THESE FORMS, WHAT ARE THEY SEEING? The eligibility form filled out by producers asks them to indicate their level of responsibility for a variety of producing functions spanning development, preproduction, physical production and post-production. The form also includes a free-response section for the producer to more fully elaborate on the specifics of the production and their role on the film. The verification forms filled out by third parties typically ask the respondent questions related to the nature of their collaboration with the credited producers.


P G A AT YO U R SERVICE

(For instance, the verification form for editors asks the editor to designate which producer(s) consulted with the editor regarding dailies, gave notes on cuts or participated in screenings.)

WHO SELECTS WHICH ARBITERS VET THE CREDITS OF WHICH MOTION PICTURES? That determination is made by the PGA’s Associate General Counsel in consultation with the National Executive Director/COO.

WHAT IF THE PGA SELECTS AN ARBITER WHO (UNBEKNOWNST TO THEM) IS BIASED AGAINST A GIVEN PRODUCER OR FILM? The Guild takes proactive measures to prevent that from happening. Prior to convening the panel, the PGA provides all producers with a list of potential arbiters. Producers are free to strike any arbiter for any reason. Such arbiters will not be empaneled for that particular film. Furthermore, all arbiters are asked to affirmatively state that they have no interests in the films to be arbitrated that might result in a biased judgment. Even if all of those hurdles are cleared, an arbiter will be removed from the process if they or the PGA administrator feels that bias is affecting their judgment.

WHY CAN’T THE PGA BE MORE TRANSPARENT ABOUT THE PROCESS? We maintain the strictest confidentiality around the identities of the producers, third parties and arbiters involved because such confidence is the only

p.g.a. way we can hope to get accurate and truthful information. Many producers are powerful figures in this industry and this might put pressure on third parties and arbiters to achieve a desired decision. Keeping those identities confidential is the only way to maintain the integrity of the process.

ONCE A PRODUCER’S CREDIT IS CERTIFIED WITH THE P.G.A. MARK, IS THAT CERTIFICATION APPLIED PERMANENTLY TO ALL OF THE PRODUCER’S FILMS? No. A Producers Mark appended to a producing credit applies to that film only. It represents the nature of the work performed on that film alone and does not “carry over” to future productions.

WHY DO SOME FILMS CARRY THE P.G.A. MARK, BUT NOT OTHERS? The Producers Mark is voluntary. Each of the major studios—Universal, Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount and Fox—has signed a contractual agreement to submit their films to the Guild for credit certification, as have Lionsgate, DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation, Lucasfilm, Marvel, MGM, New Line and Pixar. If an independently owned film elects not to participate, we can’t

force them to submit for certification. The Producers Mark also is recognized by the WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA. The PGA has agreed not to license the Producers Mark for use with any combined credit (e.g., “Directed and Produced By …”)

WHO DOES THE PRODUCERS GUILD REPRESENT? The PGA is composed of over 8,200 professionals working in motion pictures, television and digital media throughout the United States and around the world.

HOW IS THE PGA DIFFERENT FROM ITS FELLOW GUILDS? Unlike the DGA, WGA and SAG-AFTRA, the PGA is not a labor union. This means that we can’t go on strike, set wage minimums, or negotiate collective bargaining agreements on behalf of our membership. As we are now the largest professional trade organization in the entertainment industry, the PGA provides numerous benefits for its members, including educational and training events, employment opportunities, social and networking functions, and a collective voice that represents and protects the varied interests of producers and their teams, including the Producers Mark. ■

PRODUCED BY

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BEST ON-SET PHOTO OF ALL TIME

GOING TO EXTREMES

I

t was the best of times. It was the worst of times. This is a tale of two shoots for one sequence, each taking place under dramatically different circumstances. The year was 2002. PGA member Gregg L. Daniel was enjoying his job producing the sci-fi comedy The Big Empty, starring Jon Favreau, Sean Bean, Kelsey Grammer and Daryl Hannah. Fellow PGA members Doug Mankoff, Andrew Spaulding and Keith Resnick were also part of the team. This memorable scene involved a POV of a spaceship hovering above Jon, as it leaves earth with some travelers aboard. The director and DP used a crane to give the audience a feeling of elevation as the craft moved upward, and the visual effects team continued the shot into the clouds and outer space. Part of the sequence was shot outside Baker, California, in the Mojave Desert, on a night when it was a bone-chilling zero degrees. Gregg had to outfit the crew with polar explorer jackets so they wouldn’t freeze to death on the job. Five months later, the filmmakers returned to the same spot for some pickups, but this time it was a blazing 120º. Instead of heavy-duty jackets, the producer offered the crew water misters. Despite the environmental challenge, Gregg also thought to nab this unusual photo.  In the movie business, it’s all in a day’s work. And both crew and cast were good sports about battling the elements to get that perfect shot.  ■

We know what you’re thinking. “Best of all time? No way. I’ve got an on-set photo way better than that.” If that’s the case, we dare you to prove it. Submit it to BOSPOAT@producersguild.org. Before you submit, please review the contest rules at producersguild. org/bospoat. Because no matter how great your photo is, we have no desire to get sued over it.

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F O R

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OUT STANDING D R A M A S ER I ES

C O N S I D E R AT I O N

O U T S TA N D IN G D RAMA S E RI E S

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O UT S TA N D IN G L I M I T ED SER I ES

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VIDA

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O U T S TA N D IN G D RAMA S E RI E S

AMERICAN GODS

WATCH ALL ELIGIBLE PROGRAMMING AT STARZF YC.COM – p: StarzFyc2019 Dublin Murders © Dublin Murders Productions Limited MMXIX. All rights reserved. Outlander © 2018 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All rights reserved. American Gods © 2018 FremantleMedia North America. All rights reserved. Power © 2019 Starz Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved. Vida © 2019 Starz Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved. The Spanish Princess © 2019 TSP Productions Ltd. All rights reserved. Starz and related channels and service marks are the property of Starz Entertainment, LLC. PBR-18431-19


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Produced By December | January 2020  

The Official Magazine of the Producers Guild of America

Produced By December | January 2020  

The Official Magazine of the Producers Guild of America