May 24, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: “This is about setting the course for the industry for the future,” said Directors Guild of America chief Lesli Linka Glatter today on the guild’s upcoming talks with studios and the WGA strike that started this week. “We’re in a team sport. We’re only as good as our teams.”

In the midst of the biggest labor action to hit Hollywood in over a decade and with Writers Guild picket lines up all over LA and NYC, the DGA are set to sit down with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on May 10 to begin their own contract negotiations. As of now, the DGA have not made public what their specific goals in those negotiations are.

Talks for the guild this year will be led by Jon Avnet with negotiation co-chairs Todd Holland and Karen Gaviola as the heads of an 80-person negotiating committee. Earlier this week, DGA executive director Russell Hollander met briefly with AMPTP leader Carol Lombardini in the organization’s Sherman Oaks offices to set some guidelines for the upcoming bargaining sessions.

The current contract for the nearly 20,000-strong Directors Guild expires on June 30. If no deal is reached by then, the DGA could go on strike too, which would truly bring Hollywood to a halt.

RELATED: Deadline’s Full Strike Coverage 

Back in 2008, during the last WGA strike, the DGA made a deal with the AMPTP that many writers then and now feel effectively ended their actions. In the streaming era, the respective guild demands are much different than back when George W. Bush was in the Oval Office. Still, like the WGA, residuals will be at the core of the DGA proposals this round in their bartering with the studios. For the WGA, the distance between what the AMPTP was offering and what the guild wanted for its members in terms of residuals was a significant factor in those talks unsuccessfully concluding on May 1 and a strike being called.

DGA president since September 2021, long-time guild member and multiple Emmy nominee Glatter helmed episodes of Mad Men, The West Wing, The Leftovers, The Newsroom, and Homeland (for which she also served as an EP), among many others. Most recently Glatter directed all six episodes of HBO’s limited series Love & Death, created by David E. Kelly and starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jesse Plemons. The remarks from Glatter today, and seen below, came during an interview for an upcoming Deadline podcast.

RELATED: WGA Strike Explained: The Issues, The Stakes, Movies & TV Shows Affected — And How Long It Might Last

DEADLINE: We were hearing that the DGA talks with the AMPTP may get pushed. Will they still start on May 10? 

GLATTER: That’s correct. The DGA as does SAG has a contractual agreement. It is in our contract that we have to negotiate (with the studios) before our contract expires, so SAG has a date which is June 7. Ours is May 10. 

DEADLINE: What is your take on how things went south with the WGA and the AMPTP?

GLATTER: I wish they had come up with a deal. I wish the AMPTP had listened to their concerns and they would have found a way to negotiate and found a contract. That’s what we all hoped. Obviously, those issues and concerns were not met.  

DEADLINE: Are you in communication with the WGA? 

GLATTER: I personally am not. I have not talked with the WGA about having a public conversation about this. I’m very hesitant to do that. I can tell you we absolutely will be fighting for our 19,000-member guild for the best contract that we can get. I think there are a lot of issues that all of our sister guilds share, that we all want for each other and the industry. Because we’re at a turning point.  

DEADLINE: With things so tense right now, pickets all over the place, is it really a good time to start talks with the studios? There is overlap between what the WGA are seeking and what the DGA will seek …

GLATTER: There are some things that are very similar, but this is about setting the course for the industry for the future. We have issues, Writers Guild SAG, IATSE, so this is fighting for our future right now. We’re in a team sport. We’re only as good as our teams. The DGA represents UPMs, ADS, stage managers, second ADS, we represent the directors and the directorial team.

It’s really important that our members are treated fairly.

Our workers in the film business, all of us as workers should be treated fairly. That’s essential. We have an interest in keeping our industry vibrant and sustainable.