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On Tuesday afternoon a press release was circulated, falsely claiming to from the NZ Screen Directors' Guild. It seems to be a satirical response to the recent demands by actors' unions regarding The Hobbit.
The fake release was briefly reported online before it was disavowed by the Guild.
The Screen Directors' Guild (whose President is also misnamed in the hoax release) have not taken a position on the issue of The Hobbit.
The text follows.
NZ Directors Guild Joins Actors In Demands For Pay Equity With Us Counterparts
In solidarity with their brethren in the acting fields and, in response to many years of exploitation by the local and international film industry, the NZ Screen Directors' Guild is demanding pay parity with their US counterparts and are threatening to strike - bringing a halt to the large number of local feature films about to shoot in this country.
NZ Screen Directors' Guild President Stephen Bell said today, "For decades we've seen people like Martin Scorcese, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg receive upwards of $10 million dollars per film, where directors in this country will be lucky to get $100,000 - often for years more work getting a film up than these Americans will put in."
Bell says that enough is enough. As well as "significant" pay increases, The Guild's demands will include contractual items standard for American directors, including residuals, health and pension benefits, first class travel, air conditioned trailers, drivers, assistants and, in an issue Bell describes as "of prime importance", the right to claim a possessory or "film by" credit on all works they helm.
The Guild says that while the timing of this announcement may seem opportunist, it stresses that this is an issue that has been building "for decades", and that it doesn't foresee potential action by the Guild affecting any international projects - such as Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit - that may be on the horizon. Bell is confident that Jackson would give the Guild's action full support: "Peter, more than anyone, knows how important it is to be paid your worth on world market and we are sure he will support NZ directors looking to achieve that recognition."
Similar action is expected to follow from the NZ Writers' Guild, who are said to also be looking for equivalence with counterparts in the US. NZ Writers' Guild President Peter Gannaway has described the key issues for the Writers as "only what every screenwriter in the US gets already: money, power, status and popularity with the opposite sex."
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