Michael Apted will be the recipient of the DGA Honorary Life Member Award in recognition of his contributions to the guild, the industry, and the profession of directing. Apted — a past Directors Guild president who currently serves as its secretary-treasurer — at the 70th annual DGA Awards on February 3, 2018, at the Beverly Hilton.
“Michael is a game-changer for our guild and our industry,” said DGA president Thomas Schlamme. “Whether having the foresight as a young man to conceptualize the revolutionary documentary series 7 UP – still going on decades later – or guiding Hollywood through a digital revolution, he is a fearless, visionary leader, and we are all the beneficiaries.
Apted, whose directing credits include Gorillas in the Mist, Gorky Park and Coalminer’s Daughter, served as DGA president for three terms from 2003-2009, the longest consecutive presidential service since George Sidney in the 1960s. Following his presidency, he served with Schlamme as co-chairs of the DGA negotiating committee for the 2014 and 2017 contract negotiations, most recently achieving what the guild calls “unprecedented gains in subscription video on demand residuals which set the pattern for the industry.”
He joined the DGA in 1978 and became active in guild service in 1997, when he was first elected to the Western Directors Council. In 2001, he was elected to the national board of directors, and became fifth vice president the following year. He also co-founded, along with Steven Soderbergh, the DGA’s Independent Directors Committee in 1998, and served as chair until he was elected president of the guild. In the years following his presidency, he served as co-chair of the guild’s Political Action Committee Leadership Council, and chair its 75th Anniversary Advisory Committee.
“Having served as either president or co-chair for every major new media and SVOD negotiation, Michael has skillfully navigated the DGA through times of great change, setting the path for our members and our industry to flourish,” Schlamme continued. “His search for the truth and what’s right is evident in all that he endeavors – from negotiating directors’ creative and economic rights, to rallying our industry’s fight against piracy and runaway production, to advocating for independent filmmakers and inclusion. All the while, he has taken the time to lend a hand to those behind him. As a mentor to so many, myself included, Michael has activated leadership in others and inspired us all to be more engaged in our Guild.”