John Lindley has been elected president of the International Cinematographers Guild IATSE Local 600. Lindley, a director of photography whose film credits include St. Vincent, You’ve Got Mail, Unbelievable, Pleasantville, and Sleeping with the Enemy, was elected by the guild’s national executive board, which met online in a special session today.
In normal times, the executive board meets in person. But in these pandemic times, the meeting was held remotely as a precaution against the coronavirus.
“I am honored to be elected by the National Executive Board to serve the members of Local 600 as national president at this challenging time of change in the industry and our country,” Lindley said. “I am also grateful to Dejan Georgevich for stepping in as interim national president and for the commitment and skill of national executive director Rebecca Rhine and the entire staff. Our leadership team will now continue the important work of our members and our union.”
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A guild member for 32 years, Lindley was the second national vice president and has served on the national executive board for 13 years. His election follows the resignation last month of the previous national president, Lewis Rothenberg, eight months into his three-year term. Lindley, the guild said, was elected with an overwhelming majority on the first online ballot and will serve out the remainder of Rothenberg’s term. Georgevich served as interim president until the board could fill the vacancy.
In his letter of resignation, Rothenberg told the guild’s members last month that “My vision for this union, as to who runs it and how it should be run, is not fully aligned with some of our senior staff and National Officers. While I truly believe everyone in the leadership of this Local has the members in mind, there are major ideological differences between some of us. I ran for this office to bring change, unite us, and increase activism. Regretfully I do not feel that I will be able to accomplish this with the vast differences of philosophy of the leadership team.”
Baird Steptoe Sr., first assistant, was elected second national vice president to fill the vacancy created by Lindley, the previous office holder. Steptoe has been a member of Local 600 for 45 years and has served on the executive board for 13 years. A longtime guild activist, his notable career credits include Congo, The Bodyguard, and The Happening. The Society of Camera Operators honored him with their Camera Technician Lifetime Award in 2013.
“On behalf of the staff,” Rhine said, “I want to congratulate John and Baird and express my appreciation to all of the officers and board for their commitment and support. The collaboration between elected members and staff is essential to our ability to get the work done our members expect and deserve.”
The guild modified the original plans for an in-person meeting in Los Angeles, and decided to hold regional meetings in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, and Chicago online to address the safety concerns created by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. The 93 seated board members or alternates across the country logged on to ZOOM to participate in the complete nominating and voting process.
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