At the 32nd annual Producers Guild Awards on Wednesday, outgoing National Executive Director Vance Van Petten was presented with the Charles Fitzsimons Award.
Appearing (virtually) to present Van Petten with the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award was former PGA President Mark Gordon.
In his acceptance speech, Van Petten praised Gordon, who to him, epitomizes “just what it means” to be a producer.
“It’s extra special to receive this award for doing something I love doing: representing producers. I was lucky enough to be in that room when this award was first created and named, and look at me now,” he said. “It’s been 20 years of service. So, what took you so long?”
Of course, the latter sentiment expressed by Van Petten was all in jest. “I’m kidding,” he said, “because I’ve never thought of it as service.”
He then went on to salute all of his fellow producers, who he considers to be “the hardest working and most important people in the entertainment industry.”
On March 1st, it was announced that Van Petten would transition out of his role as National Executive Director sometime in the middle of this year. Susan Sprung will assume his duties.
Joining the Producers Guild in January of 2000, Van Petten oversaw its strategic initiatives, on behalf of its National Board of Directors and its members, and had long been considered a key player in the growth and success of the Guild. Over the last 20 years, he’s helped spur exponential growth in membership, leaving them now with more than 8,000 members. In keeping with this growth, he’d oversee the expansion of PGA offices in Los Angeles and New York City, while launching chapters in San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
Additionally, he launched the Guild’s Produced By magazine, helped turn the Producers Guild Awards into a major awards season event, helped to develop the acclaimed “Produced By” Conference, and spearheaded the creation of the Producers Mark (p.g.a.), which became the Guild’s way of recognizing those who have performed the majority of producing duties on a theatrical motion picture.
“As I think back over the 20 years I’ve been at the helm of the PGA, I am incredibly proud of all we have accomplished. It has been an honor to serve the industry and lead this organization and its members,” Van Petten said previously, while announcing his departure from the National Executive Director role. “I As I embark on my next chapter, I take great pride in knowing the Guild is stronger than ever and ready to take on whatever challenges are ahead.”
“We are incredibly grateful for Vance’s leadership, dedication and devotion to the work of the producing profession. His work on key initiatives like the Producers Mark will leave an indelible impact not just on the PGA and our membership, but for the producing profession at large,” added Producers Guild of America Presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher. “He has led the Guild through more than two decades of service that included many transformative moments that have shaped our organization. We are excited for the work to carry on under the continued leadership of Susan Sprung.”
Prior to his tenure with PGA, Van Petten was Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs at Universal Television/Studios USA. Serving as the PGA’s Chief Operating Officer since 2016, Sprung was promoted to the position of National Executive Director in April of 2019. Prior to her time in these positions, she served as Associate National Executive Director for the Guild, beginning in 2012.
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