Directors UK Launches New Minimum Contract Terms With Key Industry Support

Directors UK

Directors UK, the professional association of UK screen directors, has set forth a roster of new Creative Rights Minimum Terms for helmers working in features. The org, which reps the creative, economic and contractual interests of over 6,500 members, says the terms are to be added to every film director’s contract going forward. Such helmers as Paul Greengrass, Danny Boyle, Gurinder Chadha, Gareth Edwards, Tom Hooper, Mike Leigh, Kevin Macdonald, Roger Michell, Alan Parker, Lynne Ramsay, Guy Ritchie and David Yates have come out in support of the initiative which was conceived with a particular focus on new filmmakers.

Because some provisions are often ignored or not incorporated, the terms (read them in full here) were developed to set reasonable best practice and define a core group of requirements. Established directors and their agents are better able to negotiate such terms, so the new list has been notably designed to benefit those just starting their careers in order to protect creative rights, improve working conditions and prevent the erosion of the director’s role.

Among the requirements are 1st AD approval; the disclosure by the employer of any and all rights of script approval, cast approval and final cut authority contractually reserved to any other person; pre-production length; casting session attendance; minimum cutting periods; notes; and director’s cut stipulations including that on films with a budget greater than £3.5M, the director has the right to at least one public preview screening of his/her cut.

The terms are further supported by Pact, the BFI, the British Film Commissioner, BBC Films, Film4, the Production Guild and the Personal Managers Association. No further vote is required — all the key stakeholders including producers and funding bodies, have been consulted and support the inclusion of the terms in all contracts.

Initially drawn up by the Directors UK Film Committee, the initiative has been spearheaded by former Directors UK Film Chairs Iain Softley and Roger Michell, along with director Jim Gillespie and Directors UK CEO Andrew Chowns.

Softley says, “Reaction to our document has been very positive. There is recognition that the creative rights we are asking for ought to be the least that any director should have, and that protection of these rights will benefit producers, financiers and the quality of the film itself.”

Susanna White, Chair of Directors UK Film Committee, and director of Woman Walks Ahead, Our Kind Of Traitor and Generation Kill, adds, “We believe these new terms will help create better industry practices that will create a fairer and equal environment for all directors to progress in the industry, especially those from under-represented groups. The terms will protect and support directors at every level of their careers.”

Michell, the helmer behind such pics as Notting Hill and My Cousin Rachel, notes, “It’s our view that these quite modest minimum creative terms will lead to better films, better and more efficiently and economically made.”

Here’s a list of filmmakers supporting the initiative:
Amma Asante
Otto Bathurst
John Boorman
Danny Boyle
Chanya Button
Gurinder Chadha
Alex Cox
Gareth Edwards
Sarah Gavron
Jim Gillespie
Terry Gilliam
Paul Greengrass
Piers Haggard
Mike Hodges
Tom Hooper
Hugh Hudson
Menhaj Huda
Mike Leigh
Philippa Lowthorpe
Kevin Macdonald
John Madden
Roger Michell
Mike Newell
Tony Palmer
Alan Parker
Oliver Parker
Lynne Ramsay
Guy Ritchie
Nic Roeg
Iain Softley
Charles Sturridge
Susanna White
Mat Whitecross
David Yates

This article was printed from