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Directors Guild Distributes $9 Million in Foreign Levies to 5000 Filmmakers

”The DGA has been working around the clock to expedite distribution of this biannual run of foreign levies when it’s most needed,“ DGA national executive director says

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) distributed nearly $9 million in funds to 5000 directors over the past week in order to aid filmmakers as productions remain shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, the guild announced Friday.

The $9 million comes from foreign levies, which are fees collected by foreign countries in part to compensate rights holders for the effects of re-use, copying, rental and retransmission of their films and television programs, and the DGA fast-tracked the distribution of these funds in order to aid members.

The income was made possible as a result of the guild’s negotiating agreements with foreign collecting societies and challenge the studios’ claims to these funds.

“This present situation sheds light on why we fight so hard to advance our members’ rights, and the difference it can make. Similar to our efforts with residuals, the DGA has been working around the clock to expedite distribution of this biannual run of foreign levies when it’s most needed,” DGA national executive director Russell Hollander said in a statement. “And also similar to residuals, foreign levies are a stream of income that would not have been possible without our Guild’s decades-long fight to financially connect members to the success of their work.”

Through the years, the DGA foreign levies department has distributed over $242 million to directors – including more than $28 million to 6,700 non-members – and donated over $3.5 million to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

The DGA recently appointed Steven Soderbergh to lead a committee on how to safely restart production with proper social distancing and other safety guidelines.