Representing the National Committees of the Producers Guild
of America's Women’s Impact Network, PGA Diversity and PGA Green, the PGA
East’s Lydia Dean Pilcher, Rachel Watanabe-Batton and Mari Jo Winkler were
recognized by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Cynthia Lopez of the NYC
Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment, at the 2014 Made in New York awards Monday night in Williamsburg,
Brooklyn. Joining other honorees Steve Buscemi, Louis C.K., Neil Patrick
Harris, Stanley Nelson, Rosie Perez, PGA member Jane Raab, Aaron Shapiro, and
lifetime achievement award winner Albert Maysles, the evening celebrated New
York City’s vibrant film and TV production industry.
Acceptance speech by
Lydia Dean Pilcher
|PGA Leadership at the podium with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.|
Photo by Terrence Jennings
We are part of the Producers Guild of America, a non-profit
trade group that represents the interests of all members of the producing team
in film, television and new media. PGA East in New York represents 1500
producers of the national membership of 6500.
I’m here with Mari Jo Winkler and Rachel Watanabe-Batton and
we are producers who recognize that we have a unique platform to reach people thru
story-telling. Diversity, gender equality and sustainability are three key
areas in which the Producers Guild strives to make a social impact within our
But when we recognize the power of what we do and how much
we can impact the status quo of our culture –we ask ourselves, who are we as an
Are we diverse? Do we, as producers writers, directors,
agents, studio executives, ---do we reflect the real world? What does it mean that a young girl today may
have a greater chance to be an astronaut than a film director? And as Obama said to the UN after the Climate
Change March in New York --"We are the first generation to feel the impact of
climate change and the last to be able to do anything about it.”
Mari Jo and I were environmental activists alongside our
professional careers as producers, when we realized , with the help of Al Gore,
that we needed to look within our own industry and bring an awareness to the
connection between carbon emissions and how we run our film and television
productions. We piloted a project to
develop a methodology for pro-actively greening sets and formed PGA Green. Over
the years we forged a relationship with the six major studios that has yielded
an incredibly valuable website- greenproductionguide.com – which has a vast
array of tools and resources including our Best Practices, a downloadable
carbon calculator, and a mobile app vendor guide.
Rachel chairs the PGA Diversity committee, along with Anadil
Hossain who is in the house tonight--and we work together in the PGA Women’s
Impact Network. Our campaign for gender
equality is part of the PGA’s larger vision for diversity. Women are 51% of the
population and yet we are under-represented on both sides of the camera.
|Podium: Cynthia Lopez, Chirlane McCray, Bill de Blasio.|
Front row: Albert Maysles, Mr. Maysles assistant, Rosie Perez, Neil -
Patrick Harris, Louis CK, Jane Raab.
Far row: Lydia Dean Pilcher, Rachel Watanabe-Batton, Mari Jo Winkler,
Aaron Shapiro, Steve Buscemi, Stanley Nelson.
- Photo by Emon Hassan
The exciting news is happening around the breakdown of
traditional Hollywood as we know it, because the move to Television and digital
platforms is opening up opportunities for female story-telling and diverse
content. And this dovetails with the long term trends for the shifting US
demographics. By 2040, the multicultural demographic segment will be equal in
size to the white population.
While all of us recognize the power of our bully pulpit as
producers - it's really an opportunity for us – and we represent 1500 producers
in New York –to press for change within our own industry--- to influence the
decision-makers and the storytellers that control the pulpit. That’s our
And we want the film community to reflect our changing
global landscape across race, gender, sexual orientation, class and ability.
Collaboration is an essential part of making any change
happen. Our PGA East Chair, Peter Saraf and Director of PGA East, Mitzie
Rothzeid, are a huge support for what we do.
We are very excited about the opportunity to work with Mayor
de Blasio’s administration and his inspired leadership on these very issues.
Chirlane has promised me we aren’t going to waste a minute! And Commissioner
Cynthia Lopez, we are so excited. You have a long track record that celebrates
independent vision. This is what we’ve been waiting for.
When you look at people mobilizing around issues
historically, the arts and cultural communities are at the center of it all,
and we’re proud to be in the center of it here in New York--with all of you.
links for more on the Made In New York Awards: