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Stanley Rubin, 1917-2014

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 5, 2014
http://www.hollywoodfiveo.com/archive/issue2/cinema/rubin.htmOur PGA family lost one of its most treasured voices over the past weekend. Stanley Rubin, age 96, passed away at his home, leaving behind an unmatched legacy of creative work and Guild service.

For how many years was Stanley a member of our Guild? The answer is simple: All of them. One of a handful of founding members of the Screen Producers Guild in 1950, he lived to see the ranks of the Producers Guild swell to more than 20 times its original numbers—in great part due to the inspirational leadership he himself provided as a PGA President, Vice President, Secretary, Board member and trusted councilor.

Under Stanley’s presidency (1975 – 1979), the PGA signed its collective bargaining contract with Paramount and Universal—the last collective bargaining agreement (to date) the Guild would negotiate. Stanley’s clear-eyed wisdom helped the Guild through not one but two mergers, bringing together the Screen Producers Guild and the Television Producers Guild—to form the Producers Guild of America—in 1967, and then, 34 years later, serving on the Merger Committee that joined the PGA to the American Association of Producers (AAP). For over half a century, Stanley was the living embodiment of our Guild’s history, and his loss is a terrible blow not only to the countless friends and colleagues who relied on his wit, insight and passion, but to our collective heritage as an organization.

Stanley can claim a place not only at our Guild’s earliest origin, but at the inception of one of the industry’s most cherished honors—the Emmy Awards. In 1949, Stanley made television history as the producer of the first Emmy-winning film made for television, “The Necklace,” part of his anthology series Your Show Time. Stanley was kind enough to share his experiences creating that piece of television history in a feature for Produced By magazine in 2006.

His career—in classic producer fashion—tacked from television to film and back again, providing him opportunities to collaborate with everyone from Otto Preminger and Mel Blanc to Clint Eastwood and Tony Scott. An accomplished writer as well as producer, he rose to a leadership position within the WGA as well as the Producers Guild, providing for essential inter-guild communication and collaboration.

But it’s Stanley’s singular record of PGA service that makes him unique in the history of our Guild. Stanley was only the second member in the Guild’s history to receive the Charles FitzSimons Award for outstanding service—second only to Charles FitzSimons himself. And how many individuals could boast to have served as a PGA Board member with both Frank Sinatra and Gale Anne Hurd? Just one.

In his speech to the Guild at the close of his presidency in 1979, Stanley said, “I think the single most important thing I can pass on to the members of this Guild is that there is a hidden strength in the PGA that has kept it alive in spite of everything… To be honest, the Board of Directors has said many times over the past three or four years, ‘We’d better make a breakthrough this year, or by next year, there won’t be a Guild!’ Well, we were wrong. There still is a Guild. And there can be only one reason for that—and it’s the hidden strength I mentioned—the fact that there is a genuine need for a PGA.”

More than ever, there is a genuine need for a PGA. But in order to become what it is today, the PGA needed Stanley Rubin. And for more than six decades, every time we needed him, he was there for us.

Godspeed, Stanley. We miss you already.

- The Producers Guild

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25th Annual Producers Guild Awards: Honoring Entertainment's Best

Posted By Andrew Mahlmann, Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014

The 25th Annual Producers Guild Awards was an event to remember. Featuring a historic tie for the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity and an unusual receipt of flattery from Ben Affleck, it is somewhat of a miracle that the show ran just under time.

The event was attended by influencers from every corner of the industry, from the most recognizable star actors, directors and musicians, to the most respected producers and industry executives. Opened by a terrific Johnny Carson impression by the inimatable Kevin Spacey, the Awards represented the best of Hollywood across it's history, present, and future. Honoring ingenuity, legacy, social consciousness, boldness and judiciousness, the Producers Guild Awards have come to recognize the beating heart at the core of entertainment.

See all of the night's winners here: 2014 Producers Guild Awards Winners

Red Carpet Interviews:

 

View official photos at our facebook album:

 

Tags:  PGA Awards  Producers Guild Awards 

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Weathering Change Under The New Healthcare Law

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In the past few months, it has become clear that administration of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and preparation for compliance are highly complex processes which are stirring up a great deal of confusion. Lack of adequate preparation is going to create challenges for all employers, and none more so than those of us in the production world. In co-employment relationships, such as those that exist within the entertainment industry, the ACA provides that the co-employer who directs and controls the worker’s day-to-day functions is the responsible employer. This means that the production company typically will be responsible for providing coverage under the ACA, and that has come as a surprise to much of the industry.

All employers with at least 50 full-time employees and equivalents must offer affordable and adequate health coverage starting January 1, 2015, or pay a penalty tax. The IRS issued proposed regulations at the end of 2012 to implement this employer play-or-pay health coverage mandate. The mandate for individuals to obtain minimum essential health coverage, however, begins January 1, 2014. On October 1, the public health insurance exchanges opened for business and it was reported that thousands began signing up. Fulltime production employees not covered under union or employer health plans will be required to meet this requirement or face a penalty, and it is up to all of us to help get the word out to them.

What does this all mean for producers and members of the producing team? How are the unique needs of such a highly transient workforce being addressed? Where does one begin to assess how they will be impacted by the requirements and what the best course of action should be?

The industry has looked to my company for answers and solutions that will help mitigate their exposure. Fortunately, because of our role as a statutory employer of production workers, we are uniquely qualified to assist. For the better part of the past year, Joe Scudiero, our Senior Vice President and Chief Labor Counsel, and I have been analyzing how the ACA will affect our industry. We’ve been meeting with all of the studios and many major and commercial independent production entities and hosting seminars and webinars in order to discuss what we have learned.

Among the top concerns we have heard from the industry are confusion over what is affordable and adequate coverage, determining eligibility, lack of consolidated reporting across productions and production payroll companies, misunderstanding of government reporting obligations, and knowing where to find an insurance plan to meet the requirements. There will be instances in which a producer believes that it might be more cost-effective to pay the penalty rather than provide coverage but even this determination is complicated. For instance, though you would only be obligated to provide insurance for those full-time employees not covered under a union or employer health coverage plan, if you opted to pay the per-head penalty for not providing coverage, the penalty would be assessed on almost all workers on your production, including union members. A myriad of questions abound regarding what happens when a production worker is between shows and how COBRA eligibility will work; and while the studios have human resources and benefits professionals who are able to address these questions, we know that a majority of independent production entities will be on their own.

Producing entities had their first ACA obligation begin on October 1 and this will be ongoing when hiring new workers. Pursuant to Department of Labor regulations issued in

May 2013, employers must distribute a Notice of Exchange (NOE) to all current employees (including union, non-union, full-time, and part-time) stating whether or not they will offer compliant health coverage and informing their employees about government health insurance exchanges. While any new hires through 2014 must be provided the notice within 14 days of hire, beginning in 2015, the NOE must be provided on the date of hire.

We do not recommend that you attempt to answer all of the ensuing questions on your own, but rather seek the assistance of a trusted and knowledgeable advisor. Though employer compliance is not required until 2015, we are working with a number of studios who are choosing to begin compliance in January 2014. We will be happy to share what we all learn from the experience.

In the meanwhile, following are some essential details and sample scenarios to help you begin to comprehend the new laws. Though by no means a comprehensive set of guidelines, it is intended to assist you in planning your next steps toward compliance. There are a number of resources available to you — please do not hesitate to contact my team or your preferred service provider for more in-depth information and guidance or visit our online compliance center at www.entertainmentpartners.com/aca/. Though it may initially seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that all businesses are facing the challenge of wading through these new requirements and that we are all in this together.

The ACA Employer Mandate Ÿ- Play or Pay?

America’s new healthcare law is commanding everyone’s attention these days and has created an entirely new vocabulary for employers. One new term — "play or pay” — takes on a different meaning from what the industry is used to; here it is shorthand for the decisions employers must face in 2015. For employers in the entertainment industry, arriving at that decision is not a simple calculation.

For example, the majority of your crew on a given union production is receiving coverage through their union or guild plans. Does your company opt to play by offering compliant coverage to the remaining full-time, non-union crew? Or do you simply pay the no-coverage penalty tax on this small segment of your workforce?

While the latter may seem to be the easiest option, the decision is not as straightforward as it looks and will often not be the most cost-effective choice. Review the graph and infographics below for a more comprehensive breakdown.

Assessing the Impact

As production companies begin to grapple with the employer responsibilities, properly assessing their workforce and estimating their play-or-pay options will be crucial to managing production budgets in 2014 and beyond. However, this is only one simplified example of the changes entertainment employers face under the ACA. Their jobs are even tougher as they tackle the ACA’s many complex requirements and challenges, including:

· Adapting to changing ACA requirements

· Managing all ACA employer mandate responsibilities

· Evaluating employee status and healthcare eligibility correctly

· Accurate analytics and ACA reporting to the IRS

· Ensuring compliance and controlling costs

*The current regulations are interim and final guidance on the employer mandate is expected to be issued before 2015.

PLAY or PAY?

PLAY

Start: 400 Total Employees


MINUS 40 part-time employees

The ACA doesn’t apply to them outside of determining employer coverage.

The employer mandate applies only to full-time employees. You are required to offer coverage to at least 95% of your full-time employees (and their dependents) to avoid Part A penalties ($2,000 annual penalty tax per full-time employee minus the first 30 full-time employees).


MINUS 40 variable-hour employees

(e.g. day and weekly hires)

Variable-hour employees are not entitled to coverage until they’ve completed a full measurement period and satisfied full-time eligibility.


MINUS 80 short-term employees

They work full-time, but less than 90 days.

A full-time employee who is employed less than 90 days is not eligible for coverage if the employer has made an offer of coverage subject to a 90-day wait period.


MINUS 200 union workers

They’re covered by their union benefit health plans.

For 2015, you will be compliant if you are contributing to a multi-employer health plan (i.e. union/guild plans) that meets the affordability, adequate value and all other requirements.



Headcount for coverage calculation = 40 employees

Average annual premium = $3,000

$120,0001 Total Employer Cost (tax deductible)

PAY

Start: 400 Total Employees


MINUS 40 part-time employees

The ACA doesn’t apply to them outside of determining employer coverage.

The employer mandate applies only to full-time employees. You are required to offer coverage to at least 95% of your full-time employees (and their dependents) to avoid Part A penalties ($2,000 annual penalty tax per full-time employee minus the first 30 full-time employees).


MINUS 40 variable-hour employees

(e.g. day and weekly hires)

Variable-hour employees are not entitled to coverage until they’ve completed a full measurement period and satisfied full-time eligibility.


MINUS 0 short-term employees

If there is no plan offered, the employer is unable to exclude short-term employees from the Part A penalty base calculation.


MINUS 0 union employees

Since your non-union employees exceed 5% of your production’s workforce, you will be required to pay the "no coverage” penalty tax of $2,000 (i.e. Part A) per full-time employee (minus the first 30 full-time employees).


MINUS 30 full-time employees

There is a safe harbor to exclude the first 30 full-time employees.


Headcount for coverage calculation = 290 employees

Penalty tax over 12 months = $2,000

$580,0002 Total Employer Cost (non-deductible)



UNDERSTANDING PRODUCTION WORKER OPTIONS

Employers may have one year before they must comply with their employer mandate obligations under the ACA, but this is not so for individuals. As of January 1, 2014, individuals must enroll in "minimum essential coverage” or pay an annual penalty of $95 or up to one percent of income, whichever is greater. The yearly penalty increases in future years.

What health coverage options do production workers have? With the exception of a minor segment that would fall under public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, health coverage is available through two primary sources: group plans and public exchanges. Here’s a quick look at these sources:

Group Plans

A large segment of the production workforce may already be covered through the unions and guilds. Others may have coverage through their spouses’ plans. The remaining segment of eligible, non-union workers can obtain a health plan through their employer group policy (if offered) or opt to get their own individual plan through the public exchanges. An obvious advantage to choosing an employer plan is the employer contribution, limiting the worker’s share of the premium to no more than 9.5% of adjusted gross household income.

Transportability is one of the most essential considerations when offering health benefits to a transient workforce.

The drawback to a traditional employer-based group plan is when production workers move on to their next project, they’ll face re-enrolling in a new employer group policy likely to involve a different network, doctors, and premium rates. Union members covered by a multi-employer health plan avoid this issue since they maintain the same coverage regardless of the project or employer if they meet eligibility requirements. Similar to multi-employer plans, there are employer group plan options available through a private entertainment industry exchange that enable non-union workers to carry coverage from production to production.

Public Exchanges

Publicly-run exchanges offer health coverage for those who are ineligible for or decline group health plan benefits through their union, guild or employer. Some eligible non-union workers also may elect to buy coverage through a public exchange. Once they enroll in a health plan through the public exchange, they carry their coverage with them, and depending on their income level, they may receive a government subsidy to reduce the price of their health plan if they have not declined an offer of compliant health coverage from their employer. Those workers who decline compliant employer sponsored coverage will pay 100% of the cost on an after-tax basis and will not qualify for a subsidy. When shopping the exchanges, the key variables impacting a plan’s cost and value include tax subsidies, benefits, coverage limits, out-of-network reimbursements, stability, and plan administration and support services. While the federal marketplace has gotten off to an undeniably rocky start, several state exchanges have fared better. Nonetheless, the volatility of the enrollment process and uncertainty of the insurance market should also be factored in when evaluating health coverage options through public exchanges.

Some production entities may regard offering health insurance or paying the penalty tax as solely a financial decision, while others may view offering insurance an incentive to attract and retain high-quality workers. Either way, it is up to employers to help their crews understand their options and properly assess their choices.

*To be eligible for a subsidy, a person (1) must not be eligible for medical insurance through an employer-based plan and (2) have a household income of less than 400% of the federal poverty level.

THE INDIVIDUAL INSURANCE MARKET

Coverage through individual insurance market plans may also be an option; however, many carriers are pulling out of the individual market to avoid the uncertainty tied to ACA changes and are directing their administrative and marketing services to the exchanges.

Individual market plans and employer plans specific to the entertainment industry are listed under "ACA Resources.”


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Videos.ProducersGuild.org Goes Live, Includes Member Exclusive Video

Posted By Andrew Mahlmann, Friday, January 10, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 10, 2014

The Producers Guild is proud to unveil our new member video website that hosts content from our growing YouTube channel (do not forget to subscribe at youtube.com/producersguild) as well as new "Member Exclusive" content that you will not be able to access anywhere else!

Just visit videos.producersguild.org and log in using your member login.

Spearheading the debut of our Member Exclusive videos is the invaluable "Healthcare Reform Seminar."  Also inside the Member Exclusive section you will find a cornucopia of helpful information from Produced By Conference 2013's full sessions.  Please visit us to see what we have available and be sure to keep coming back as we provide enriching Q&A's, seminars, and interviews throughout the year.

Member Exclusive Videos include:

  • California Healthcare Reform Seminar
  • New York Healthcare Reform Seminar
  • Legalities of Internships
  • Digital VIP Salon with Robert Evans
  • Expanding The Globe 2013
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Lone Survivor Q&A
  • Inside Llewyn Davis Q&A
  • Labor Day Q&A
  • Maximizing The Georgia Tax Credit

Produced By Conference 2013 Full Sessions Available as Member Exclusives:

  • 360 Profile: Cross-Over Talent
  • All The World's a Stage: Building New Franchises Through Transmedia
  • The Unlocked Picture: Global Opportunities in VFX and 3D Conversions
  • The State of Producing - Finding Funding, Tying Up Talent & Securing Screens
  • Converged: Who's Ordering What And What Are They Going To Order Next?
  • Incubating And Developing New Creative Models For Generation Z
  • Are You Getting Your Fair Share? Understanding Producer Share Participations
  • Hit The Ground Showrunning
  • Small World, Big Money: New Facts On Domestic And International Production Incentives
  • Conversation With: Mark Burnett
  • The Real Deal: Producers Who Direct? Or Directors Who Produce?
  • Making The Leap: Producing TV For Digital Distribution
  • Market PRice: The State of Film Financing

Coming Soon:
Pending approvals, we have Q&A sessions for American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street, and more soon... 

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PGA Green: "Symphony of the Soil" Panel

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Symphony of the Soil is a documentary feature film that was brought to PGA Green screening committee co-chair Ahuvi Goldin's attention by PGA Green Committee member Jane Evans- Head of Physical Production at DreamWorks Studios. Goldin produced the informative PGA screening and panel event.

Symphony of the Soil explores the complexity and mystery of soil and was filmed on four continents, sharing the voices of some of the world's most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists.  The film portrays soil as the protagonist of our planetary story.

Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth.  Yet most people are soil-blind and "treat soil like dirt."  Through the knowledge and wisdom shared by this film, we can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems. 

The film was followed by an informative and exciting panel discussion including:

  • Big-picture ideas regarding soil and climate change, water use, health and a variety of other topics that support the case for treating soil with care.
  • How soil science is increasingly cutting-edge and relevant.  Because of advanced technology like electron microscopes and satellite images, we can examine this diverse material in ever greater detail.
  • Various wholesome farming practices such as composting, cover crops - particularly the value of legumes to replenish nitrogen to the soil - and crop rotation, as well as the latest science about the dangerous environmental and health effects of the toxic chemicals and nitrates so prevalent in industrial farming today.  A variety of other topics such as biofuels, genetic engineering and overuse of nitrogen, as well as the crucial role soil plays in sequestering carbon.
  • Design and implementation of solutions to water challenges that are good for both farmers and people who eat the food that farmers grow.  This work focuses on the importance of protecting natural resources so that future generations can carry on farming business and promote food that is safe, healthy, and sustainable.

The panel was moderated by our PGA Green Committee member Dan Halperin and included: 

  • Woody Clark - PGA Green Committee member, PhD Qualitative Economist
  • Deborah Koons Garcia of Lily Films - Producer/Director of Symphony of the Soil
  • Norma Bonilla - Founder of Soilove, certified soil activist
  • Claire O'Connor - Attorney, Agricultural Water Policy Analyst representing the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Producer/Director Deborah Koons Garcia came in from San Francisco specifically to attend the panel discussion and was so impressed with the event she joined the guild.  Thank you to the PGA Green Committee for putting together such a wonderful event.

*photo courtesy of Jane Evans 

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