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Announcing IPSI - From The Presidents

Posted By Gail Berman & Lucy Fisher, Monday, February 4, 2019
On December 14 the PGA Foundation received a $2 million grant from CBS, part of the $20 million portion of Les Moonves’ settlement package set aside for donations to organizations that support workplace equality for women. The grant was the brainchild of Associate National Executive Director/COO Susan Sprung and will be used to fund the Guild’s groundbreaking new Independent Production Safety Initiative (IPSI), which will provide free anti-harassment training and legal advice to qualifying independent productions. Our program should be operating within a few months and will be the first of its kind in the entertainment industry.

The Independent Production Safety Initiative is an extension of the work of the Guild’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force, which was created last fall by then-Presidents Lori McCreary and Gary Lucchesi, as soon as the first news broke about the widespread sexual harassment occurring in our business. Last January the Task Force released the industry’s first anti- sexual harassment guidelines.

Since then we and other members of the Task Force have held discussions with producers to learn what more we could do to protect our workplaces from harassment and coercion. What we learned was that, although producers across the industry were committed to harassment-free workplaces, most nonstudio, independent productions lacked sufficient financial and institutional resources to support those goals. With studios making fewer and fewer movies and more productions relying on independent financing, our Guild saw a crucial gap that we wanted to fill. Accordingly, we are delighted to announce that with the CBS grant, IPSI will be able to fund on-set, in-person training, covering issues of harassment and laws governing workplace conduct, for all casts and crews of qualifying independent film, television or digital productions.

In addition producers who take advantage of the IPSI training sessions will have access to up to two hours of free legal consultation, which can be utilized at any point during the production process, to address harassment and conduct issues when and if they arise. As McCreary has observed, production is by nature complicated and unpredictable, but providing access to expert legal counsel lets producers know that they won’t be left on their own. If incidents of harassment occur, those producers now have a place to turn.

In order to qualify for IPSI training and legal consultation, a production must include more than 20 individuals among its cast and crew, but not have access to a company-wide human resources or legal department. For productions with 20 or fewer cast and crew members, the Guild will provide complimentary access to group training sessions, which will be held on a regular basis across a variety of production centers around the U.S.

We would like to thank our COOs Vance Van Petten and Susan Sprung for helping create this landmark program and CBS for funding it. And we would particularly like to thank our members for being so proactive in this area. Armed with practical tools and a fierce determination to create better, fairer and safer working environments, our members have once again demonstrated they’re ready to lead the way.

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