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Producers Guild Honored at 2014 'Made In New York' Awards

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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.

PGA Leadership at the podium with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Photo by Terrence Jennings
Acceptance speech by Lydia Dean Pilcher

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 industry.

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 industry?

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- – 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 responsibility.

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.

Thank you!


links for more on the Made In New York Awards:    

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Tags:  Diversity  gender equity  Greening  LGBTQ  New York  PGA East  sustainability  Women's Impact Network 

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