G. Bryan Unger is the Associate National Executive Director of the Directors Guild of America. In our conversation we discussed the relationship between the DGA and ADG, how it’s changed since the ADG’s unionisation and the challenges facing directors guilds now and in the future.
How do you see the relationship between the ADG and DGA? Has it changed over time?
The ADG formed as a fraternal organisation (the Australian Screen Directors Association) early on. They weren’t certified as a union, but they got a lot of Australian Directors together, going back to the first wave of Australian films – the Peter Weir, Philip Noyce, Fred Schepsi and Gillian Armstrong group. They were making films in Australia, which were then getting noticed in the U.S., and a lot of those directors were coming over to work for American studios, and eventually joining the DGA.
The relationship between the DGA and the ADG began when the ADG started taking on a more formal structure in the 1990s (again, as ASDA at that time). There were some meetings with the English-speaking directors organisations: Directors Guild of Canada, DGA, the former Directors Guild of Great Britain and ASDA – we have been in communication and exchanging ideas for some time. The recent activity to become a union has sparked a renewed interest and opportunity to talk to people again and to help the ADG to facilitate its union’s formation.