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Voice Of The Crew - Since 2002

Los Angeles, California

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ICG publicists guild

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By Debra Kaufman
By the very nature of their work, the publicist remains anonymous, hidden to the public. He or she works in symbiosis with the media to facilitate movie reviews, interviews, story placements. “We get the word out using our skills as communicators, creators and diplomats,” says Publicist Guild former five-time president Henri Bollinger. “Without us, the information age would not have come of age. Without us and our colleagues, the journalists of print, television, radio and the Internet would not get a large percentage of their stories.”
The role of the publicists is as old as the motion picture industry. During the silent film era of the 1920s and 1930s, Hollywood’s film publicists, seeking ways to establish and maintain sound working conditions—including a decent wage, an adequate and safe workplace, and health and pension coverage—formed the Screen Publicists Association. Those goals finally began to be realized in 1955 when the organization, renamed the Publicists Guild of America, received its charter as a local of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators (IATSE and MPMO).
More recently, in January, 2001, the Publicists Guild was merged into the International Cinematographers Guild, Local 600, which now represents approximately 400 actively working film and television publicists in all 50 states and Canada. An additional 300 to 400 members are either working out of jurisdiction or not presently active. Those covered by union contracts include publicists who represent individual actors, directors, writers and producers who work on productions covered under the IATSE Basic Agreement. It also covers publicists who work for public relations agencies, studio photo editors, publicists who create and produce movie trailers, electronic presskits for film and television programs, on-air promos and other materials used to promote productions under the Basic Agreement.
“We see our role as maximizing the employment possibilities and strengthening or building the influence of union publicists throughout our industry,” says national executive director Bruce Doering. “The important thing is that the union gives the members a voice.” Bollinger points out the intangible benefit of stamping its members as professionals.
The Publicists Annual Awards Luncheon, traditionally held during the week before the Academy Awards presentation, has become a favorite stop on the way to the Oscars for a long list of celebrities. The publicists have bestowed the honor of “Showman of the Year” on a historic list of industry greats, from the early studio founders such as Jack Warner, Richard Zanuck and Lew Wasserman to more recent powerhouses such as Sherry Lansing, Jerry Bruckheimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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