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I’m a Member – The History and Benefits of MPEG

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The film, I’m a Member, premiered as part of the ceremony honoring the 75th Anniversary of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild. Directed by William “Bill” Stetz, the retrospective highlighted the history of the Guild, relating the struggles and achievements that IATSE Local 700 has experienced over the last 75 years through the voices of the members and industry veterans of the Editors Guild.

Shot over four months, the film was co-written by producer Patrick Gregston and Stetz. Editor Brian Ging constructed a compelling story supported by the original music of Kennard Ramsey. Other crew included re-recording mixer Michael D. Wilhoit, sound mixer Christi Moore, grip J.J. Moore and colorist Henry Santos. Sponsors Moviola Hollywood and Christy’s Editorial provided production equipment, with post services coming from Digital Film Tree.

The night’s master of ceremonies, Editors Guild president Daniel Cahn, ACE, complimented the filmmakers from the podium. The film will be a highlight at future Guild events and subsequent showings on the web are planned (https://www.editorsguild.com)

The Society of Motion Picture Film Editors was formed with 571 men and women on May 20, 1937. Currently the membership of what is now known as the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700 (MPEG) is more than 7,300 and includes additional postproduction professionals such as film/video lab technicians, re-recording mixers, maintenance engineers and story analysts.

The gala event was held at the landmark Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles, the site of several early Academy Award ceremonies, on Oct. 6. The nearly 800 attendees were treated to cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dessert and door prizes. Guests could participate in a silent auction, star in their own flipbook, or dance to live music by Jazz Bliss. Upon leaving the celebration, everyone received a handsome 75th Anniversary program book, created by Editors Guild publications director Tomm Carroll and art director William Stetz.

The Guild’s 75th Anniversary committee was chaired by Sharon Smith Holley and Maysie Hoy, ACE. The committee consisted of Diane Adler, ACE; David Bruskin; Alan Heim, ACE; Alyson Moore; Christi Moore; Glenn Morgan, MPSE; Stephen Rivkin, ACE, and guild vice president John Trask.

In addition to the film, other speakers on the anniversary program included Mike Miller, international vice president, IATSE, and Bob Beitcher, president and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Issac Burks, arts and culture deputy for Los Angeles presented MPEG with a proclamation from Fourth District City Councilman Tom LeBonge congratulating the guild for its contributions to the American film and television industry, “the pride of Los Angeles.”

The most moving part of the program occurred when MPEG national executive director Ronald G. Kutak acknowledged picture editors and longtime members of the Guild’s board of directors Diane Adler, ACE and Bill Elias, as special honorees “for a life of dedication.”  With tears in her eyes, Adler, a television editor of such as iconic shows The Bill Cosby Show, Kojak, and The Rockford Files, thanked her “brothers and sisters” of the guild for all that had been afforded to her as a single mother including the ability to send her children to college. During an era of union busting, it was a poignant testimonial to the benefits of union membership.

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