DGA to Honor Michael Apted With Honorary Life Member Award

Michael Apted Honorary Life Member

December 12, 2017

Los Angeles – Directors Guild of America President Thomas Schlamme today announced that renowned director and Past President Michael Apted will be the recipient of the DGA Honorary Life Member Award in recognition of leadership in the industry, contribution to the Guild and the profession of directing, and outstanding career achievement. The award will be presented to Apted, who currently serves as DGA Secretary-Treasurer, at the 70th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

See video of Michael Apted's speech below.

“Michael is a game changer for our Guild and our industry. Whether having the foresight as a young man to conceptualize the revolutionary documentary series 7 UP – still going on decades later – or guiding Hollywood through a digital revolution, he is a fearless, visionary leader, and we are all the beneficiaries. Having served as either president or co-chair for every major new media and SVOD negotiation, Michael has skillfully navigated the DGA through times of great change, setting the path for our members and our industry to flourish. His search for the truth and what’s right is evident in all that he endeavors – from negotiating directors’ creative and economic rights, to rallying our industry’s fight against piracy and runaway production, to advocating for independent filmmakers and inclusion. All the while, he has taken the time to lend a hand to those behind him. As a mentor to so many, myself included, Michael has activated leadership in others and inspired us all to be more engaged in our Guild.”

Apted served as DGA President for three terms from 2003-2009, the longest consecutive presidential service since George Sidney in the 1960s. Negotiations during his tenure as president included the 2004 round that successfully protected health benefits and the 2007 round that established jurisdiction and compensation formulas in new media. As audiences migrated online in the years that followed, Guild members were positioned for growing success. Following his presidency, Apted continued that momentum serving as co-chair of the DGA Negotiating Committee, together with current DGA President Thomas Schlamme, in the 2014 and 2017 cycles – most recently achieving unprecedented gains in subscription video on demand residuals which set the pattern for the industry.

Today, Apted continues to serve on the National Board as Secretary-Treasurer. He joined the DGA in 1978 and became active in Guild service in 1997, when he was first elected to the Western Directors Council. In 2001, he was elected to the National Board and became fifth vice president the following year. He also founded (together with Steven Soderbergh) the Guild’s Independent Directors Committee in 1998, and served as chair until he was elected President of the Guild. In the years following his presidency, he furthered key Guild efforts in Washington as co-chair of the Political Action Committee Leadership Council and in educating the world about the Guild’s rich history as chair of the 75th Anniversary Advisory Committee.

Since the 1960s, Apted has helmed an extensive list of feature films and documentaries. His feature films include Unlocked, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Amazing Grace, Gorillas in the Mist, Coalminer’s Daughter (for which he received a DGA Feature Film Award nomination), The World is Not Enough, Gorky Park, Thunderheart, Nell, Enigma, and Enough. Apted’s documentary credits include Incident at Oglala, Bring on the Night, Moving the Mountain, Me and Isaac Newton and Power of the Game. His most widely recognized documentary directorial achievements are his internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning sequels based on the original 7 UP documentary: 7 Plus 7, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49 UP and 56 UP, which have followed the lives of 14 Britons since the age of seven in seven year increments. In addition to his documentary and feature work, he has worked extensively in television, most recently directing episodes of Showtime’s Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan and HBO’s Rome for which he won the DGA Award in the Dramatic Series category. Apted was also nominated for the DGA Award in the Dramatic Series Night category for The Collection–Harold Pinter (PBS Special) in 1978.

Apted has received numerous awards and nominations for his body of work, including a Grammy, a British Academy Award, a DGA Award and the International Documentary Association's highest honor, the IDA Career Achievement Award. By the order of Queen Elizabeth II, he was made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George for his work in the film and television industries. In 2013, Apted received the DGA’s Robert B. Aldrich Award for extraordinary service to the Guild and its membership.

Apted accepts Honorary Lifetime Membership Award


The Feature Film and First-Time Feature Film nominees for the 70th Annual DGA Awards will be announced on Thursday, January 11, 2018. All Television, Commercial and Documentary nominees will be announced on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

To apply for a press credential to cover the DGA Awards, please go to DGA.org/Awards to download an application.

BMW is the Exclusive Automotive Sponsor of the 70th Annual DGA Awards.

Past recipients of the DGA Honorary Life Member Award

Ed Sherin (2012) • Robert Iger & Barry Meyer (2010) • Roger Ebert (2009) • Jay D. Roth (2008) • Carl Reiner (2007) • Larry Auerbach (2004) • John Rich (2003) • Delbert Mann (2002) • Jack Valenti (2001) • Chuck Jones (1996) • Sheldon Leonard (1995) • Arthur Hiller (1993) • Charles Champlin (1992) • Gilbert Cates (1991) • Barry Diller & Sidney Jay Sheinberg (1990) • Elliot Silverstein (1990) • Sidney Lumet (1989) • Michael H. Franklin (1988) • Tom Donovan (1985) • Elia Kazan & • Robert E. Wise (1983) • Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1981) • David Butler (1978) • H.C. Potter (1977) • Lew Wasserman (1975) • Charles Chaplin (1974) • David Lean (1973) • Darryl F. Zanuck (1968) • Jack L. Warner (1965) • Joseph C. Youngerman (1964) • Hobe Morrison (1962) • Y. Frank Freeman (1961) • George Sidney (1959) • Donald Crisp (1957) • Walt Disney (1955) • Louis B. Mayer (1952) • J.P. McGowan (1951) • Rex Ingram (1949) • Tod Browning (1948) • Maurice Tourneur (1945) • Frank Capra (1941) • Marshall Neilan (1940) • Mabel Walker Willebrandt (1939) • D.W. Griffith (1938)

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