Motion Picture Editors Guild Celebrates 75 Years
- Parent Category: More Top Stories
- Published on Thursday, 16 August 2012 09:34
- Written by Valentina I. Valentini
There’s a union for every crewmember in Hollywood and, as a part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the Motion Pictures Editors Guild (MPEG) makes sure that a lot of them are covered. The MPEG not only includes in its membership editors and assistant editors for picture, music, sound, animation and commercials, they also represent story analysts, sound mixers, engineers, vault clerks and film technicians. With 7,400 members (305 added just this year), the MPEG boasts the largest roster of all the IA locals — and that’s a full house for Cathy Repola, the guild’s 20-year veteran western executive director who can handle it all.
“I do see the way we run things changing but not drastically in the next 20 years,” says Repola, when asked about the guild’s long-term future. “But then again, I would never have sat here 20 years ago and foreseen where we are now.” On a daily basis, Repola handles all the grievances for the guild and supervises the field representative staff, so she’s heavily into the contract enforcement area of the union. While she admits that she tackles the not-so-much-fun side of the guild, unlike the membership services tasks that her colleagues get to do, she’s proud of her job and knows that it’s an integral part of the MPEG.
2012 is an extra special year for the MPEG as it’s the guild’s 75th anniversary. A lot of preparation has been put into the party set for October, and the union has also been doing flashback screenings of classic films, where sound and picture editorial crews do a Q&A afterwards, including Oscar-winning Editor Arthur Schmidt for Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the son of late Editor Dede Allen for Serpico. The MPEG shares this 75th anniversary with the Hawaii stagehands of IATSE Local 665 and the Art Directors Guild, IATSE Local 800. “It’s been a nice focus for us, a celebratory one, instead of just all business,” Repola says. “But on the business side, we did recently go through the IA basic agreement negotiations and the ratification process for that. We were 94 percent in favor of the contract, so that is really good.”
Besides the usual benefits a union offers — health and pension benefits, collective bargaining, job security and safety — the MPEG continually offers seminars on postproduction workflow with different vendors. There’s also training that includes a full-time trainer on staff with equipment that members can utilize on a one-on-one basis, whether it’s with the latest software or just brushing up on existing programs. “The training we offer to our members has been one of the most appreciated aspects,” says Repola. “There’s subsidized training that goes on through contracts services, and we don’t try to replace that, we’re just supplemental to that.”
The MPEG is part of the community in other ways as well. The guild co-sponsors the American Cinema Editors’ ACE Eddie Awards; the ACE’s “Invisible Art, Invisible Artists” panel discussion with Oscar-nominated editors; and EditFest, a weekend-long program of editorial training and seminars open to the public in New York and Los Angeles. Assistant Editor Josh Kirchmer is one of the MPEG’s 240 new editorial memberships in 2012, and he values being part of such a prestigious group. “Being a member of the MPEG is important because it means I’m a part of something bigger than myself,” says Kirchmer, an apprentice editor on Hitchcock and postproduction assistant on Ruby Sparks. “It allows you to both accomplish things and fight for things you could never do alone.”