by Mark Rabinowitz
The Directors Guild of America has revamped its Low Budget Agreement
(LBA), it was announced on Wednesday, raising the maximum qualifying
budget to $6 million and waiving guild minimums for the lowest budget
tier, among other changes. The tiers of the new LBA cover films budgeted
under $1.2 million, $1.2-$2.5 million, $2.5 million-$3.5 million and
$3.5-$6 million. Previous LBAs topped out at $5 million.
Several restrictions of previous LBAs have been lifted, including the
penalty for a film's lack of theatrical release. Under the old LBA, if a
film was exhibited on pay or free television prior to a theatrical
release, the LBA provisions were rescinded and the employer was required
to pay the difference in salaries between those mandated under the LBA
and those required under the DGA's Basic Agreement. The New LBA removes
these penalties, providing the employer "engages in provable best
efforts to distribute the film theatrically."
In a prepared statement, DGA Executive Director Bryan Unger commented
that the new LBA "is even more flexible than our previous ones,
particularly at the lowest tiers." DGA President Jack Shea added, "the
LBA, along with our film festival sponsorships and participation, shows
young filmmakers the advantage of a DGA membership in helping them
realize their creative visions." The DGA has sponsored numerous film
festivals, including Sundance, the Hamptons International Film Festival
and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.
Two major changes in the under $1.2 million tier, are the waiving of the
Guild minimum salary requirement and the ability for producers to
negotiate salaries and compensations with the entire directing team. In
addition, the Qualification List requirements for Assistant Directors
(ADs) and Unit Production Managers (UPMs) are waived.
[Filmmakers or employers who would like more information on the DGA's
Low Budget Agreement should contact Bryan Unger in Los Angeles at
310-289-5330, Elizabeth Stanley in Los Angeles at 310-289-5382, Terry
Casaletta in New York at 212-581-0370 or Dan Moore in Chicago at