With the 2023 Oscars now firmly in the rearview mirror, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the creation of a new Production and Technology Branch. Meant to represent those working in key technical and production positions in all phases of filmmaking, from pre- to post-production, the branch already comprises around 400 individuals who were previously classified as Members-at-Large.
Job titles that fall under the Production and Technology Branch include chief technology officers, senior department heads in technology and creative services, and preservation and restoration specialists, as well as credited production roles, including stunt coordinators, script supervisors, choreographers, music supervisors, colorists, line producers, and associate producers.
“The purpose of the new branch is to have different people with various backgrounds to be a part of the Academy, not just the classic arts but the science heavy and tech inclusive group that have distinguished themselves in their separate fields,” one Academy Member told IndieWire. “It is a more specific branch definition for members at large and more inclusive. For example, colorists, script supervisors, stunt coordinators that don’t have a branch definition will now have one. Also, new members don’t have to be in the specific branches to be admitted into the Academy.”
In order to qualify to for an invitation to the Production and Technology Branch, a candidate must have been actively engaged for the past eight years in the theatrical motion picture arts and sciences in a key creative or technical position.
If production is their profession, the candidate must also have credited roles on at least eight theatrical feature films which, in the opinion of the executive committee, reflect the high standards of the Academy. If they boast a position that is head of an aspect of production or film technology, they must have served it for five consecutive years to qualify for an Academy invitation.
A candidate could also have made scientific and/or technological contributions which produced leading creative tools and/or systems for the crafts involved in the creation of the theatrical motion picture experience, or have received an Academy Scientific and Technical Award, or have had direct involvement in the last eight years, not solely in an administrative position, in the preservation and/or restoration of legacy and current content of the moving image and/or recorded sound, or finally, have, in the judgment of the Production and Technology Executive Committee, achieved unique distinction, earned special merit, or made an outstanding contribution to the arts or sciences of motion pictures in the above described areas.
With the establishment of the Production and Technology Branch, the Academy now has 18 branches total meant to represent all facets of the film industry. As of right now, only one branch member from Production and Technology will be elected to the Board of Governors for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, with the hopes that that person will help broaden the Academy’s perspective in board discussions.
The creation of the branch shows signs that the Academy is game to continue advancing with the industry to ensure that new voices and professions are represented and how changes to its governance structure can best support this evolution.
The last time the Academy established a new branch, it was the Casting Directors branch in 2013, right on the heels of the “Casting By” documentary that made a case for there to be an Oscar for casting. The inclusion of stunt coordinators in this new Production and Technology Branch is especially notable, since in recent years there has also been a prominent movement to establish an Oscar for stunt performers. With the Academy continuing to make changes, the Academy looks well on its way to at least talking about establishing some of those awards Oscar fans have been asking for.
Additional reporting by Bill Desowitz and Anne Thompson.