Coronavirus Chronicles: DGA Task Force, Headed by Soderbergh

April 16, 2020–Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh will lead a new Directors Guild of America (DGA) committee tasked with assessing when the now-halted film and television productions can restart and Hollywood can go back to work.

On Thursday — the same day the White House unveiled its three-phase “Opening Up America Again” blueprint — DGA president Thomas Schlamme and national executive director Russell Hollander wrote to members about the novel coronavirus pandemic, disclosing a new task force chaired by Soderbergh.

“A major concern we’re hearing most right now is about when we’ll be returning to work, and how we can be certain that it’s safe to do so. Rest assured, this is something we’ve been spending a great deal of time thinking about as well,” read the DGA letter from its leaders.

Added Schlamme and Hollander, “While we don’t have an answer as to when production will resume, we are taking steps to address how we can be safe when it does happen. A National Board committee, spearheaded by Soderbergh, and with members from all categories, has been appointed to do a thorough examination of the issues at hand, and to make recommendations to the Board.”

Soderbergh’s credits includes the 2011 Contagion, which has become a popular on-demand title amid the ongoing pandemic.

On March 27, the director, and film’s cast members Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Laurence Fishburne, partnered with the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health for public service announcements on COVID-19.

“The committee is consulting with top epidemiologists in the field, and we will collaborate with our sister guilds and unions and the employers as we put together a comprehensive guide to help us all return safely to work.”

Since mid-March, all Hollywood film and TV projects have halted production and thousands of crewmembers and support staff have been furloughed.

On Thursday, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees outlined priorities for further federal relief legislation, including pension plan protection, greater access to the Paycheck Protection Program and subsidies for COBRA health care costs for entertainment workers for one year.