Cinematographers Guild president Steven Poster lost his bid for reelection last month, which will soon bring an end to his 13-year reign as Hollywoods longest serving union president. In an exclusive exit interview with Deadline, he reflects on his legacy, and looks ahead to the future of the guild and the industry. His last day in office will be June 22, although hell continue to serve on the guilds executive board.
“Im very proud of the work that has been done over the last 13 years,” he said. “We really took a union on the brink of a very difficult time, and we have turned it into one of the strongest (IATSE) locals in the bargaining unit, and the legacy of craft and safety and technology and dedication to trade unionism is something that I will never, ever forget, and Ill be very proud of it for all my days to come.”
Poster, like nearly all of Hollywoods other elected union leaders, served without pay. “Ive been a volunteer as president for 13 years now,” he said. “Its a big job, especially with a 9,000-plus membership. Its not a job for weenies, I can tell you that. Its an amazing opportunity to communicate with this many people on a regular basis, but it is a seven-day-a-week job. Theres no way around it. Its just incredibly involved. But there are many more rewards than negatives, which is why I kept doing it.”
Poster, who also served as president of the American Society of Cinematographers in 2002, said that “helping my union Sisters and Brothers” is the biggest reward from union service. “Thats been in my nature most of my life,” he said. “I really have a passion to make it better for as many people as I can, and this job gave me the opportunity to do that. Its amazing how much we love this business. One of the things that Ive always noticed about cinematographers and the other crafts in our industry is that the camaraderie is much different than any other profession and any other organization in this business that weve seen. We are much more giving to each other, and thats very exciting.”
The industry has changed dramatically during his tenure, from digital technologies to an expanded awareness about diversity and safety issues. The guild was the first below-the-line industry union to hire a female national executive director – Rebecca Rhine – and has made considerable efforts to increase access and opportunities for the woefully scant number of women cinematographers.
“Heres the situation,” he said. “When I was president of the ASC, there had been one woman who was a member way back when, Brianne Murphy, but she was no longer with us at that point, and when I was vice president and then president of the ASC, I helped bring in the first five women, including Ellen Kuras and Nancy Schreiber and a number of others that came in as new members, and Im proud to say that that was a mission of mine.
“We are primed to do whatever we can to help the diverse population of our union become successful, and one of the reasons there are fewer women as cinematographers is there were fewer women coming through the system, and the pipeline had to be expanded. Im doing some teaching now at the Art Center College of Design, and in every class, I see an increase in the number of women.”
Poster, whose many film, TV and documentary credits include Amityville: The Awakening, The Box, Someone to Watch Over Me, and Donnie Darko, says hes ready to get back behind the camera. “Over the years, my career as a cinematographer has slowed down. Im hoping to go back to it. There are opportunities out there, and Im excited about that, but the reality is I couldnt really devote that much time to my career after a certain number of years. The last movie I shot was Amityville: The Awakening, for Blumhouse, and it was really fun, but it was shot here in Los Angeles, which made a big difference in terms of how I was able to balance the work as president against the work as a cinematographer, but Im ready to go back to work. You got a movie? You want to make a movie together?”
He was defeated in his bid for reelection by Lewis Rothenberg, a digital imaging technician on Avengers: Infinity War, The Girl on the Train and the 2016 Ghostbusters remake, who had previously been the guilds national vice president for two terms under Poster and had served on the national executive board for nine years before stepping away from union politics three years ago. “Lewis was the vice president with me I think for two terms, and we are very happy to be colleagues and friends in that sense,” Poster said.
“I served under President Poster for nine years, and as his vice president for six years,” Rothenberg told Deadline. “Hes put in many great years of service to this organization, and Im proud to follow in his footsteps and hope I can live up to the legacy hes left.”
Rothenberg, the first New York resident elected president of the guild, will be moving to Los Angeles, as per the guilds rules, which Poster sees as a unifying event.
The guild, IATSE Local 600, came into being in 1996 when IATSE president Tom Short merged the unions three camera locals – Local 659 in Los Angeles, Local 644 in New York and Local 666 in Chicago – to form Local 600.
“I think this election should be looked at as a milestone in our truly becoming one union across the country,” Poster said. “Its really taken this long since the merger for this to begin to happen, and now, with a new president moving out here from New York, were really at that point. As I said, this is a milestone of the end of a long struggle against a faction who believed that nothing Local 600 could ever do would measure up to what 644 or 666 wouldve done, and now thats changing. It is about time.”
“Weve been building the organization ever since the merger,” he said, “and its been a very interesting process. We struggled for a number of years with the division of the old three local system where it was 659 out here. It was 644 in New York, and the central states had their own little 666. Who would name a local 666? Interesting, isnt it? But it has taken a number of years to put us all together in one real unit.”
Poster chalked up his loss to Rothenberg this way: “You know, what I found in talking to people is that people just assumed I was going to win, so they didnt bother voting, and that was out here (in LA) mostly. My numbers…well, I won the West Coast. I won central. I didnt win New York, and New York was just I think about 100 votes or something like that difference out of the 9,000 membership.
“And I think there were probably 7,600 people who were qualified to vote, and we got our kind of typical percentage of voters in the 30%. You know, what Im finding, which is I think pretty exciting to me, is that our younger members are much more involved in the voting process and in running for office than weve ever seen before, and Im very excited about that because that portends well for the future.”
He doesnt feel that the debate over last years ratification of the IATSEs Hollywood film and TV contract, which was approved by an overwhelming majority of his locals members, played a role in his defeat. Shoring up the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan and addressing the industrys brutally long work hours were two of the most contentious issues. The Editors Guild was the only IA local that voted to oppose the pact, primarily on those two issues.
“We negotiated the best contract weve had in 18 years, and we built on that success in each contract since then,” he said. “You know, there are dozens of different contract negotiations that go on, and weve really built on that. You know, its unfortunate. We dont really understand what the issues were that took one local out of the bargaining unit away from everybody else, but every other local passed with great numbers, passed this contract, agreed on this contract. You know, the biggest voices against this contract were people who generally dont work, and they have a lot of time to make those kind of comments. The people that are working are pretty happy.”
Concerns about the pension plans declining funding percentage, he said, are unfounded. “Our pension has never been sounder by current industry standards, and there was a decision made by the MPI and the pension trustees a number of years ago to increase pensions, which resulted in the current funding levels. It will take, I think, maybe 20 years to make the full adjustment, but the actuaries from both sides are very satisfied with where the pension is right now, and how can you claim that theres a problem with the pension when there is so much work going around in this country that is generating contributions?”
The contract also made significant gains for longer rest periods, and a requirement that union members working on location be provided transportation and put up in hotels after long workdays. “Changes in contracts, as you know, are incremental, and weve been talking about this for quite some time, for quite a few cycles, and this was the first time that we made inroads into it; the first time that the producers are realizing that it is a safety issue, and it is a dimension that is costing them money. Its not saving money to work 18 to 20 hours a day. Even 16 hours a day is too much. One of the things we gained is called Rooms or Rides.
“The Rooms or Rides mandate that if you work past 14 hours, up to 14 hours in one day, you must have the opportunity to get a ride home and a ride back to get your car, or get a room near the set so that you can lay down and rest and be ready. We created a very exciting program where we have bags, we have travel bags, overnight bags there with the Rides and Rooms symbol on it and our logo on it, and inside the bags, weve created a package of toiletries so that you throw a few pieces of clothing in, and you can stay there for the night and be ready. So every member should have one of these in their trunks.”
Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, whom Poster defeated in the guilds 2007 presidential race, had made shorter hours his cause célèbre – he even made a film about it, which Poster once called “a union-busting movie.” At the time of his death in 2015, Wexler was facing a union trial for posting the proceedings of a Local 600 membership meeting on an unlisted YouTube account in which he can be seen advocating for shorter workdays. The local quickly brought him up on charges of violating its confidentiality rules – and raising questions about its treatment of a famous dissident and trouble-maker.
“You know, these are internal things,” Poster told Deadline. “Haskell, Im sorry to say, couldve done a much better job by being less militant and a little more cooperative, but that was Haskell. Ive known Haskell since 1969. I met him on the set of Medium Cool. Im from Chicago, and of course, so is he. His best friends were my mentors in the business, and so weve had a very, very long relationship and an interesting one, both at the ASC and here. Our goal was keeping people safe, and it always haRead More – Source
10 Coronation Street spoilers: Rape trauma, baby danger and Bethanys confession
Coronation Street is buiding up to some dramatic and heart wrenching storylines as ou..
Coronation Street is buiding up to some dramatic and heart wrenching storylines as our brand new spoilers reveal. As the devastating death of Sinead Tinker (Katie McGlynn) draws nearer, a confession from Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon) could have huge ramifications for her dying days.
Elsewhere, a brand new crisis kicks off for David (Jack P Shepherd) as he is forced to come face to face with his rapist Josh Tucker (Ryan Clayton) in prison while Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell) finds herself in a drastic situation ahead of the birth of her quads.
Here, we reveal whats coming up in Weatherfield.
10 Coronation Street spoilers
- Shona blames Max when Harry is injured.
- Gemma is trapped in a turnstile during a day at the match with Chesney.
- Sinead finds herself too ill to undertake everyday tasks.
- Geoff suggests that he and Yasmeen invest in Speed Daal.
- Marion decides that she wants to fighr David and Shona for custody of Max.
- Kirk plans an early Christmas for Sinead.
- Gemma tries to turn the press over her disaster to her advantage.
- David is horrified to come face to face with Josh in prison.
- Geoff contacts Zeedan and arranges to buy his half of Speed Daal.
- James realises that Bethany is in love with Daniel.
Monday 14th October
Wednesday 16th October Part One
Gemma nets two VIP tickets to the Weatherfield County match and excitedly heads there with Chesney but disaster strikes when she tries to get through the turn stile and ends up trapped due to her pregnant stomach.
Max returns home in a foul mood and ends up in a row with Lily over the TV. When Harry is then hurt and has to be taken to hospital, Shona accuses Max who defiantly claims that it was Lily who pushed him.
Sinead is disheartened when she has to use a wheelchair to attend a family picnic and when she becomes too unwell, she has to be taken home. Geoff suggests to Yasmeen that they invest in Speed Daal while Bethany accidentally causes James to be injured.
Wednesday 16th October Part Two
Marion arrives and tells Shona that Max has been visiting her and when she spots that Shona has been drinking, she accuses her of being an unfit mother and seeks legal advice over custody. Later, Shona realises that it was Lily who pushed Harry and she feels terrible.
Gemma is mortified when the fire service have to cut her out of the turnstile while Daniel and Sinead are given a painful reminder that time is running out. Alya agrees to let Alya invest – but not Geoff while Bethany picks James brains over an article.
Friday 18th October Part One
Shona tries to contact Max and is horrified when Marion makes it clear that she plans to fight her and David for custody of Max. David is rocked by the news and his day gets worse when he spots Josh in the medical wing of the prison.
Emmerdale spoilers: Ryan Hawley reveals all on Robert Sugdens exit
Robert Sugden hasnt had an easy couple of months in Emmerdale — what with him having ..
Robert Sugden hasnt had an easy couple of months in Emmerdale — what with him having been charged for GBH with intent for brutally assaulting Victoria Bartons (Isabel Hodgins) rapist Lee — but things are set to get much worse for the beloved character before his on-screen exit arrives, and actor Ryan Hawley has all the gossip on Roberts exit.
Robert was livid when he first learned about what had happened to Victoria, and thus he set out to seek revenge on her behalf — in spite of her consistently asking him not to. After multiple failed attempts to get justice for what Lee did, Robert lost control and picked up a shovel, before hitting the rapist on the back of the head — and he was charged for the crime as a result.
He ended up pleading guilty so that he could save Victoria having to lie on his behalf in court, and since then hes been enjoying the free time hes got left with husband Aaron (Danny Miller). On Roberts current state of mind, Ryan said: Hes waiting for the inevitable.He is however, optimistic that it is going to only be a short amount of time that hes going to be away for.
I believe, worst case scenario – only a couple of years. He is quite confident in the fact that he has pled guilty so sentencing will be a bit more lenient.
Roberts circumstances are set to worsen in the coming episodes, as he learns that Lee has passed away in hospital. The ramifications that the rapists death will have on his prison sentence is the main cause of concern, as its now incredibly likely that hell be charged with murder for what he did to the young man.
Robert understandably struggles to process this information, but Liv (Isobel Steele) offers up a solution, when she suggests that he and Aaron go on the run together.
Ryan said: The news has just been broken to them so they havent really got a plan, they are going to have to take it as it comes. It means some very emotional goodbyes to some people in the village, but they have to be quick and there are some people they dont even get the chance to because Read More – Source
Holby City review with spoilers: Ric opts for the risky surgery after Darla decides to keep the baby
Ric considers his options (Picture: BBC)
First the good news on tonights Holby City – Ric Griffin (H..
First the good news on tonights Holby City – Ric Griffin (Hugh Quarshie)s brain tumour is benign. Unfortunately the bad news is very bad indeed. The tumour is huge, which makes surgery to remove it extremely difficult, according to Ric. The risks are very high that he could have a stroke or not survive the surgery at all. Leaving the tumour where it is could be an option, but it will probably keep on growing and compress his brain, leading to more mood swings, more forgetfulness and worse. His days as a surgeon would definitely be over very soon.
Because he had Darla (Naomi Katiyo) to worry about, he decided that he wouldnt risk the surgery and would try to manage the symptoms of the tumour with drugs. He also decided not to worry Darla by telling her about his diagnosis.
Everything changed when Darla was visited by Peter (Jordan Adene), the father of her baby, who proved to be a very mature, supportive and sensible 15 year old. Donna (Jaye Jacobs) had already detected in Darla signs of doubt that she wanted to go through with having her baby adopted and Peters arrival cemented her decision – she wanted to keep her daughter. Peter said hed get a job and theyd manage.
Ric was on board with this plan because hes always wanted whatever makes Darla happy. Then Peters father (Daniel Adegboyega), an elder of the church, arrived and kicked off a bit. He accused Darla of trying to trap his son and said the baby might not even be Peters. There was a bit of a tussle as he tried to take Peter away and Ric ended up being thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious.
Ric wasnt seriously hurt, but as everyone clustered around his bedside Cameron (Nic Jackman) said something about his serious condition in front of Darla, so Ric had no option but to tell her the truth. Peter proved that hes a keeper by smoothing things out with Darlas dad, so Darla is going to move back in with Kofi and bring up the baby, after making Ric promise that he has to do whats best for him and not delay the surgery just for her sake. And theyre naming the baby Erica, after her great-granddad – which made him fill up. She wouldnt be here now if it werent for you, Darla said. And Cameron, he reminded her, But Ericas a better name.
Ric apologised to Zav (Marcus Griffiths) and Donna for his recent behaviour and told them hes going to go for the surgery, because he wants to carry on being a surgeon himself if theres even a slim chance.
Meanwhile a small bunch of supporting artists had assembled to give Essie (Kaye Wragg) a party to welcome her new adopted baby. This was mainly a plot device so one of the cards would be found later on by Connor (Calum Lill) – Islas father. Hed come to the hospital to get Frankies phone number from Essie but he soon worked out that Essie is pretending that Isla is her legally adopted daughter. Sacha (Bob Barrett) tried to help Essie out by warning Connor off but only succeeded in making the situation worse. Essie finally resorted to good old faRead More – Source
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