Directors UK is the professional association of directors working with the moving image in the UK, with over 4,500 members in total.
Launching in June 2008, it evolved from the Directors and Producers Rights Society (DPRS), a collecting society that administered payments for film and TV directors for the secondary use of their works (click here to read more about the DPRS).
Authors have always been recognised as the key to our culture but governments are realising that creative industries are a vital economic resource on the long road to financial recovery.
We are not a service like finance, we are a manufacturing industry - we make something that has lasting value and that creates a wide circle of employment.
If we are to grow our creative industries it is crucial that authors’ rights and their value are at the heart of that growth.
Governments often focus their attention on large companies. In fact it is individual authors who are the engine of the creative industries, and copyright is the key to their survival.
Creativity needs time and space to evolve and the value of rights is a vital way to create this space. Defending the author is the surest way to build the creative industries because, without our ideas, the presses, the studios and the VFX houses and the downloads will cease.
Directors UK exists to ensure that the importance and centrality of directors is recognised, and to give directors a powerful and united voice at the centre of the industry. Film and TV are a great British success story and our membership ranges from internationally renowned and award-winning directors to novices on their first professional assignments and student directors.
We work with them at every stage in their career to:
Protect and enhance directors’ creative rights - This means ensuring their control of their material, protecting them from bad working practices, supporting them collectively. Directors are authors of their work under copyright law.
We negotiate, collect, and manage the right to receive payment for the use of their work for all directors working in the UK. Working with broadcasters and our international partners we operate a sophisticated monitoring, collection and royalty distribution system.
We are the voice of directors at every level. We represent directors and directing to Government in the UK and in Europe, to broadcasters, to regulators, to other industry bodies and to the media.
We provide valuable services and benefits to our members and ensure they are involved. Directors UK unites directors, creates opportunities, and works to support and strengthen every member. Central to our purpose is the encouragement, protection and development of our members. While directors work alone, it is our role to bring members together.
Directors work in a multitude of ways. Some write, some produce, some make feature films, some make television programmes, some direct music videos, others are involved in commercials and games. What unites directors is vision. We make things happen: the position, status, and security of directors is not simply good for us, it is also good for the industry.
Respect for directors’ copyright and secure improved pay and fair rewards for the use of a director’s copyright.
Respect for the role of a director as the creative leader in film and television production.
A flourishing UK film and television industry producing and exploiting a high quality and diverse range of content.
Equal and diverse opportunities for directors.
A commitment to play our part in contributing to the formulation of industry policy.
Ensuring the continued development of high quality directorial talent.
A flourishing community of directors.
DPRS was initially established in 1987 by the Directors Guild of Great Britain (DGGB) for the purpose of collecting payments due to directors under other European legislation. In 1992 it became a separate organisation.
Major achievements of DPRS include:
Over the years DPRS collected and distributed millions of pounds to British directors as a result of these agreements.
In 2006 a group of leading film and television directors got together to discuss the challenges facing their industry, and the need to improve working conditions, fees and remuneration for directors in the UK. Over the next two years this group worked closely with the Board of DPRS to create the current organisation - Directors UK, which was launched in June 2008.
In November 2011 Directors UK launched its new Membership Scheme, open to all directors (including students) whether or not they have works that are receiving payments from the collecting society. To find out more about becoming a member, click here.
Top photo of member Phil Hawkins courtesy of The Philm Company and Howard Wilkinson Photography. Second photo of Rob Pilley's Earthflight copyright Rob Pilley co. John Downer Productions Ltd.