ADG’s Kingston Anderson to depart

Kingston Anderson.

Kingston Anderson.

Kingston Anderson is stepping down after eight years as CEO of the Australian Directors’ Guild.

One of the screen industry’s most respected leaders, he will depart in late September and plans to return to producing documentaries with his partner Claire Haywood.

The guild had offered him a new, three-year contract but he tells IF: “Eight years is a long time. It’s a good time to go and hand over to someone else. Everything is running well.”

While his focus for the time being will be on making documentaries with Haywood, whose credits include The Pink House, Kings Cross ER, Being Lara Bingle and Territory Cops, he says: “I may do something else in the future.”

Among his achievements at the helm of the ADG have been the transformation of the guild into a union three and a half years ago, which enabled the organisation to represent directors at the Fair Work Commission and to be consulted by the Department of Home Affairs on visa applications for foreign directors.

He negotiated landmark deals with Fremantle covering all directors working on Neighbours and with production arms of the Walt Disney Co. for the six Aussie directors who were hired for Reef Break.

The ADG has reached an in-principle agreement with Screen Producers Australia which will give directors improved pay rates and royalties and better define their roles in TV dramas. The paperwork is being finalized after which the deal will be formally announced.

During his tenure he advanced the status of the ADG Awards and introduced a shadow directing scheme to elevate female directors.

“When I came to the ADG I had a very clear idea of where I thought the organisation should be in relation to the Australian screen industry,” he said.

“We needed to re-establish the crucial role of directors in the creation of screen content and to support this with agreements and policy that put directors where they needed to be – at the centre of screen production.

“Most rewarding for me was to work alongside such a great number of talented Australian directors and support their talents in creating some of Australia’s best stories for the big and small screen.

“I am particularly proud of my work in growing the ADG Awards over the past five years to become an important event on the screen industry calendar that recognises the immense talent we have in this country.

“I am also immensely proud of the Gender Matters programs we have run – particularly the shadow directing scheme that has seen talented female directors be given concrete employment opportunities as television directors. I hope this scheme will continue with the backing of Screen Australia, as its success speaks for itself.”

ADG president Samantha Lang said: “Mr Anderson’s excellent management of the ADG has ensured its growth, resilience and success as professional and cultural hub for screen directors.

“His skill in industrial relations has ensured better working conditions for television directors, his aptitude for evolving the ADG awards has given directors the profile they deserve, and his advocacy for professional development has provided pathways for emerging directors.”

The position will be advertised in the coming weeks. Kingston will stay on to ensure there is a smooth transition.