Fall 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 71 of 107

70 CINEMONTAGE / Q4 2016 70 CINEMONTAGE / Q4 2016 by Edward Landler O n January 8, 2016, at a meeting of the Motion Picture Editors Guild Board of Directors, Ron Kutak announced that he would be retiring as National Executive Director of the Guild — IATSE Local 700 — during the year. In his official email to the membership, he wrote, "After having the honor, privilege and self-satisfaction of representing you, I feel I am leaving the Guild in a better place than I found it." Having served for 32 years in his position, Kutak was the longest-sitting chief executive officer of any union in the entertainment industry. He has represented the Guild since being hired as a videotape organizer in 1981 and has been Executive Director since 1984. He officially retired November 1, 2016. Along with the Guild's Board, during his tenure, Kutak has overseen much transformation at the local as it has adapted to the upheavals and constant change that are a given in the entertainment industry. His experience prior to joining the Guild provided him with the ability to help the Guild thrive throughout the past 32 years, into the 21 st Century, and beyond. Born July 28, 1949, and raised in various parts of the New York City area, the future MPEG executive became interested in film while earning both a BA and an MA in history at Northeastern University in Boston. In 1974, he was accepted by New York University's Graduate Institute of Film and Television. Graduating with a Master of Fine Arts, Kutak worked in NYC for a year or so, then moved to Los Angeles where he worked as cameraman and camera operator for Roger Corman and other independent filmmakers, but preferred doing camera work on music videos because it paid better. Kutak was frustrated both with non-union working conditions and with the "Catch 22" of not being able to get a union job without being on the roster and not being able to get on the roster without a job. So he started organizing production companies where he was employed to gain IA representation. In 1981, after working with an Editors Guild field representative on a strike, the Guild offered Kutak a part-time position to organize in videotape. Within a year, the Guild offered him a full-time position; then-Executive Director David Miller told CineMontage that he regarded the young man as his assistant. The new full-timer decided to quit camera work entirely and devote himself to Local 776. Building the More Perfect Union Opposite: Ron Kutak. Portrait by Wm. Stetz

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of CineMontage - Fall 2016