Directors Guild of America President Paris Barclay today announced the recipients of two special DGA Awards recognizing extraordinary contribution to the Guild: Mary Rae Thewlis and Tom McDermott will be honored at the 68th Annual DGA Awards on Saturday, February 6, 2016.
Mary Rae Thewlis will receive the DGA’s 2016 Frank Capra Achievement Award, which is given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the Directors Guild of America.

Tom McDermott will receive the DGA’s 2016 Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award, which is given to an Associate Director or Stage Manager in recognition of service to the industry and to the Directors Guild of America.

“Mary Rae Thewlis and Tom McDermott personify the DGA ethos: distinguished work and dedicated service,” said Barclay. “We honor their many achievements and contributions to the Guild, and extend our deepest gratitude for their dedication to helping protect and promote the creative and economic rights of our members.”

The special awards will be presented at the 68th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.  Bios are below:

Mary Rae Thewlis
A DGA member since 1993, Mary Rae Thewlis began her entertainment career as a Trainee in the DGA Assistant Director Training Program where she worked on features including The Age of Innocence and Honeymoon in Vegas. Since 2013, she has worked as a Unit Production Manager and Producer for the hit FX series “The Americans,” and prior to that, for more than thirteen years on Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Thewlis has also worked as a Unit Production Manager, Assistant Director and Producer on such feature films and television series as Up Close & Personal, Above The Rim, The Ordained and 666 Park Avenue.

Thewlis’s service to the Guild began more than 15 years ago when she was elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Eastern AD/UPM Council. She has since served six consecutive terms in various elected positions including Chair and 1st Vice Chair. Currently a National Board Member, Thewlis was first elected in 2005 as an Associate and has since served six consecutive terms. Additionally, Thewlis is a Trustee of the DGA Pension and Health Plan (first appointed in 2007), the DGA Training Plan (first appointed in 2004) and the DGA Foundation (first appointed in 2014). Her various committee appointments through the years include: the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee, the 75th Anniversary Committee, the DGA Honors Committee and the East Coast/West Coast Residency Committee.

Thewlis also served on the DGA Negotiations Committee for the 2001, 2011 and 2014 negotiations cycles, and as a delegate to the DGA Biennial Conventions.

Tom McDermott
The son of two actors – Tom McDermott and Mary Hayden – Tom McDermott is a second generation entertainment industry professional. He began his career in the theater, and soon after expanded into television joining the Guild in 1984 as a Stage Manager. Through the years, his career in television has spanned the gamut of genres from news, sports, variety and politics to daytime, dramatic and comedy series.

McDermott has worked on numerous high-profile programs and specials including:  Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, The Today Show, Late Show with David Letterman, Super Bowls XXX and XXXII, the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, the 1997 World Series and several NBA Finals. In 2001, he became the full time Stage Manager for the long-running No. 1 daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. McDermott was part of the directing team which earned a 2011 Daytime Emmy Award in directing, and several Emmy and DGA nominations. A member of the Pacific Resident Theater in Venice, Calif., McDermott has also continued his career in theater, having directed a number of plays by such greats as George Bernard Shaw, David Mamet and Harold Pinter.   

McDermott’s service to the Guild began more than three decades ago when he was elected to the DGA’s Western AD/SM/PA Council which he currently chairs. Through the years, he has almost continuously served on either the Western or Eastern AD/SM/PA Councils in various elected positions including:  Chair, 1st Vice Chair, and 2nd Vice Chair. McDermott also served on the DGA Negotiations Committee for the 2002 negotiations cycle.                                                                    

Nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film will be announced on January 12, 2016.  Nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television, Commercials, and Documentary will be announced on January 13, 2016. 

BMW is the Exclusive Automotive Sponsor of the 68th Annual DGA Awards. 

Past recipients of the DGA Frank Capra Achievement Award:

Phillip Goldfarb (2015)

Lee Blaine (2014)

Susan Zwerman (2013)

Katy E. Garretson (2012)

Cleve Landsberg (2010)

Kim Kurumada (2009)

Liz Ryan (2008)

Jerry H. Ziesmer (2006)

Herb Adelman (2005)

Stephen Glanzrock (2004)

Yudi Bennett (2003)

Burt Bluestein (2002)

Cheryl R. Downey (2000)

Tom Joyner (1999)

Bob Jeffords (1998)

Peter A. Runfolo (1994)

Willard H. Sheldon (1993)

Howard W. Koch (1991)

Stanley Ackerman (1990)

Alex Hapsas (1988)

Henry E. “Bud” Brill (1987)

Jane Schimel (1985)

Abby Singer (1985)

William Beaudine Jr. (1983)

William C. Gerrity (1983)

Wallace Worsley (1982)

David Golden (1982)

Francisco “Chico” Day (1981)

Emmett Emerson (1980)

Past recipients of the DGA Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award:

Julie Gelfand (2015)

Vince DeDario (2014)

Dency Nelson (2013)

Dennis W. Mazzocco (2012)

Maria Jimenez Henley (2010)

Scott Berger (2009)

Barbara J. Roche (2008)

Terry Benson (2007)

Donald E. Jacob (2006)

Stanley Faer (2005)

Peery Forbis (2004)

Esperanza “Candy” Martinez (2003)

Anita Cooper-Avrick (2002)

Robert N. Van Ry (2001)

Scott L. Rindenow (2000)

Robert Caminiti (1999)

C.J. Rapp-Pittman (1998)

Joseph L. Dicso (1997)

Don Lewis Barnhart (1996)

Larry Carl (1995)

James E. Wall (1994)

James “Woody” Woodworth (1993)

Marilyn Jacobs-Furey (1992)

Chester O’Brien (1991)

Mortimer O’Brien (1991)