When a non-unionized director/screenwriter submits a film to a film festival, and a company like Weinstein or Searchlight picks the film up for distribution and theatrical release, do the heads of those companies get the director/screenwriter membership in DGA, WGA, SAG, etc? If not, then how do newcomers get into guilds?
I’m only asking because these guilds often make their initiation processes complex and confusing.
First off, there is a distinction b/w Weinstein (not a major or a studio) and those companies attached to studios Fox Searchlight, Sony Classics, Focus (Paramount and Disney don’t currently have specialized branches). the latter when they produce films have contracts saying for the most part their films have guild association (this varies guild by guild, not one size fits all).
When they acquire films that are completed, the studio-related companies are not required to see that they were guild made, and usually (see under Beasts of the Southern Wild) they aren’t. And this affects some (not all) guild award requirements.
Having made a film and gotten released leads to many to join unions. But again, there are differences here. DGA, WGA, SAG are fairly easy to get into with any level of completed works, the craft ones tend to be more difficult to get into (since there is a finite number of jobs). Choosing not to be a member is an option, but means for most practical purposes they can’t work for a studio-produced film (Tarantino, not a DGA member, couldn’t as one example)