International Cinematographers Guild Appoints Alex Tonisson National Exec Director

International Cinematographers Guild Appoints Alex Tonisson National Exec Director

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The International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) named Alex Tonisson as its new National Executive Director, during a board meeting on Saturday.

Initially hired as ICG’s Western Region Director in June 2019, Tonisson is a 19-year veteran of the labor movement, having served as the Guild’s interim Executive Director since early May. He succeeded Chaim Kantor, who filled the role on an interim basis following the resignation last fall of national executive director Rebecca Rhine. (He now serves as DGA’s Western Executive Director.)

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Tonisson said in a statement released: “I am excited about this opportunity to continue the important work being done by ICG, including the crucial support the Guild provides during this industry-wide strike (Writers Guild) which has impacted so many of our members. During this critical time of technology-driven change in film and the arts, it is an honor for me to represent the best interests of our members who include some of the brightest, most creative and talented people in our industry.”

The most recent negotiation of IATSE’s basic agreement with AMPTP nearly led to a strike in 2021. ICG is the largest of 13 venues working under this agreement. IATSE will renegotiate that three-year contract in 2024.

ICG National President Baird B. Steptoe Sr. said in a statement, “After working extensively with Alex over the past four years on important member initiatives such as our member and delegate orientation programs at shop, I know he will do a great job as national executive director, and I look forward to continuing the union’s work with him.”

Described as a 19-year veteran of the labor movement, Tonisson was previously director of field services for the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, co-chair of the Golden Gate Bridge labor coalition, and was appointed city commissioner and San Francisco County Citizens Government Securities Oversight Committee. He served as a senior community policy organizer with the Service Employees International Union. According to Saturday’s announcement, in 2004, Tonisson helped pass the Mental Health Services Act as the Northern California camp organizer for California’s Proposition 63 campaign.