In September 2011, the Iranian government arrested six independent filmmakers for allegedly working with the BBC, on charges including espionage and treason. Along with the ongoing house arrest of director Jafar Panahi and the prior arrest of actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who was later sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes, the arrests sparked outrage from filmmaking communities within Iran and around the world. Prior to the release of two of the filmmakers, all six were denied access to their lawyers and families, who were forced to remain silent.
The following entertainment industry organizations stand united in their support for the rights of these artists and call for their immediate release.
Statement from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
As an international organization representing over 6000 artists in 35 countries, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is deeply concerned whenever and wherever the rights of filmmakers are threatened. The recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers, the sentence of “one year in jail and 90 lashes” to an actress just for playing a role in an acclaimed film, and the continued house arrest of Jafar Panahi, among others, is a situation that demands our serious attention. These filmmakers – and others – are artists, not political combatants. We join our colleagues around the world in calling unequivocally for these filmmakers’ safety, release, and return to filmmaking. They deserve the same, full freedom of expression that the overwhelming majority of our members enjoy every day, no matter where they are from, no matter where they work, no matter what their beliefs.
The American Cinema Editors is an organization of more than 500 professional film editors in the United States and around the globe. We join with the other members of the filmmaking community in expressing our deep concern whenever and wherever the basic human rights of free expression are threatened.
As storytellers, we feel that the arrest of fellow artists for expressing their beliefs, revealing truths and pursuing creative freedom, no matter how controversial, is a story that should no longer have to be told in the 21st century.
Statement from the Board of Governors of the American Society of Cinematographers
The American Society of Cinematographers is an organization of more than 300 professional directors of photography in the United States and throughout the world. We foster the collaboration of cinematographers and the creative exchange of ideas and issues of mutual concern to our members and to the global filmmaking community. We are deeply concerned whenever and wherever the rights of filmmakers are threatened. We share these concerns with our fellow guilds and film organizations: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), The Directors Guild of America (DGA), The Producers Guild of America (PGA), The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), The Writers Guilds of America East and West (WGA), the American Cinema Editors (ACE) and the International Documentary Association (IDA). We are deeply concerned regarding the recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers. The sentence of “one year in jail and 90 lashes” to an actress just for playing a role in an acclaimed film, and the continued house arrest of Jafar Panahi, among others, is a situation that demands our serious attention. These filmmakers – and others – are artists, not political combatants. We join our colleagues and cinematographers around the world in calling unequivocally for these Iranian filmmakers’ safety, release, and return to filmmaking. They deserve the same, full freedom of expression that the overwhelming majority of our members enjoy every day, no matter where they are from, no matter where they work, no matter what their beliefs.
Statement from the Directors Guild of America
The Directors Guild of America joins our colleagues and fellow artists around the world in condemning the baseless and cruel imprisonment or detainment of filmmakers by the Iranian government.
We first raised this issue last year immediately after the sentencing of prominent Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. We are extremely concerned that not only does Panahi remain under arrest, but the Iranian government continues to detain filmmakers and other artists without cause.
As an organization representing 14,500 directors and members of the directorial team who live and work all over the world, it is our belief that for a society to flourish, artists must have the freedom to live and work without fear of imprisonment, retribution or censorship. Creative freedom is an essential building block of liberty, culture, civil and human rights, and we join the world community in opposing any attempt to suppress the rights of artists to engage in creative expression. We hope the Iranian government will release these filmmakers and recognize that their creative works can only strengthen and enrich Iranian society.
Statement from the International Documentary Association
The International Documentary Association believes that the power and artistry of film is vital to cultures and societies globally, and we fiercely defend the rights of filmmakers and artists everywhere to practice their art and to seek and reveal truth in their work, however provocative that truth may be. We strenuously uphold the principles of free speech and freedom from censorship. The expression of truth should never be silenced by the exercise of power by a State or system of authority that may feel threatened by the content of the artistic or journalistic work–both essential elements of democracy. Together with our entire international community of documentary filmmakers, The International Documentary Association calls for the release and fair treatment of Iranian filmmakers, artists, and actors. These artists, and other filmmakers, actors and journalists like them, must be immediately released and allowed to continue their artistic and journalistic work without restriction or penalty. We stand united with them, as do artists across the globe. And we will continue to fight for their fundamental human right of self-expression.
Statement from the Producers Guild of America
As supporters of creative freedom, the Producers Guild of America, on behalf of its more than 4,800 members, wishes to express its profound dismay over the treatment of producer Katayoun Shahabi, directors Jafar Panahi, Naser Saffarian, Hadi Afarideh, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Shahnam Bazdar, and journalist and documentarian Mohsen Shahrnazdar at the hands of their Iranian government. The silencing of these voices and others via arrest, coercion and political pressure is unacceptable, and we stand steadfast with our colleagues within the industry and around the world in calling for their release. We look forward to the day when these storytellers are permitted to resume their callings, and hope that even in their captivity, these artists know that they have the sympathy, respect and support of our creative community.
Statement from Screen Actors Guild
Iran has a strong tradition of artistic expression reaching back thousands of years. That tradition is under attack in a contemporary Iran that has seemingly turned against its own artists. Screen Actors Guild deeply deplores the persecution of actor Marzieh Vafamehr and the filmmakers and other entertainment and media industry representatives now under attack in Iran. We add our voices to the thousands of artists worldwide calling on the Iranian government to immediately free Marzieh and the other artists and filmmakers imprisoned because of their artistic and cultural endeavors. We urge Iran to refrain from stifling the artistic expression of its citizens and to let their unique and valuable voices be heard once again.
Statement from the Writers Guilds of America, West and East
The Writers Guilds of America West and East add their voices to the calls for the release of writer/director Jafar Panahi, now under house arrest, and all other members of Iran’s creative community unjustly imprisoned or detained.
The art of Iran is one of the great treasures of humankind. Its cinema has a long and vibrant history–and in recent years, the Iranian cinema has been one of the very brightest lights illuminating the art form for the rest of the world. Its filmmakers represent the richness of Iranian culture and the extraordinary imagination of the Iranian people. All of us are poorer when their voices are stilled.
We urge the government of Iran to remember that these are artists, not political enemies, that they have, as all free people do, the right to hold and express opinions. And we urge the government of Iran to remember that their work is the most powerful ambassador of understanding between the people of Iran and the people of the world.
Nothing is more dangerous to a society than the silencing of art. Therefore, we ask the government of Iran to release its filmmakers and to allow them to live and to work freely, as they have previously done in their country and as most of their fellow artists do in the rest of the world.
Below is a composite Q&A that’s the truth your Hollywood Guild leaders are saying in private and not telling you to your faces at a time when nearly all writers, actors, and directors are hanging by their fingernails to maintain their livelihoods under the studio and network rollbacks. Today the WGA membership voted to ratify their new TV/Theatrical Contract reached last month with the AMPTP. I was shocked and appalled by the lack of public dissemination of info by the Guild to its members during the process. But this kind of secrecy has marked all of the Hollywood Guilds dealings with its memberships on these contract negotiations and ratification votes. That’s to cover up the fact that neither SAG nor the DGA nor the WGA bothered to bargain hard for pay increases or barely at all for New Media increases despite promises to that effect during the last contract go-rounds.
I emailed and spoke at length with several members of the WGA negotiating team and board of directors to be able to collect the following behind-the-scenes information (see composite Q&A below). What I learned goes way beyond the ratification ballot statement from negotiating committee co-chairs John Bowman and Billy Ray explaining why the talks had been completed in little more than two weeks blaming “an economy still recovering from a deep recession; an economic pattern set in negotiations with other unions; and the willingness of the Companies to address the Guild’s most pressing economic need, regarding the solvency of the pension plan.” Or the cover letter from WGA West president John Wells and WGA East president Michael Winship that said, “We highly endorse ratification of this contract” and noted the unanimous recommendation of the negotiating committee, WGA West Board and WGA East Council.
Really? REALLY? Then why did one of the above WGA leaders email me to agree when I crapped all over this lousiest of lousy WGA deals with the AMPTP when it was announced a month ago: “Off the record, your analysis of this deal is spot on.”
Who else agreed with me? Stephen Diamond, the Santa Clara University Law professor and one-time candidate for SAG’s executive director, who called the deal a “clean sweep for big Hollywood studios as WGA negotiations end” and “the final domino in this year’s Hollywood collective bargaining round”.
My analysis included calling this the worst deal writers had ever been handed. Saying the Writers Guild leadership clearly decided it had no leverage after the Actors and Directors Guilds threw them under the bus by accepting bad contracts and even the WGA membership gave them no hand by overwhelmingly (and understandably) opposing any mention of a strike. Noting that the Big Media companies finding their financial footing again after the depths of the economic crisis. Stressing that New Media increases have gone the way of the VCR and the DVD: what was negotiated first is what you’re stuck with now and seemingly forever if the AMPTP continues to have its way. Laughing at the flimsy new meetings on sweepstakes pitching and one-step deals, and “contract provisions [which] have been added that require each studio to send to its creative executives a bulletin stating clearly that spec writing is not to be condoned” as if this will stop these hated but institutionalized practices. It’s such a WGA betrayal after guild leadership and Hollywood agencies pledged to work together to stop the studios’ blatant exploitation of movie scribes.
I had long predicted Hollywood could most likely expect quick and easy negotiations this time around. So let’s see… SAG/AFTRA spent just 6 weeks of jointly negotiating with the studios and networks on a new 3-year TV/Theatrical contract. The DGA took just 3 weeks and change. And the WGA could have bargained right up until its May 1st when its current contract ends but didn’t. The moguls behind the AMPTP always intended to negotiate with the writers last (even though their pact was expiring sooner) to ensure there would be the most Hollywood pressure (synonymous with antagonism) towards them if they negotiated too hard. Although SAG/AFTRA and the DGA traded information during their talks, they left the WGA out in the cold.
The whole point of this lead-in to contract negotiations for for all the Hollywood Guilds to better coordinate bargaining in order to present a united front to the AMPTP. Promises were made to “next time” secure better wages, benefits, working conditions. Even the AMPTP pledged it would reopen bargaining over those paltry New Media revenues. True, no one wanted another strike. But was the only alternative for the WGA to wimp out like the other Guilds? So now all the Hollywood Guilds rubber-stamped what crumbs the AMPTP offered despite this rapidly improving economy. The DGA was first to make it plain early on that they weren’t going for big wages (just a 2% increase) or even a better New Media deal. Instead the DGA negotiators were focusing on increased Health Plan and Pension contributions. Same with SAG/AFTRA. The WGA also focused on the pension plan. But all the writers I know in the guild who aren’t yet or once were big names are most concerned about losing their health insurance. Nothing for them.
I’d been pressing the Writers Guild with questions to respond to my analysis that WGA negotiators caved to the studios and networks. I’ve now collected their off-the-record answers (with the proviso that the responders not be identified) and put it into a Q&A format. If you read this and realize how much you and your fellow Hollywood Guild members got played, then hasn’t the time come to throw out all the current bums and install new union leadership?
Here’s the composite Q&A:
DEADLINE: I’m shocked at how bad this deal is. Can you give me insight into what happened?
WGA NEGOTIATIONS INSIDERS: You have it right in your post. The companies singled out the weakest of the Guilds — SAG/AFTRA — to negotiate with first – and for whatever reason, the actors Guilds went along with it. The actors’ health and pension funds were (and are) in dire shape, with significant possible unfunded legal and accounting liabilities for the companies. So the companies put a lot of money on the table to try and shore some of this up (and limit their own liability). The AMPTP then refused to make any movement on anything else of consequence – and the actors accepted the deal. We’ve all know that the actor guilds were in “cave to merge” mode, and that’s exactly what happened. The AMPTP is smart: they forced them to sign an early negotiation clause 18 months ago to close out their last contract and then jammed them.
We don’t want to be too critical here of the actor unions, they’re in very bad shape, SAG in particular. SAG has to merge or they will cease to exist – and soon. They’re certainly in grave danger of no longer being able to provide even the most basic health benefits for all but the most successful of their members. They’ve been raising eligibility and co-pay requirements at a shocking rate that makes it difficult for many of their members to even qualify. Thousands of actors who used to routinely qualify for health benefits that allowed them to pursue the craft can no longer provide security for their families. And both actors unions were very close to being unable to meet their pension obligations and entering the “red” zone. The zone system for evaluating pension plans was enacted during the Bush administration as part of the PPA (Pension Protection Act.) Entering the red zone would have been catastrophic for all actors – and would have allowed the companies to enact draconian measures that could have significantly reduced pensions for actors long retired and dependent on these earned benefits. All that said, they made a crappy deal on everything other than pensions and health and left the other two creative guilds hanging out to dry.
Then came the DGA. Coming in early as they have so often done (jumping in front of our earlier contract date again). They also have problems in their health plan. They took an equivalent amount to the money SAG/AFTRA had gotten, and put it in their health plan. Made some very minor steps in basic cable that we think are counterproductive for writers (increases on very high budget minimums – that only one or two shows will hit, if ever). And called it a day.
Then, and only then, was the AMPTP prepared to have even preliminary conversations with us. Candidly, we were concerned (the leadership and staff) that they were planning to push us into a “take it or leave it” pattern offer right up against our contract expiration date. We felt we could maneuver them into giving us a bit more than the pattern if we could force them into an earlier deadline. We were worried they were going to jam us with rollbacks at the last minute, and if they did, we’d have no time to go back to our members and properly organize to get enough of head of steam going to push the rollbacks off the table.
This was all predicated on what you intimated in your post – our members were not in the mood for a strike unless the companies put significant rollbacks on the table. How did we know this? We asked them. Extensive polling, set visits to TV writer’s rooms and we held membership meetings. The response was overwhelming – “we’re only just beginning to recover financially from the strike and the massive recession” “please, please, please, don’t strike…” So we wanted to go in and see if the companies would be foolish enough to put large rollbacks on the table that we could use to galvanize the membership. They didn’t. Lots of petty crap that we had to get rid of, but nothing to convince the membership to take another strike vote only 3 years after the last.
On top of all of this, our pension fund was (is) in trouble. The stock market hit of 2007-2008 shaved hundreds of millions of dollars off our plan. While not in the same shape as the actors’ funds or the DGA health plan, we were in danger of moving from the good “green” status into the “yellow” danger status – and then into “red” status sometime in 2014 to 2015. The PPA danger to future and present retirees was and is real. The AMPTP knew this because half of the trustees are management trustees and have the same actuarial info we do. We knew we needed the money (1.5% increases in contributions) that the other guilds had gotten to shore up our pension fund, but wanted to try and get something else to go with it. The companies are a little frightened of us – and we tried to jam them to get the pension money we needed and some more in basic and pay. We got a little bit, but not much. And that’s why you didn’t read any self-congratulatory crap in our letter to the membership like you saw from the other Guilds. We did what we could under difficult circumstances. We’re disappointed we couldn’t do more. Relieved we’ve shored up the pension plan and protected our retirees and future retirees.
DEADLINE: What was your biggest obstacle to getting a better deal than this one?
WGA NEGOTIATIONS INSIDERS: We had no credible strike threat, not even vaguely; and we had no effective alliance with either SAG/AFTRA or the DGA. Hence: no leverage. Regardless of contract expiration dates, the AMPTP negotiates first where it can get the best deal, then tries to impose the pattern on everyone else. In the absence of leverage, there’s little that can be done once the first deal is set.
DEADLINE: Is there any good news from what you did get?
WGA NEGOTIATIONS INSIDERS: This deal will cost out to approximately $60M across the life of the contract, as opposed to $40M or thereabouts in the previous negotiations.
TENTATIVE WGA-AMPTP CONTRACT: Writers Guild Negotiators Cave To Studios & Networks After Only 2 Weeks; Critics Say “They Accepted Producers’ First Draft”
Email and phone messages already are pouring in about what they’re criticizing as this disaster of a tentative agreement (see WGA West notice to members below). It was reached at 3:30 PM today by the Writers Guild of America negotiators with the Alliance of Motion Picture And Television Producers. It took little more than 2 weeks of bargaining – and no wonder. What a joke. And it comes at a time when nearly all writers are wringing their hands and hanging by their fingernails to maintain their livelihoods under the studio and network cutbacks.
WGA West President John Wells, who is first and foremost a TV producer and patsy for Warner Bros boss and anti-guild hardliner Barry Meyer, looked after his own interests first. He kept his Southland budget down at TNT while also getting a hefty 20% bump for his Shameless writers at Showtime. ”He took care of pay cable while allowing basic cable to make no gains, despite it being the most important area as far as growth. It’s like they accepted the producers first draft,” a source just told me.
Several veteran writers are calling this the worst deal they’ve ever been handed. Clearly, the Writers Guild leadership decided it had no leverage after the Actors and Directors Guilds threw them under the bus by accepting bad contracts and even the WGA membership gave them no hand by overwhelmingly (and understandably) opposing any mention of a strike. Nor did it help that the stock market has been tanking these past two weeks despite all the Big Media companies finding their financial footing again after the depths of the economic crisis.
Here’s more reaction: “Katherine Fugate is congratulating herself on Facebook and calling the committee heroes, but they’re zeroes.”
Also, screenwriters messaging me don’t expect the WGA to protect their interests now any more than the guild has before given the flimsy new meetings on such hated topics as sweepstakes pitching and one-step deals. And who in their right mind believes ”contract provisions [which] have been added that require each studio to send to its creative executives a bulletin stating clearly that spec writing is not to be condoned” can stop this institutionalized practice. It’s all such a WGA betrayal of screenwriters after the guild leadership went around to Hollywood agencies and pledged to work together to stop the studios’ blatant exploitation of movie scribes.
As for New Media increases, they’ve gone the way of the VCR and the DVD: what was negotiated first is what you’re stuck with now and seemingly forever if the AMPTP continues to have its way.
I had predicted Hollywood could most likely expect quick and easy negotiations. So let’s see… SAG/AFTRA spent just 6 weeks of jointly negotiating with the studios and networks on a new 3-year TV/Theatrical contract. The DGA took just three weeks and change. And the WGA could have bargained right up until its May 1st when its current contract ends. Well, why not speed talks along when your Hollywood Guilds are just rubber-stamping what crumbs the AMPTP are offering despite this rapidly improving economy. The DGA was first to make it plain early on that they weren’t going for big wages (just a 2% increase) or even a better New Media deal. Instead the DGA negotiators were focusing on increased Health Plan and Pension contributions. Same with SAG/AFTRA. Now the WGA focused on the pension plan. But all the writers I know in the guold who aren’t yet or once were big names are most concerned about losing their health insurance. There’s no mention of that today.
Hey, wait a minute: didn’t all three guilds promising that they’d do things different and join together and fight, fight, fight for substantially more this contract go-round and their rightful share of the money pie if only members elected more “moderate” leadership than the militants of yore?
Talk about empty promises.
The moguls behind the AMPTP always intended to negotiate with the writers last (even though their pact was expiring sooner) to ensure there would be the most Hollywood pressure (synonymous with antagonism) towards them if they negotiated too hard. Although SAG/AFTRA and the DGA traded information during their talks, they left the WGA out in the cold. True, no one wanted another strike. But was the only alternative for the WGA to wimp out like the other Guilds?
Here’s the WGA West email that went out:
Dear WGAW Member,
We are pleased to inform you that our negotiators have concluded a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Talks began on March 3 and ended today at 3:30 p.m. The three-year deal features significant gains in contributions to our pension fund, improves payments in Pay TV residuals, increases our minimums, and takes steps to address important workplace issues for screen and television writers. Your Negotiating Committee will meet tomorrow to officially vote on sending the tentative agreement to the WGAW Board of Directors and WGAE Council for approval prior to member ratification.
Highlights of the tentative agreement include:
WGAW Board Members Chip Johannessen and Patric Verrone have issued a strongly worded message of support the Comcast writers wanting WGA representation:
To Our Fellow Members,
Members of the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East have given their overwhelming approval to the Pattern of Demands for the 2011 Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and major television networks.
A total of
LOS ANGELES – Screenwriters Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth have been named recipients of the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2011 Paul Selvin Award for their screenplay for Fair Game. The award recognizes written work which embodies the spirit of constitutional rights and civil liberties. The Butterworth brothers, along
UPDATE: Insiders are telling me that, contrary to this WGAE announcement (below), the WGA has not won this election — yet. One of my sources says, “Both sides are a long way from being in a position to legitimately claim a victory. A number of votes have …
UPDATE: The WGA continues to line up its award recipients. On Monday, the guild said that Amarcord screenwriter Tonino Guerra would receive the Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement, an international honor. The 90-year-old writer won’t be attending the event, held February 5 at the Renaissance Hollywood. Last week, the WGA announced it would be honoring Diane English and Steve Zaillian. Releases below:
Los Angeles — Iconic Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra has been named the recipient of the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2011 Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement, given to an international writer who has advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of screenwriter. Along with other Guild honorees, Guerra will be feted at the 2011 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Saturday, February 5, 2011, in Hollywood.
In creative collaboration with some of the most prominent directors in world cinema, including Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Andrey Tarkovsky, Francesco Rosi, and Theodoros Angelopoulos, prolific screenwriter, author, poet, and artist Guerra has penned over 100 screenplays during a career spanning six decades.
“Tonino Guerra is by any standard one of the great writers of our times. His medium is the screenplay. He has written or co-written more than a hundred films, among them L’avventura, La notte, L’eclisse, Red Desert, Blow-Up, and Zabriskie Point for Antonioni; Amarcord for Fellini; Nostalghia for Tarkovsky; Landscapes in the Mist for Angelopoulos; and Exquisite Corpses for Rosi. Guerra’s work is the brave and moral thread that runs through the fabric of modernist cinema. He is a breathtaking poet, a generous collaborator, and is possessed of the largest heart. We are fortunate to have him among us and thrilled to honor his astonishing – and astonishingly influential – body of work,” said WGAW Board of Directors member Howard A. Rodman.
Here’s the official WGA obituary and an AMPTP statement:
UPDATE: Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers President Carol Lombardini made the following statement today on the passing of Del Reisman: “Del was a wonderful man – very warm and personable and a delight to be around because he was interested in everything and everyone. Besides that, he was a talented writer and a strong advocate for his fellow writers. Del is someone we will all miss.”
Los Angeles – Veteran television writer and former Writers Guild of America, West President Del Reisman died on Saturday, January 8, in Toluca Lake of cardiac arrest after a brief illness. He was 86.
Born on April 13, 1924, and a WGAW member since 1965, Reisman was that rare combination of talented writer, true gentleman, and ever-active Guild member. Over the past five decades, Reisman remained a constant and vital presence at both WGAW’s L.A. headquarters and at Guild member and industry events, influencing, impacting, and interacting with countless writers-members through his years of creative work, thoughtful instruction, and tireless service.
Reisman served as WGAW president from 1991-93, as well as the Guild’s vice president from 1987-91, and a member of the WGAW Board of Directors from 1979-87. He also chaired three consecutive WGA Negotiating Committees during the Guild’s rounds of contract negotiations over the years.
Over the years, Reisman also served as chairman or member of over 20 WGAW Committees, including participating on TV Credits, Basic Cable, Strike Study, Outreach, Professional Status of Writers, Blacklist Credits, and President’s Task Force on Communication. He was also a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of the Writers Guild Foundation from 1994-2005 and 2007 to the present. For his longtime Guild service, Reisman was awarded the WGAW’s Morgan Cox Award in 1999, given to those Guild members “whose vital ideas, continuing efforts, and personal sacrifice best exemplify the ideal of service to the Guild.”
“Del was a wonderful man, a staunch defender of writers, and a tremendous friend whose many years of selfless service to the Guild have improved working lives for thousands of writers and their families. He will be missed,” said WGAW President John Wells.
Deadline doesn’t cover the videogame industry, but since it’s the WGA giving out the nominations as part of its guild awards, here goes:
Los Angeles and New York – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced nominations for outstanding achievement
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet, co-stars of the ABC comedy Modern Family, will co-host the 2011 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel-Grand Ballroom. Modern Family is tied with Breaking Bad and 30 Rock for most WGA nominations, 3. …