Cineplex Odeon is taking part in Operation Shoebox, organized by Marilyn Smilay and other Long Island women to send shoeboxes of goodies to U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf. Cineplex is supplying popcorn to be used as edible packing material. Meanwhile, the public has been requested to donate such items as chess and checker boards, toiletries, insect repellent, sunblock, candy, stamps and stationery.

Gotham exhib Ralph Donnelly has been named president of Variety – The Children’s Charity of New York. Donnelly’s circuit, City Cinemas, opens its new Village East Cinemas complex at Second Avenue and 12th Street on Feb. 22. Five screens will debut that day, including the biggest auditorium, a 500-seater to house Paul Mazursky’s “Scenes From A Mall.” Two additional screens will bow later. An arrangement with Intl. Film Exchange to spotlight Eastern European films at one of the seven salles has fallen through.

W.k. animator Chuck Jones will gueststar at the first annual Floating Film Festival, aboard the MS Westerdam. The Holland- America ocean liner sails Feb. 2 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and docks in Puerto Rico, Tortola, St. Thomas and Nassau before returning to Florida Feb. 9. Jones joins a program saluting character actor Lou Jacobi and screenings of “The Silence Of The Lambs” and “Larks On A String.”

The USA-USSR Screenwriters Festival will take place Feb. 4 to 8 at Mark Goodson Theater in Columbus Circle with showings of the films “Theme,” “The Sinner” and “The Story Of Assya Kliachina Who Fell In Love But Never Married.” Among the writers attending are Jay Presson Allen, Walter Bernstein, William Goldman, Horton Foote and Alexander Chervinsky.

Collective for Living Cinema presents two “pseudodocumentaries” Feb. 8 to 14: Craig Baldwin’s “Tribulation 99″ and Eric Saks’ “Forevermore: Biography Of A Leach Lord.” The two political films combine factual material with a personal-essay approach. The Assn. of Independent Video & Filmmakers is looking for an executive director as the organization’s primary spokesman. Job entails working with the AIVF board and overall responsibility for fundraising, financial management, publications, hiring and staff supervision. Lawrence Sapadin is current exec director.

Filmmakers Bruce Baillie, Charles Burnett and Trinh T. Min-ha are this year’s recipients of the American Film Institute Maya Deren Awards for independent film and video artists. Awards, which include a $5,000 honorarium, will be presented Jan. 31 at the Angelika Film Center.

Director-screenwriterJohnMilius and helmer William Friedkin are the latest directors signed by Paramount Images to direct tv commercials exclusively for the commercial production unit of Paramount Pictures. Milius’ latest film is “Flight Of The Intruder;” he has not made commercials previously. Friedkin, director of “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist,” began his career helming live commercials in Chicago.

Garry Marshall and his wife, Barbara, have contributed $100,000 to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ endowment campaign for its new Center for Motion Picture Study. Academy prez Karl Malden said that in recognition of the gift, the Film Research and Preservation Workshop of the Academy Film Archive will be named in honor of the Marshalls.

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