Filmmakers FOCUS on kids

LOS ANGELES — Indie filmmakers Cheryl DuBois and Tom Allen have found a way to combine their philanthropic and educational interests in a new type of charitable organization.

Dubbed the FOCUS Institute (Film Offering Children and the Underprivileged Success), the org will produce feature films — to be distributed by sponsoring studios — using donated funds, equipment and services. The profits from the films will go to children’s charity Variety Club of Southern California.

In January 1998 the FOCUS Institute plans to initiate a series of four workshops — a screenwriters forum, an actor/director rehearsal, a 35mm shoot and a post-production workshop — designed to develop screenplays from a national submission call to be held in early June. The institute’s board of directors (DuBois, Allen, attorney Mark Litwak and CPA Phillip Kass), along with the faculty, sponsoring studio and distributor, will then select one film “of a socially redeeming nature” to produce and release.

“It’s a beautifully integrated concept which will stimulate a new wave of cinematic talent while (supporting) needy children,” Allen said.

Though its first sponsoring studio has not yet been selected, the institute’s board of advisors already includes such notables as Diane Ladd, Barry Primus, Seymour Cassel, Janusz Kaminski, Bob Harvey, Susan Strasberg, Stewart Stern, Buck Henry, Whit Stillman, Annamaria Szanto, Cathy Henderson and Dori Zucherman.

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