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Hollywood goes to Washington

MPAA to tout biz's ability to provide jobs

WASHINGTON — The Motion Picture Assn. of America will amp up its Washington lobbying efforts on April 21 with an all-day symposium to “educate top national policy and lawmakers about the economic impact of the motion picture industry.”

The event, to be held at the Donald Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, mirrors a similar effort in 2007, which brought an array of studio execs and creative types to the nation’s capital to make the case for the industry’s contributions to the national economy. Will Smith delivered the keynote, and politicos such as Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) attended.

This year, the event will focus on the industry’s ability to provide middle- and working-class jobs. Such a message has been difficult to pitch to many lawmakers, as was evident recently during the debate over President Obama’s stimulus package. A tax provision in the spending package was dropped after Republican lawmakers attacked it as a giveaway to well-heeled Hollywood producers, already reaping the benefit from robust box office.

MPAA chairman Dan Glickman said in a statement: “This year’s event will focus squarely on the hard work behind motion pictures. We will highlight the jobs created, and the workers who fill those roles, throughout the day.”

On the bill so far for the event are Jim Gianopulos, chairman-CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment; Brad Grey, chairman-CEO of Paramount; Michael Lynton, chairman-CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, along with vice chairman Jeff Blake; Ron Meyer, president-chief operating officer of Universal Studios, along with vice chair Rick Finkelstein; Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios; and Barry Meyer, chairman-CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

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