For the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the Golden Globes ceremony does double duty.
After the celebration, a portion of the money earned by the HFPA from licensing the event is used fund the organization’s substantial charitable outreach, which reached a record $1,579,500 in 2011.
While the HFPA gives grants to dozens of organizations whose missions range from film preservation and restoration to education and training in the arts, the group is keenly focused on giving a diverse new crop of young filmmakers the tools and the chance to make their own movies.
“Whether children are living in the inner city of Los Angeles or in Darfur, I believe that giving them a chance to tell their stories through making their own films makes them focus on something positive,” says HFPA member Paz Mata. “Once you put a camera in the hands of these kids, you give them the possibility to do something good for themselves and their community.”
This year, the HFPA gave grants to the Ghetto Film School, Inner-City Arts, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Foundation and FilmAid Intl., which conducts screenings and filmmaker training in Kenyan refugee camps.
Whether these students find themselves at the bargaining table for some kind of distribution deal or whether they’re ever nominated for a prestigious award isn’t the yardstick for success, according to HFPA chairman Philip Berk.
“If you’re giving a grant to UCLA or Ghetto Film School, you’re not necessarily going to be able to point to a nomination of some kind or a film that gets into theaters as a measure of success of what you did,” Berk says. “What you did do with the money is you gave someone the chance to get started in filmmaking and finish a project that can become the stepping stone for them into the industry.”
Mata even hopes to expand the HFPA’s outreach to include children in more countries that have been saddled with financial and political woes. She is searching for more organizations that help kids living in troubled locales through the arts.
“We’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t had to cut back our giving because of the success of the Golden Globes,” Mata says. “It’s really our purpose to use this money in a positive way.”
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