HFPA supports many industry causes and orgs. Here’s a sampling of five that benefit from its generosity:
American Film Institute
“All the HFPA funds donated to the American Film Institute go to offset the cost of filmmaker’s tuition and expenses for studying at the conservatory,” says AFI senior VP Tom West. “We’re asking people to take two years out of their lives to work with master filmmakers and make movies. They’ll come out of our program with a minimum of four projects, three shorts and a thesis film.”
Students have to raise money to make their movies so every bit of financial help makes a big difference.
The Film Foundation
Restoring “The Red Shoes,” helmers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 classic took three years, cost a whopping $625,000 and enlisted an army of 35 specialists.
“It was one of most complicated restorations we’ve ever done. But it was also one of our greatest achievements,” says Jennifer Ahn, the Film Foundation’s managing director. “It was a digital restoration and took years to complete because the original camera negative had deteriorated so badly.”
Over the past 15 years, HFPA has given $3.3 million to the Film Foundation, assisting in the restoration of over 75 titles. This year’s $350,000 donation will be used to restore Italo helmer-scribe Elio Petri’s “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion” (1970), Powell and Pressburger’s “The Tales of Hoffman” (!951) and Laslo Benedek’s film version of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” (1951).
Los Angeles-based Film Independent encourages minority filmmakers through its free nine-month training and mentorships with such industry players as Spike Jonze, Alexander Payne and Rodrigo Garcia.
“Each year 30 to 40 African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans and Latinos sign up for the free programs for writers producers and directors,” says the org’s director of diversity, Michael Lopez.
Recent grads include filmmaker Javier Fuentes-Leon whose 2009 “Undertow” premiered at Sundance then went on to be Peru’s submission in the foreign-language film category at the Academy Awards.
Refugees in African camps love Looney Toons, “The Wizard of Oz” and Charlie Chaplin.
“We initially started just driving a truck into the camps and projecting films onto its side,” says FilmAid Intl.’s executive director, Liz Manne. Now the org offers filmmaking training programs in two refugee camps in Kenya, one bordering Somalia, and one bordering South Sudan.
“The current number is over 410,000 refugees in these camps,” explains Manne. “We run screening programs where we show some Hollywood fare and films of inspiration that offer hope, diversion and healing to people who are psychologically traumatized.
“Movies offer us a universal experience. Even if you’re a 5-year-old Somali refugee looking at Tweety Bird under stars, your experience is going to be the same as a kid in a mall theater in the Valley.”
Scoring jobs for disadvantaged kids with heavyweights James Cameron and Francis Ford Coppola are just a couple of the many success stories of Inner-City Filmmakers.
“Jon Turteltaub hired our kids for almost every film he’s made in the last five years,” says Inner-City founder Fred Heinrich. “What’s most notable is that not only did he give the kids a chance at entry level jobs but that they have risen up through the ranks, have become union members and are constantly employed.”
Created in 1993, the org offers free year-round hands-on training and job placement for urban kids with no financial wherewithal. To date the program boasts 493 alumni.
Cause & effect | HFPA’s showbiz gifts | Empathy artists