While many members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences are well-acquainted with the org’s myriad programming offerings every day that isn’t Oscar day, many others aren’t. And as for the general public. . .well, let’s just say there’s a hefty learning curve to be found there.
So the mission of first vice prexy Cheryl Boone Isaacs , Academy CEO Dawn Hudson , chief marketing officer Christina Kounelias and managing director of communications Jasmine Madatian is clear — get the message out.
“We have a lot of resources that are available to people, and we want them to know what they are,” says Kounelias, citing such resources as the Academy Film Archive and the Margaret Herrick Library. “We’re a very active membership organization, but you don’t have to be a member. We have a lot of public programs.”
Adds Madatian: “It’s about adapting our industry language to speak to consumers. We all talk about the movie business a certain way, and then there’s how we present information about the Academy to consumers so they know what we do year-round. So I think a lot of the messaging challenges lie there.”
Where this might all coalesce is the proposed Academy museum on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a project that is nearing the end of its initial, silent fundraising phase.
“For us to manifest that museum is all of our No. 1 priorities,” Hudson says. “It is the distillation of all the programs we’re talking about.”
In addition, as Boone Isaac notes, Academy members themselves can be a resource. “I am constantly sitting with my mouth open,” Boone says, “listening to these terrific men and women and what they know.”
If the task can seem massive at times, so is the commitment the foursome make. But they do so without reservation.
“I don’t mean this in a negative way: When aren’t you working, really?” Hudson asks. “I’m not a martyr to my work. It’s more like everything feeds into our lives in the film industry and continuing to build a world-class institution. … There’s no experience that doesn’t inform your work, and vice-versa. I really think those two things are very fluid: personal time and work time.”
Boone Isaacs: Theater of Hearts/Youth First
“An organization in Los Angeles that works in concert with LAUSD to nurture kids, especially from inner-city or disadvantaged areas to be able to express themselves creatively.” Boone Isaacs believes that improvement is needed in the relationship between the entertainment business and education in Los Angeles. “I don’t know of a company town that has more of a disconnect than this one,” she says.
Hudson: Project Involve
“It’s a mentorship program for young filmmakers, especially filmmakers from under-represented backgrounds, and I just see it being very effective.”
Kounelias: Canyon Charter Elementary
“It’s a wonderful community of parents, kids and teachers. I love that our efforts pay off in tangible results that directly benefit our kids.”
Madatian: Stop Cancer
“It was co-founded by Sherry Lansing, for whom I had the privilege of working at Paramount, and they really do make sure the money is well spent.”