Academy Reveals Details of Membership Confab

Member questions to influence event's direction

Membership concerns will go a long way toward directing the path of the “Future of the Academy” gathering that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will hold simultaneously in three locations May 4.

Today, the org sends members its formal invitation for the event that was first revealed last week via a “Save the Date” email. Members have been asked to submit questions to the Academy by April 25.

“They will be able to ask questions at the event itself,” Academy prexy Hawk Koch told Variety, “but as you know, when you have 6,000 members and we’ve asked them to submit questions, we’d like to answer the ones that the majority of people are asking. If 50 people or 100 people ask a question, that’s the one we want to answer.”

The gathering won’t entirely be a Q&A — the org said to members in its invitation that it intends “to present the Academy’s plans and priorities for the future and update you on key initiatives,” with topics including the planned Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, e-voting, programming, new collections and new technology.

In other words, issues regarding the Oscars (such as rules for various Oscar categories or the nature of the kudofest itself) won’t dominate the conversation — unless the membership overwhelmingly calls for them to.

“We’re talking about the Academy’s future,” Koch said. “The Oscars are part of it, but we’re not looking back, we’re looking forward.  That’s the main thing. There are 364 days that we do so many other things.”

Koch predicted there would be significant interest in the museum, adding that there would be a conceptual model of the project, scheduled to open in 2016, on display.

In addition, the three-city event — taking place simultaneously at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Lighthouse Intl. in New York and Pixar Studios in Emeryville, Calif. — will be accompanied by a lunch on the East Coast and brunch in the West Coast, to foster interaction between members and Academy leadership.

“We’ve been talking about this at the board for a long time and in branches,” Koch said. “We want the members to feel more connected to the Academy and each other. I’ve been a member of Producers Guild and Directors Guild for many, many years, and they each have one of these kind of events. It’s a great time for members to talk to one another and then hear from the leadership.”

Koch said he will be joined by Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and COO Ric Robertson, as well as “a lot of our governors,” some of whom will be in the Bay Area and New York locations. The plan is for all three locations to be able to have open communication with each other, rather than one site talking and the other two listening passively.

Attendees must show their membership card and photo identification to enter. No guests are invited. RSVPs are due April 22.

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