Executives and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences gathered with their new neighbors Wednesday in Hollywood at the former Don Lee-Mutual Broadcasting TV Studios, on Vine Street at Fountain, to toast the future home of the Acad’s Film Archive.
The 118,000-square-foot building will house the Academy Players Directory, a 300-seat screening room, and storage space for collections from the Margaret Herrick Library.
“Hollywood is a symbol of the movies and we are happy to be back,” Academy prexy Robert Rehme said. “We began in Hollywood 73 years ago, and are looking forward to being a major presence once again, starting with the Oscars next March at the Kodak Theater. Shortly after, we’ll reopen this building.
“I take it as a good omen that we are located near a Pic N Save store, considering that is what we do,” he joked. “We pick, save, preserve and restore.”
When the Herrick Library — located within the Center for Motion Picture Study — was built in 1991, it was anticipated it would have room to spare. However, quarters have become cramped due to the collection’s rapid expansion, to more than 45,000 items at last count.
“Herrick was supposed to last us until the middle of this century; it turns out we could hardly make it out of the old one,” Acad executive director Bruce Davis said.
“Moving the Players Directory from that building to Hollywood will not only free up some space, but puts the Players Directory in a location more central and convenient to the industry and clientele they serve,” he added.
The Academy Players Directory also has been plagued by parking restrictions at the Acad’s Wilshire offices, making it difficult for actors to get to the Directory’s offices.
The screening room will be used to evaluate films upon which preservation and restoration work is being done, and by viewing committees that select nominees in special awards categories during Academy Awards season.
Renovation will begin immediately and is expected to be completed in about a year. Among improvements to be made is strengthening of the roof and installation of fire sprinklers throughout the facility, to meet long-term archival standards. Remodeling will be designed and supervised by Fran Offenhauser, who designed the Center for Motion Picture Study.