×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cause and effect

HFPA continues quest to support arts

When she was just 16 years old, Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly was Egypt’s youngest female pilot. Today, she is the newly appointed president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

A HFPA member since 1956, Takla-O’Reilly has great hopes for the non-profit and its impressive 17-year history of philanthropy.

Through its annual grants program, HFPA has given, as of last year, more than $12 million to entertainment related orgs across the spectrum. The nonprofit has been a generous donor to causes ranging from preserving the culture and history of film to professional mentoring to promoting cultural exchange.

This year’s record-breaking tally is $1,579,500. The Film Foundation is the largest single beneficiary at $350,000, followed by the Sundance Institute’s grant of $100,000.

One of the causes dearest to Takla-O’Reilly: financial assistance to talented but underprivileged students. This year, HFPA will give a total of $120,000 to six grantees in such pre-professional training orgs as Inner-City Filmmakers, the Ghetto Film School and Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Foundation.

“We want to encourage anything that has to do with public schools, the arts and talented youth,” says Takla-O’Reilly. “We’ve got to encourage talent. We have to put wind under the wings of these students so that they can excel.”

Due to massive and prolonged government cuts, public schools are struggling to fund arts programs of any kind at every grade level.

“Public schools are suffering because, unfortunately, for years the country was not paying attention to the liberal arts. We’ve got to support what the government has not supported for a long time,” the HFPA topper says.

Ali Sar is the org’s newly appointed treasurer. “HFPA stands out in terms of contributing to the community,” says Sar, who is the org’s former chairman of the board. “We have, for the last few years, (raised) going up in excess of $1.5 million each year.

“The people who started the foundation had the foresight to give, not only to inner-city schools but also to major schools like UCLA.”

Newly elected VP and five-time prexy Jorge Camara concurs. “They all really need and appreciate our help. My desire would be to be even more generous to them.”

The HFPA is better known for its largesse to the cause of saving deteriorating films. It was during Camara’s tenure that the Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger 1948 classic “The Red Shoes” was restored.

“I love the idea that we contribute to film preservation and film restoration but I am really proudest of the grants that we give to young people to help them with their studies and scholarships,” Camara says. “That is my personal pet.”

Serge Rakhlin, HFPA’s recently elected executive secretary, would like to see an increase in grant amounts.

“It is very important for us, from an emotional and creative point of view, that we give much more money to promote young talent,” he says.

Looking toward the future, Rakhlin says “I deeply care about us being up-to-date for the digital era. This is one of my top priorities: for us not to miss the train on this new era of digital community.”

A former employee of Voice of America’s Russian service, the secretary says, “When and if we have a foreign language part of our website, then I volunteer to participate in promoting HFPA in foreign languages — to make people know why our decisions are interesting to film lovers all over the world.”

Another source of pride for Rakhlin is his role on the foreign film committee. “Unlike the Academy we have no limits for foreign film submissions,” he says. “It is very important for me that no significant foreign film goes unnoticed.”

Another of Takla-O’Reilly’s passions is the promotion of cultural exchange through film. Such programs include the efforts of FilmAid Intl., Latin American Cinemateca and American Cinematheque.

“I thought about minority images in film. I want to bring awareness to how sometimes information is tilted and affects the different minorities,” she explains. “It is very important for me to heighten the awareness of the importance of different cultures and how to look at different cultures. Not judge them — understand them. This is very dear to my heart.”

SHOWBIZ PHILANTHROPY LEADER REPORT 2011:
Cause & effect | HFPA’s showbiz gifts | Empathy artists

More Biz

  • NF_D_JGN-D14-5180.raf

    The Sexist Metal Scene in 'The Dirt' Is Painfully Accurate, Say Veteran Female Execs

    The fallout from Friday’s premiere of Netflix’s few-holds-barred Motley Crue biopic, “The Dirt,” began even before the film, which focuses on the quartet’s ‘80s-‘90s decade of decadence, was released. The group’s ill treatment of many women in their orbit is a matter of public record, and is depicted both seriously and unsettlingly light-heartedly in the [...]

  • univision-dish blackout

    Univision, Dish Network Reach Carriage Deal After Nine-Month Blackout

    Univision and satcaster Dish Network have reached a carriage agreement after a nine-month blackout that marked one of the longest standoffs between a major programmer and distributor. Univision channels went dark on Dish Network’s satellite and streaming platforms on June 30. The sides were at odds over carriage fees that have become increasingly contentious for [...]

  • BMG Posts Strong Earnings for 2018

    BMG Posts Strong Earnings for 2018

    BMG announced solid earnings for 2018 — its tenth year since the “new” BMG opened for business after its previous incarnation merged with Sony Music — as part of parent company Bertlesmann’s results Tuesday. According to the announcement, despite “negative exchange rate effects,” BMG’s revenues increased by 7.5 percent to €545 million (around $644 million), [...]

  • Rahm Emanuel

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Calls Jussie Smollett Deal a 'Whitewash of Justice'

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel blasted the decision by Cook County prosecutors to drop charges Tuesday against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. Flanked by Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Kevin Graham, the president of the Chicago police union, the mayor said the decision sends a message that high-profile people will not be held accountable for their [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Shares Spike on DirecTV Deal, Renewed CBS Merger Chatter

    Viacom shares soared 10% on Tuesday after the company reaffirmed financial guidance for its media networks wing on the heels of sealing a hard-fought carriage renewal agreement with AT&T’s DirecTV. The stock gain underscored the importance of maintaining its presence on DirecTV and other AT&T channel bundles. Viacom on Tuesday reaffirmed its guidance of affiliate [...]

  • Grammy Awards60th Annual Grammy Awards, Press

    Grammy Eligibility Year to Close One Month Early for 2020 Awards

    The eligibility year for the 2020 Grammy Awards will close on Aug. 31, one month earlier than usual, the Recording Academy announced today in a letter to members. The change is due to next year’s telecast taking place on Jan. 26, around two weeks earlier than usual (although the 2018 awards took place on Jan. [...]

  • Electronic Arts Logo

    EA Laying Off 350 People, About 4% of Staff

    Electronic Arts is laying off about 350 of its 9,000-person staff, CEO Andrew Wilson announced in a blog post on its website Tuesday. In the brief, open letter, Wilson noted that the move was made to “address our challenges and prepare for the opportunities ahead,” and to “better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content