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HFPA President Theo Kingma Talks Grand Plan to Get Back to Journalism Basics

New toppers Lorenzo Soria and Theo Kingma amp up main mission

After years of watching their organization become increasingly enmeshed in much-publicized court battles and less-discussed but fairly persistent internal hiccups, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s new president Theo Kingma (pictures right) and vice president Lorenzo Soria (pictured left) seem beyond relieved to focus on the future. For Kingma, an internationally renowned photographer, his grand strategy for charting the future of the group that produces the Golden Globes can be summed up in one word, which he repeats three times for emphasis: “Journalism. Journalism. Journalism.”

Kingma elaborates saying the group’s disputes with Dick Clark Prods., “all the legal stuff,” are now off the main burner. Per Kingma, there’s “nothing to do right now. We are waiting for the oral arguments, which will happen in a few weeks and then there’s a three-month waiting period.”

“People got distracted, which is natural,” he says. “But now it’s time to get back to the primary mission of our group, which is journalism, and my goal isn’t simply to continue our efforts on that front, but to expand them.”

For Italo entertainment correspondent Soria to “refocus,” means “to be known beyond the Golden Globes. Given our history in supporting cultural causes, it would be great to be known as the group that supports philanthropy.”

One project that unites the two is a series of screenings presenting the dozens of films that HFPA has helped to restore and preserve. Before the end of the year, Angelenos will be treated to a celebration of the centennial of the birth of director Stanley Kramer, produced with the help of his widow, Karen. Martin Scorsese’s fave org, the Film Foundation, is the primary beneficiary and leader on HFPA’s efforts in this field.

To underscore the seriousness of the group’s wide range of charitable initiatives, the duo both cite the leadership of their key grants adviser, Sandra Cuneo, who vets and administrates their annual charity spend of an estimated $1.6 million, funding nearly 1,000 scholarships across instiutions large and small.
The group’s annual installation lunch, where stars and showbiz leaders appear to announce the year’s grants, takes place at the Beverly Hilton. It’s an event not without laughs, sometimes at the group’s expense as last year when Dustin Hoffman said, “I’m here to win an award.”

This year the org’s set to announce five-year endowments and new video presentations from some beneficiaries.

Perhaps the best indication of a generational change came when Kingma led a contingent of 20 to Comic-Con in San Diego. “It created a great esprit de corps. We also got an enormous response from the studios who were impressed we were there and I think were pleasantly surprised that we were.”

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