Lorenzo Soria is president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which this year hands out its Golden Globes on Jan. 10. For 38 years, Soria has been writing for L’Espresso, one of Italy’s leading weekly magazines. And he has been a member of the HFPA since 1989; he earned his first mention in Variety when he became a board member in 1996.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Buenos Aires, and spent my first 11 years there; my parents are Italian Jews who had escaped the war to Argentina. In 1963, my father died, and my mother took my younger sister and me to Italy. I say I’m Italian, born in Argentina — but I have spent more time in Los Angeles than in either of those countries.
You became a journalist in Italy?
I started working for L’Espresso in 1977, in the Milan office, writing about economics and finance. During a summer vacation, I fell in love with Los Angeles; I went back to my bosses and said, “What if I moved there?” They said, “We’re not going to send you full-time, but you can be a correspondent.” I came to Los Angeles in 1983.
Did you have any contacts or sources?
Almost zero. But I started to meet other Italian correspondents, and many of them were covering fluff. In the first few years, I took pride writing about economics, technology, computers and politics. I spent a week in Silicon Valley. But instead of saying “Bravo,” the editors would say, “Yes, but what about Tom Cruise?” And so I started doing entertainment stories; I wasn’t too enthusiastic about that at the beginning.
When did you join the HFPA?
In October 1989, the same month my son Max was born. After a few years, I ran for the board. And with few interruptions, I have been working with the organization since then. By joining in ’89, I missed a big chunk of our history, but I was witness to a major turnaround in the perception of the organization and of us as members. When we went on national TV (NBC in 1995), that was a major turning point. It coincided with the studios realizing that foreign markets were not just an afterthought, but were important. Being a foreign correspondent, and being part of an organization giving an important award — it made a difference, in terms of visibility, access, in terms of being recognized. Those were important transitional years.
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