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HFPA Awards $500,000 Grant to American Cinematheque for Egyptian Theatre Restoration

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has awarded a $500,000 grant to fund maintenance and essential technical upgrades to the historic 1922 Egyptian Theatre, a designated historic cultural monument situated on Hollywood Boulevard, American Cinematheque announced Wednesday. 

News of the grant comes less than a week after the HFPA announced at its annual Grants Banquet a separate donation of $350,000 to help make the theater capable of screening 35mm nitrate film prints, a grant that was made through the Film Foundation, which is coordinating the project.

The scope of the HFPA-funded renovation includes repair from water damage to the main roof and the portico ceiling and walls on the building’s exterior. Inside, water damage to various areas of the ceiling and side walls will be structurally repaired and then restored by historic restoration specialists.

The theater’s 1998 carpet will be replaced by a custom-designed carpet that brings elements from the showpiece of the theater — the ornate ceiling adorned with a scarab and other Egyptian icons -– down to the floor. Other interior renovations include replacement of the concession stand and lighting, and recovering of the theater’s seats.

Exterior renovations will include the repair of the 12 palm tree planters and the installation of a new lighting system to uplight the trees as well as the columns that flank the entrance. The historic murals of Egyptian deities on the walls will be repaired and repainted. Terrazzo will replace the existing outdoor carpeting to enhance the grand entrance to the building.

On the technical front, the ten-year-old digital projector will be upgraded to a 4K projector, and the sound system and projection booth electrical infrastructure will be revised.

Rick Nicita, chairman of the American Cinematheque said, “The American Cinematheque is extremely appreciative of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s support of this historic landmark. It has become a beloved icon of modern movie-goers in the nearly two decades our organization has owned and operated the theater.”

The Egyptian Theatre was the site of the first-ever Hollywood movie premiere under the supervision of Sid Grauman, who premiered some of the biggest hits of the silent era at the Egyptian. The Egyptian is the only historic theater on Hollywood Boulevard that has continually operated as a cinema to present day.

It also serves as the host of the HFPA’s annual Golden Globe Foreign Language Film Symposium.

“We are dedicated to preserving this important landmark of Hollywood history where we continue to show movies on the big screen as they were meant to be seen,” Nicita added.

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