To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Motion Picture Television Fund, the board of directors and a slate of guests gathered virtually to announce a new $300 million fundraising drive that aims to support industry workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
President and CEO Bob Beitcher said “the need hasn’t stopped” during the ongoing health crisis, stating that the organization has continued to experience high levels of inbound calls from a young demographic.
“I know, deep in my bones, how important it is for MPTF to celebrate its 100th anniversary with an ambitious campaign, ran by no other than Jeffrey Katzenberg, to unlock the financial resources, once again from our generous industry, to sustain MPTF for the next generations,” Beitcher said. “The time is now.”
Katzenberg, who serves on MPTF’s board of directors, said this fundraising drive serves as “an opportunity for us to look to the future.” $100 million of the funds raised will go toward renovating key portions of MPTF’s Woodland Hills, Calif., hub and its assisted living facility. The other $200 million will be used to sustain their reserves and build a financial endowment.
“Our job is to make sure that we pass the baton of the MPTF to the next generation in even better shape than we received it from our predecessors,” Katzenberg said.
When George Clooney first joined the panel, he quipped that he would talk to Warner Bros. about putting his batsuit from “Batman and Robin” up for auction.
“It’s considered one of the great moments in cinematic history, my turn in Batman,” Clooney said.
Clooney, who also serves on the MPTF board of directors, said he feels “extraordinarily proud” to be a part of this organization that allows him to pass on luck to other people.
“It’s warm, it’s funny and you get to be with people you love to be around,” Clooney said. “I, in my profession, got very lucky. I know it, I’m the first to understand that luck needs to be shared. Luck needs to be given to other people.”
Yvette Nicole Brown, who is a member of MPTF’s NexGen board, called the fundraiser a great way to give back to the industry that she has been “blessed in 1000 ways” by.
“We all understand what it feels like when it’s down,” Brown said. “So when you’re up, you put your little bit for the person that’s down, and hopefully, if you have your [down] moment, somebody will put a little bit in for you.”
When it comes to the future of the entertainment industry, MPTF board member and CEO of Paramount Pictures Jim Gianopulos told Variety that the theatrical experience has always been unique and will live on.
“People are anxious to go back to theaters for the pure experience of it,” Gianopulos said. “Not because they can’t see a movie, they can see 1000 movies at home. They may have a 60-inch screen, they don’t have a 60-foot screen.”