Hollywood Filmmakers, Tech Innovators Gather for Golden Portal Fundraiser

Golden Portal Awards - H 2017
Vince Bucci

Members of the medical community mingled with Hollywood filmmakers during the Golden Portal Awards, an annual event created to offer philanthropic support to UCLA neuroscientists who are researching neurological diseases such as brain cancer, aneurysms, vascular malformations and stroke.

Held Saturday afternoon at Los Angeles' The Griffin Club, the event was first launched in 2012 by Twentieth Century Fox president of postproduction Ted Gagliano and Fox marketing alum Loic Bailly.

Guests included Battle of the Sexes directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris; The Mountain Between Us helmer Hany Abu-Assad and cinematographer Mandy Walker; VFX supervisor Joe Letteri of Weta (War for the Planet of the Apes); editors Kevin Tent (Downsizing) and Michael Tronick (Straight Outta Compton); and technology and postproduction representatives from companies including Fox, Adobe, Fotokem, Netflix, Paramount and Technicolor.

UCLA’s department chair and researcher Dr. Linda Liau presented two honors during the event: a Tenacious Bravery Award, to brain cancer survivor Jamil Newirth; and a Tenacious Discovery Award, to Dr. Judith C. Gasson, director, technology accelerator at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Underscoring this year’s theme — tenacity — the reception included backdrops and activities representing four recent films whose characters exhibit tenacity: Battle of the Sexes, Dunkirk, The Mountain Between Us and Murder on the Orient Express.

In addition to fundraising, Gagliano hopes the event will connect the medical and entertainment communities by bridging their shared belief in technical innovation. “There are technologies — high-resolution, as well as virtual and augmented reality — that cross over between the medical field and movies,” he said, citing as an example that high-resolution VR could effectively allow doctors to “previs” complicated surgery.

During the event, guests were invited to visit a virtual reality demonstration area featuring projects such as Fox’s The Martian VR Experience in addition to medical applications.