HFPA announces grants at luncheon

Aaron Eckhart, Jon Hamm among stars at event

Although January's Golden Globe Awards were cancelled because of the writers strike, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. continued its tradition of making a sizeable charitable donation at its annual luncheon held Wednesday at the Beverly Hills Hotel to introduce its officers for the upcoming year.

Announcing $754,865 in grants, HFPA president Jorge Camara said that though the cancellation affected the HFPA's income, "We're delighted to honor our ongoing commitment to support entertainment industry-related film school and non-profit organizations."

The event drew a roster of stars, including Aaron Eckhart and Jon Hamm, who announced the grants.

In addition to Camara, the 2008-08 line-up of officers includes Mike Goodridge, vp; Serge Rakhlin, exec secretary; and Meher Tatna, treasurer. The new board of directors is comprised of Mahfouz Doss (chairman), Erkki Kanto, Lilly Lui, Paz Mata, Frances Schoenberger, and Armando Gallo (alternate).

The HFPA announced higher education grants to the following institutions:

American Film Institute, $30,000 earmarked for fellowships for six students.

California Institute of the Arts, $60,000, fellowships for to up to eight Film/Video students.

California State University, Long Beach; Dept. of Film and Electronic Arts , $35,000, consisting of fellowships of $1,000 or more for at least 30 students.

California State University, Northridge; Dept. of Cinema and Television Arts, $66,000, fellowships for 10 students and $6,000 for the 2009 student showcase.

Columbia University School of the Arts, $50,000, fellowships for 6 international MFA candidates.

New York University; Tisch School of the Arts, $20,000, fellowships for third-year students to complete their thesis films.

North Carolina School of the Arts Foundation, $20,000, fellowships for 10 to 20 undergraduate students.

University of California, Los Angeles; School of Theatre, Film and Television, $65,000, fellowships for directing students and support as the presenting sponsor at the 2009 Festival of New Creative Work.

In the category of professional training and mentoring, grants were made to:

Film Independent, $30,000 to support Project:Involve:, a mentoring, training, job placement and screening program for local underrepresented filmmakers.

Independent Feature Project, $10,000 to support the post-production needs and mentoring of independent filmmakers at the end stages of production.

National Association of Latino Independent Producers, Inc., $20,000 for professional filmmaker mentors at the Latino Producers Academy workshop for emerging Latino/a filmmakers.

Sundance Institute, $100,000 for personnel, equipment and supplies, marketing, and production for the Writer and Director Institutes.

Streetlights Production Assistant Program, Inc., $5,000 for books and supplies needed for job training, placement and career advancement for underrepresented populations in Los Angeles.

Grants to support pre-professional training and education were made to:

California State Summer School Arts Foundation, $20,000 to provide 13 full scholarships for Los Angeles inner city students to attend the 2009 summer session of InnerSpark.

The Ghetto Film School, Inc., $20,000 to support the Fellows program and costs of the annual public screening of the student films.

Inner-City Arts, $25,000 for animation equipment and workshops, and for support of the animation marathon for middle and high school inner city students.

Inner-City Filmmakers, $20,000 to support the Arts Education and Jobs/Career Development Programs for inner city youth.

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Foundation, $18,865 to support the TV/Film Teaching Artists who provide instruction in screenwriting and History of TV and Film classes.

To preserve the culture and history of motion pictures, grants were made to:

Los Angeles Conservancy, $30,000 to support the screenings of old movies in classic movie houses in Los Angeles through the Last Remaining Seats program.

Museum of African American Cinema, Inc., $10,000 to preserve, curate, catalogue and transfer from film to digital format rare and culturally historic productions relating to the African American experience.

Outfest, $25,000 to build awareness through printed materials and conferences and create new tools to teach filmmakers about archiving and preservation through the Outfest Legacy Project.

In order to promote culture exchange through film, HFPA provided funds to:

FilmAid International, $50,000 to continue developing the Kakuma Peace and Reconciliation Film Series and Participatory Video Program and to begin new programs in the Dadaab Refuge Camp.

Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles, LACLA, $10,000 towards producing an annual screening series of monthly screenings of short films and videos from Latin American and U.S. Latino filmmakers in downtown Los Angeles.

Two grants, earmarked for special projects, went to Ensemble Studio Theatre - The LA Project, $10,000 to fund play development programs and premiere productions, and Lollipop Theatre Network, $10,000 to provide children in Southern California hospitals with life threatening illnesses and their families screenings of current release films and visits by actors.