Film Academy Looks Overseas for Donors

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday announced a global $500 million fund-raising effort to help diversify its base of support and ensure its financial future in a period of transformation for the film industry and the nonprofit cultural sector.

“Both are going through radical business model shifts right now due to changing audience habits and revenue streams,” Bill Kramer, the chief executive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said in an email. “As a nonprofit, and like any healthy organization or company, the academy needs a sustainable and diverse base of support to allow for solid long-term planning and fiscal certainty.”

Announced during a news conference in Rome hosted by the Italian film studio Cinecittà, the campaign is called Academy100, in honor of the 100th Oscars ceremony in 2028. The academy plans to use about $300 million of the new funds to bring its endowment to $800 million; the remainder will go toward operating expenses and special projects.

The academy currently has an annual operating budget of about $170 million, 70 percent of which comes from its Oscars broadcast deal with Disney and ABC, which runs through 2028. About $45 million of the operating expenses are used by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Given the challenges experienced by many cultural organizations, the academy has reason to want to shore up its finances. In March, for example, Joana Vicente of the Sundance Film Festival resigned after less than three years as chief executive amid questions about her fund-raising abilities. Last summer, Center Theater Group in Los Angeles announced a series of sharp cutbacks — including suspending productions at the Mark Taper Forum — to deal with drops in revenue and attendance. And the Metropolitan Opera in New York has withdrawn emergency funds from its endowment.

The academy said in its news release that the money raised “will endow and fund programs that recognize excellence in cinematic artistry and innovation; preserve our film history; enable the creation of world-class film exhibitions, screenings and publications; train and educate the next generation of diverse global film artists; and produce powerful digital content.”

More than $100 million has already been committed to the campaign, the academy said, including support from Rolex, which is based in Switzerland.

As part of the effort, the academy plans to host gatherings and events in locations around the world to “become increasingly global,” press materials said, and help develop a global “pool of new filmmakers and academy members and support the worldwide filmmaking community.”

The academy said its “expanded international outreach” will include Buenos Aires; Johannesburg; Kyoto, Japan; Lagos, Nigeria; London; Marrakesh, Morocco; Melbourne, Australia; Mexico City; and Mumbai.

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