Determined to show it is more than just a one trick – or is that one night – pony the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences opened up its extensive, and impressive, film vaults for the press on Tuesday and provided clear proof they are also running a world class archival and preservation program for film and digital and other materials. As the Academy’s Managing Director of Programming, Education and Preservation Randy Haberkamp said, “this is what we do the other 364 days of the year” in a demonstation that the organization is about much more than just Oscar night. As a preview of what film fans will get a chance to see on September 10th (for invited guests) and 11th (the public) and in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study located on Vine St. in Hollywood, Academy officials led by Haberkamp showed off the impressive space that used to be an ABC television studio and is now housing three floors of vaults and storage areas for the approximately 400 restoration projects and other programs the Academy sponsors each year. The 10th anniversary event called Inside The Vaults will also feature the Los Angeles premiere of the Archive’s newly restored print of the 1920 The Mark Of Zorro as well as the rare Mary Pickford short The New York Hat (1912). In relation to the latter, the Academy and the Mary Pickford Foundation are partnering on a multi-year initiative to promote the “legacy of Pickford and the silent film era”. Pickford was one of the founders of the Academy. Artifacts from her career including letters and photos will be displayed, including a 1959 letter in which she discussed her plans and support for a Hollywood museum. Haberkamp said at long last the Academy is trying to make her dream come true with the creation (in association with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) of a permanent Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The museum project is currently in the midst of a major fundraising drive and expects to reach the next leg of its goal with Board approval on October 16. Bob Iger, along with Governors Tom Hanks and Annette Bening are leading that financial effort.
During Tuesday’s tour the Academy showed off some of the potential pieces the museum will contain including the earliest wood motion picture cameras used by Pickford and Charlie Chaplin as well as the latest acquisition donated to the Academy: A coat, hat, wig and props trunk that belonged to Harpo Marx and given to the Acad by his son Bill Marx who once served as the comedian’s prop master. (more…)