MPTF Or USC School Of Cinema: Guess Which Fast-Tracked H'wood Fundraising?

Interesting how the same Hollywood moguls who say the necessary millions can’t be raised for the expansion and modernization of the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s acute care hospital and longterm care nursing home are instead meeting lofty fundraising goals for the expansion and modernization of the USC School Of Cinematic Arts. But then we know the reason for that: one institution is producing tomorrow’s talent whom the studios and networks can then exploit for years to come. And the other simply houses yesteryear’s old and sick and used-up workers.

Don’t get me wrong. Supporting institutions of higher learning is a wonderful thing. Especially when they’re already well-funded private schools like USC. A news release just issued on the occasion of SCA’s 80th anniversary and the opening of its new campus lavishes praise on the Fox Entertainment Group, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros, the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation, the Dana and Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli Foundation, and Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, among many other prominent individuals and foundations who have contributed significantly to SCA’s fundraising goals.

Interesting, too, how Hollywood moguls have clammed up about the MPTF despite so many journalists’ requests. But on March 29, SCA will open its doors to the media when the school’s long-time supporters George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg join USC in a press conference presenting the all-new complex.

In 2006, SCA broke ground and kicked off the current campaign to construct and equip a new state-of-the-art campus. Since that time, the school worked with Industry leaders and others to raise nearly $125 million, but continues to try to raise the additional $50 million needed to complete the project in 2010.

Said Dean Elizabeth Daley: “We are incredibly proud of our close and valued ties to the entertainment industry. For decades, the generosity of our industry colleagues has been vital for our continued growth and renewal. We believe, as do our colleagues, that their contributions are investments in the future of cinema, and toward the progress and achievement of our mutual goals.”

Interesting as well how the Hollywood moguls said that a new state-of-the-art acute care MPTF hospital was too ambitious a project to undertake. Yet SCA’s new campus represents the most ambitious cinema school project in the U.S., anchored by a 137,000-square-foot main complex, which includes a massive courtyard/gathering space, eight screening rooms, 19 conference rooms, three sound mixing rooms, six picture editorial labs and ample exhibition space. Under construction are the 38,000-square-foot Animation and Digital Arts building, four sound stages with a combined actual production space of over 7,000 square feet, and a production equipment center. Also planned for the future is the Cinematic Arts Park, usable for exterior location filming.

Interesting that I tried, and failed, to get the MPTF to tell me which Hollywood studios and individuals and foundations had contributed to the MPTF and how much. But the USC press release is proud to detail what groups and individuals are forking over:

Fox Entertainment Group has contributed funds to build and outfit the Fox Sound Stage, one of four sound stages currently under construction adjacent to the main complex. Fox Entertainment Group is also establishing the Fox Fellowship Endowment Fund. The program will support third-year students enrolled in the school’s Interactive Media Division.

The Walt Disney Studios has funded the construction and outfitting of The Walt Disney Studios Screening Room, a state-of-the-art student facility in the main administrative/instructional complex.

— Warner Bros has funded the construction and outfitting of the Warner Bros Screening Room.

— The Stark Foundation has contributed to the construction and outfitting of two screening theatres: the Stark Family Theatre and the Fanny Brice Theatre.

Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s recent contributions will be directed toward instructional/production structures adjacent to the main complex.

— The Broccoli Foundation is funding a screening room, The Broccoli Family Theatre.

— THX sound system creator Tomlinson Holman is overseeing the installation of all screening room and theatre sound systems.

— Recently pledged contributions of support include notable alums John August, Ashley and David Kramer, Peter Segal, Stacey Sher, and Jana and Stephen Sommers, as well as The Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Charitable Foundation, Salon Films Ltd and Spike TV.

— Industry contributions and pledges previously announced include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Alma and Alfred Hitchcock Foundation, the Dana and Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli Foundation, the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation, the Lucasfilm Foundation, and Entertainment Partners.

— “Together, these groups and individuals have named rooms and community spaces within the buildings, making the complex truly supported by a large community of alumni and friends,” the USC press release concludes.

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