Magazine article Screen International

AMPAS's Global Reach

Magazine article Screen International

AMPAS's Global Reach

Article excerpt

AMPAS boss Dawn Hudson talks to Wendy Mitchell about advancing the Academy's influence across the world and its efforts to protect film's legacy

AMPAS exists outside of Los Angeles. It has for many years, but there is a new focus on developing its international activities, particularly in Europe.

The approach was evident recently in London, as AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson joined chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at an 11 Downing Street event in late October to welcome new AMPAS members. Guests included full-time Brits such as Tom Hooper and Rosamund Pike, as well as visitors to the UK such as Lupita Nyong'o, in London to shoot the new Star Wars film.

"The board has such an appetite for increasing our presence internationally, to show the world what we're about," says Los Angeles-based Hudson over tea at The Ritz in London. "The film-making community has become more global and we connect internationally." Some 10% of AMPAS membership votes from outside the US and a big part of that is in the UK. As Hudson notes: "It's a renaissance in London film-making."

Hudson has been spreading the word that AMPAS wants to identify new members around the world. Academy members may now sponsor one new member each year for consideration.

Another key move in October 2013 was to hire Carola Ash for the new London-based post of director of Europe.

"I couldn't have started at a better time; every time I suggest something to Dawn, she says, 'Why haven't we done that before?'" says Ash. "We have a very strong membership here. One of the things members love is to connect more with what's happening in LA. They feel more connected with the mothership now."

Event horizon

Ash has spearheaded three big events in the last year, including the new members party, a nominees lunch and a real-time, late-night viewing party for the Oscars at Soho House. AMPAS has also started weekly screenings in London for its members, as a way of connecting them more frequently. "It's feeling more fun and lively," Ash says.

AMPAS is one of those organisations that attracts a lot of global goodwill. "The Academy represents the movies and people love the movies," Hudson says.

She knows what a special position AMPAS has in the world -- hundreds of millions of viewers watch the Oscars every year. …

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