Disney's Bob Iger to head fundraising for academy's film museum
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is moving ahead with its plans for a film museum in Los Angeles, announcing Wednesday that Disney Chairman Bob Iger will head up the fundraising effort. Actors Tom Hanks and Annette Bening will serve as co-chairs.
Academy President Tom Sherak said in an interview that the organization needs to raise far less then the $450 million initially estimated to construct a museum from the ground up, but refused to say what the specific dollar target would be. Those plans were abandoned in favor of a more economical solution -- housing the museum in the former May Co. building on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. The project will be a collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which owns the building.
Sherak said the first $50 million will come directly via an endowment from the academy. He hopes the majority of the funding will be raised directly from the 6,000 members of the academy.
“To those of us who belong to this organization, this is a museum of passion. It will enable us to communicate the things that we do to the world—to the people who travel to L.A. and who live here. I hope the majority of the money will be raised by the members themselves.”
Sherak said that the goal is to raise enough money in the next year to begin renovations on the 300,000- square-foot space.
"The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures represents a bold new way of saving and presenting film history," Iger said in a statement. "It will innovate not only the museum experience, but also the public's relationship to the art form."
Sherak and academy CEO Dawn Hudson approached Iger for the job because of his prestige and status in the industry. "He's a member of the academy. He believes in what we're doing--he believes in it as strongly as anybody on the board. He said, 'This is good for the industry, good for Los Angeles. I'm in.' "
DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg was the previous head of the capital campaign when the museum was to be located on Vine Street. He was tasked with raising a staggering sum to erect a museum designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc, but his fundraising efforts never got off the ground as the financial crisis hit immediately after he was appointed to the job.
Sherak said he has not ruled out major outside sponsors, though he was cautious.
"I don't know yet about third-party investors. They have to fit in to who we are," said Sherak.
Photo: The historic May Co. building at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire that is owned by LACMA. Credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times