A Hollywood Romance

October 20, 2011

This past Saturday night, the Fund’s sixth annual A FINE ROMANCE took place on a sound stage 27 on the Sony lot in Culver City. Unlike our two big events before the Emmys and Oscars, this is an intimate gathering of industry members around song and dance. A FINE ROMANCE, developed by MPTF Board member and MGM executive Darcie Denkert (based on her magnificent book of the same title), celebrates the love affair between Hollywood and Broadway.

What I truly love about A FINE ROMANCE isn’t only the great music, the great singing and dancing, the opportunity to see the likes of Jennifer Hudson belting out a tune from DREAMGIRLS (3 years ago), Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera doing a number from Bye Bye Birdie (2 years ago) or Anne Hathaway doing Adelaide’s Lament from Guys and Dolls this year, but also the broad audience we draw to the event that evening from all across the industry.

This is what the Fund is all about. It represents the best values and highest aspirations of the entertainment community. I think that in the very troubling last ten years or so for the entertainment industry in Hollywood – with state and country tax incentives drawing business away from Los Angeles, with strikes and threatened strikes stopping or slowing down work, with studios cutting overhead and reducing term deals, with new technologies disrupting the traditional “windowing” of distribution and the resulting cash flows, with the entire economy going into the dumper – this sense of community has been dealt a crippling blow.

Now it’s time to rebuild our sense of community and the Fund needs to claim its place at the center of this movement. In the past, MPTF has been the glue binding above- and below-the-line, on-set and in the executive suite, talent agent and Teamster. We’ve held it together with the special magic that comes from the simple concept of taking care of our own when times are tough. Walk around our campus in Woodland Hills, spend some time with one of our residents or simply view the industry memorabilia on the walls, and you’ll be reminded of what motivated you to join this crazy circus in the first place and why the tightrope act of working in our industry has been worth it. It’s all about those indescribable bonds, built from the utterly precarious nature of the world of production, and the community of support we so very much need to get through it.

Events like A FINE ROMANCE, with members of our various unions and guilds mingling with studio execs, agents, business managers, Fund well-wishers, and others are just one way of making community happen. Through the magic of music and film and good food and drink and the beautiful setting of the Sony lot and a crisp Southern California evening, we can all look back to the wonderful history of our industry and look forward to what we can do together to keep it going even when times seem bleak. A fine romance indeed – our own love affair with Hollywood.

About Bob Beitcher

Bob Beitcher is the President and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. He has been a senior executive in the entertainment industry for 30 years, having held leadership roles at Jim Henson Productions, Paramount Pictures, Panavision and MacAndrews & Forbes Media Group. Bob has been an MPTF board member since 2007. He became interim CEO in 2010 and was named permanent CEO in 2011.

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