Thursday, July 20, 2017

A CONVERSATION WITH LUC BESSON AT THE EGYPTIAN THEATRE, by Desiree Hostetller

From July 14 to 19, 2017, the American Cinematheque revisited a selection of Luc Besson’s films, and also hosted a special members-only advanced screening of his new movie, Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets. Such a series, where the movies from one specific director are being shown, always helps put his or her work into perspective and Luc Besson is among the directors who have a very apparent signature style. His movies are marked by strong female characters, climactic action scenes, amazing visuals, and tons of humor.

Luc Besson photographed by Silvia Schablowski

On July 16, between the screenings of
The Professional and La Femme Nikita, Luc Besson appeared for discussion with Today Show entertainment interviewer David Karger. The conversation focused on his earlier work, especially the films that were screened during the Cinematheque’s retrospective, yet the upcoming movie Valerian could, of course, not be ignored.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster on Behalf of IMAX To Receive Sid Grauman Award Sponsored by Hill Valley

The American Cinematheque announced today that Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster on behalf of IMAX ,will receive the 2017 Sid Grauman Award Presented by Hill Valley. IMAX will be honored for its achievements in the motion picture industry at the top of the American Cinematheque’s annual benefit award show, where, this year, the non-profit organization will present its 31st annual career achievement award, known as the American Cinematheque Award Sponsored by GRoW @ Annenberg. The 2017 American Cinematheque Award recipient is Academy Award-nominee Amy Adams. The presentation of both the Sid Grauman and American Cinematheque awards will take place Friday, November 10, 2017 at The Beverly Hilton (9876 Wilshire Blvd.).


American Cinematheque Chairman Rick Nicita said “The American Cinematheque is pleased to present this year’s annual Sid Grauman award to Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster on behalf of IMAX for their outstanding contribution to theatrical exhibition. Their leadership of IMAX has resulted in a breathtaking expansion of not only box office grosses around the world but in a quantum leap forward for the excitement and enjoyment of the moviegoing audience. There is no better way to see a movie than on the big screen and IMAX gives us the biggest screens of all.”

First Ever Sid Grauman Award
“Hill Valley is extremely proud to be the presenter of the American Cinematheque’s third annual Sid Grauman Award to recipients Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster on behalf of IMAX,” said founder and CEO Éric Nebot.

The American Cinematheque Board of Directors created this award in 2015 to honor an extraordinary individual who has made a significant contribution to the Hollywood film industry in the continuing advancement of theatrical exhibition. 

Sid Grauman (1879 – 1950) was a master showman in the early days of film exhibition and a founder of the Egyptian Theatre (owned and operated by the American Cinematheque since 1998), where the first Hollywood “premiere” was held in 1922. He went on to be part of the world-famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre as well. He was a pioneer in the theatrical exhibition of movies and a founding member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, from which he received an honorary Academy Award for his work. His legacy is carried on today, through the big screen movie viewing experience provided by the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre. 

Richard Gelfond, CEO, IMAX Corporation


Richard Gelfond is chief executive officer of IMAX Corporation, one of the world's leading entertainment technology companies.  Under his leadership, IMAX has evolved from a niche purveyor of nature and science documentaries to a Hollywood movie force — both as high-tech exhibitor and a creative partner in the movie-making process.

IMAX has more than 1,200 theatres in 75 countries. IMAX has a strong 2017 slate, including The Fate of the Furious, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Transformers: The Last Knight, Dunkirk and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

With Gelfond at the helm, IMAX entered China more than 15 years ago just as the nation’s entertainment, film and exhibition industry was developing. Growing as it did alongside the industry, IMAX has become a key part of the nation’s movie-going culture. Today, China is IMAX’s fastest-growing market with more than 400 theatres open and is embraced by audiences across the country as the best and most immersive way to see a film.


Gelfond is also leading IMAX through several strategic projects related to new business lines, including its recent foray into location-based virtual reality – IMAX VR – as well its investment in original content through a first-of-its-kind partnership with Marvel and ABC Television to premier Marvel’s Inhumans exclusively in IMAX® theatres ahead of its network launch.


Gelfond, one of entertainment’s longest-tenured executives, joined IMAX in 1994 as co-chairman after his firm, Cheviot Capital Advisors, bought the company. Gelfond previously served as an investment banker in mergers and acquisitions with Drexel Burnham Lambert. 

Gelfond holds a BA from Stony Brook University and a law degree from Northwestern University.

Gelfond is a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Science.  In 1996, Gelfond and investment partner Brad Wechsler received an Academy Award on behalf of IMAX for Scientific and Technical Achievement. 

Greg Foster
Chief Executive Officer, IMAX Entertainment
Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corporation


Greg Foster, CEO of IMAX Entertainment and Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp., joined the Company in March 2001.  Based out of IMAX’s state-of-the-art Playa Vista campus, Foster oversees all aspects of the Company's global entertainment activities, including creative, production, film distribution, business affairs, marketing, studio relationships, local-language releases and the revolutionary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) process.  Foster also serves as a member on the board of directors of IMAX Corp. (NYSE) and IMAX China (HKEX).


Over the past 16 years, Foster has successfully positioned IMAX’s entertainment business as a core revenue driver, playing an essential role in becoming a significant player in the Hollywood ecosystem. Under Foster’s leadership, over 300 major blockbuster films have been released in IMAX’s premium format, including Avatar, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the last six instalments of the Harry Potter franchise, The Dark Knight, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers, Jurassic World and many other top-grossing Hollywood releases.


Director Christopher Nolan
Currently, Foster, together with CEO Rich Gelfond, is spearheading the first-ever premiere of a television series in IMAX, partnering on Marvel’s The Inhumans along with ABC. The release was the first step in a highly innovative original content initiative that has broadened the scope for IMAX as it looks to new ways to provide compelling content year-round.

During his tenure at IMAX, Foster has led the charge in arming top filmmakers with the Company’s growing suite of enhanced technologies, enabling them to tell their stories in new and exciting ways. A-list directors, including Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Clint Eastwood have all incorporated IMAX to differentiate the cinematic experience of their films.

Foster began his career at Metro Goldwyn Mayer, where he spent 15 years in various senior marketing, production and corporate positions.  During his MGM tenure, Foster played an important role on such movies as Rain Man, A Fish Called Wanda, Species, Get Shorty, various films in the James Bond franchise and many more. Foster left MGM in 1999 as EVP, Production. Foster is a 1984 graduate of Georgetown University.  He and his wife Marci have three sons and live in Los Angeles.


About Hill Valley


Hill Valley, a product placement and promotion agency based in Paris and Los Angeles, represents luxury brands such as, Piper-Heidsieck champagne, fashion brand The Kooples, the leading European car manufacturer Renault, and many others.

Hill Valley, a subsidiary of McFly Holdings founded by Éric Nebot, integrates all aspects of the motion picture process, including development, production, product placement, as well as distribution promotion and marketing. Projects currently in development include the first super-hero movie set in France.

Benefit Tickets:
Tickets to the Cinematheque Tribute, an elegant black-tie dinner followed by a multi-media award presentation start at $600. Call Mann Productions for tickets and further information: 323.314.7000. Please note that this event was formerly known as the Moving Picture Ball.
More information about the award show can be found here:

About the American Cinematheque:

Established in 1981, the American Cinematheque is a non-profit viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all of its forms. At the Egyptian Theatre, the Cinematheque presents daily film and video programming which ranges from the classics of American and international cinema to new independent films and digital work. Exhibition of rare works, special and rare prints, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences. The American Cinematheque renovated and reopened (on December 4, 1998) the historic 1922 Hollywood Egyptian Theatre This includes a state-of-the-art 616-seat theatre housed within Sid Grauman’s first grand movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard. The exotic courtyard is fully restored to its 1922 grandeur. The Egyptian was the home of the very first Hollywood movie premiere in 1922.

In early 2005 the American Cinematheque expanded its programming to the Westside with the January 5th opening of the 1940 Aero Theatre on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica.


Both theatres play host to an array of industry guests who share their filmmaking experiences with our audiences.

Friday, June 30, 2017

MATTHEW MODINE’S MEMOIR ON FULL METAL JACKET by Jim Hemphill

A little past the midpoint of Matthew Modine’s extraordinarily entertaining audiobook Full Metal Jacket Diary, the actor takes a break from shooting Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War film to audition for another project, Alan J. Pakula’s Orphans. Practically the second Modine walks into the room, Pakula asks excitedly, “What’s he like?” “He,” of course, is Kubrick, one of the greatest and most enigmatic directors in the history of movies, and it’s a testament to his legend that even other famous directors like Pakula were and are starving for information about his process. That goes double for a not-so-famous director like myself; ever since I became obsessed with Kubrick at the age of nine, I’ve eagerly consumed every scrap of behind-the-scenes documentation that I could find on his productions.


Not that there’s been a whole lot — aside from sporadic technical articles in magazines like American Cinematographer and occasional interviews in major magazines like Rolling Stone and Playboy, during Kubrick’s lifetime the amount of reliable press coverage on him and his films was ridiculously sparse when compared to other directors of his stature. There were occasional glimpses behind the curtain, like his daughter Vivian’s short documentary on the making of The Shining, which I studied frame by frame like it was the Zapruder film, and after Kubrick passed away in 1999 some of his collaborators started to open up a bit in documentaries, articles and books. Yet even now the literature is relatively light, to the point that whenever something like the Vanity Fair article on the making of Eyes Wide Shut pops up I devour it like a drunk David Hasselhoff going after a cheeseburger.

I’m not sure why Kubrick was so secretive about his process, or why his collaborators were so tight-lipped. A few months ago I interviewed Ryan O’Neal for a Filmmaker magazine piece I was writing on the making of Barry Lyndon and he told me, “Stanley begged us never to talk about him.” (Luckily, O’Neal then gleefully proceeded to spill the beans.) Whatever the reason, Kubrick’s tight control over the flow of information from his sets has only made me and thousands of other filmmakers and fans all the more desperate to know how he achieved his effects, and why.

Thankfully, Matthew Modine kept a detailed journal of his experiences shooting Full Metal Jacket in 1985 and 1986, and he has made his observations available in a variety of media. The diary was first published as a limited edition book in 2005, and seven years later Modine released an interactive iPad app based on the volume. Now, the diary has been released as an audiobook read by Modine, and listening to the actor narrate his behind-the-scenes story was the greatest possible way I could have kicked off 2015. It’s great in exactly the way I had hoped it would be as a first-hand account of a master filmmaker at work, but it’s great in other, less expected ways too. Kubrick and Full Metal Jacket aside, Modine’s Diary is most valuable as a terrific snapshot of a young actor in transition, on the verge of becoming a master himself.

To continue reading the article "Jim Hemphill (The Trouble with the Truth) Talks Matthew Modine’s Full Metal Jacket Diary Audiobook" head to Talkhouse.

Full Metal Jacket will screen at the Egyptian for its 30th anniversary on July 1st at 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

OLIVER STONE AT THE AERO, by Gretchen Husting and Luke Matheis

Filmmaker Oliver Stone appeared in person three nights at the Aero Theatre to share his films, and the stories behind making them, with the audience.



On Friday, May 19, 2017, the American Cinematheque welcomed Stone with a screening of U-Turn (1997) and Natural Born Killers (1994).

As Stone explained, his inspiration for U-Turn had to do with the aftermath of the release of Nixon. “Nixon was not well received, it broke my heart. I wish the movie had been more appreciated. After that, I went to a very solitary place …wrote a novel…I edited, got it down to 200 – 300 pages. I was on an inner journey… I needed to get back into things so I did a low budget movie, to make a profit. I loved this thing.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

THE SUMMER OF LOVE TURNS 50, by John Hagelston

This June, we mark the 50th anniversary of “the Summer of Love.” Those few months of 1967 brought a renaissance of popular culture that spread from San Francisco’s bohemian enclaves across the entire world. With events like a “Human Be-In” at Golden Gate Park, the City by the Bay became a magnet for free-thinking young people, who flocked there by the tens of thousands during their school break to enjoy the groovy ’Frisco scene. Hippies danced to the beat of a different drummer, and if the Summer of Love was a coming-out party for the counterculture, it was certainly led by music.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A CONVERSATION WITH BERTRAND TAVERNIER, by Susan King

Bertrand Tavernier, 76, has been one of France’s most accomplished directors, helming such acclaimed films as 1974’s The Clockmaker of St. Paul, 1981’s Coup de Torchon, 1986’s 'Round Midnight, and 2002’s Safe Conduct. But much like Martin Scorsese, whom he directed in ’Round Midnight, Tavernier is also a student of cinema who has written film criticism and is also involved in film preservation.



His latest film, My Journey Through French Cinema,  is his three-hour valentine to film, exploring the work of such directors as Jacques Becker, Jean Renoir, Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Claude Sautet, as well as the writer-director team of Jacques Prevert and Marcel Carne. The documentary features clips from countless films including Becker’s Casque d’or; Renoir’s La Chienne, La Bete Humaine, Grande Illusion, and Rules of the Game; Carne’s Le Jour Se Leve, Port of Shadows, and Les Enfants du Paradis; Godard’s Pierre Le Fou; Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Shoot the Piano Player; and many examples of French film noir including Melville’s Bob Le Flambeur and Le Doulos; Becker’s Touchez pas au Grisbi; and Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows.