Academy CEO Bill Kramer: Our Future Is With International Cinema As Much As American Venice

As new Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Bill Kramer continues his inaugural outreach tour, he stopped in Venice today to discuss AMPAS’ relationship with global cinema and declared, “I think our future is with international cinema as much as with American cinema.”

Bill KramerAMPAS

Surprisingly, this is the first time in the Venice Film Festival’ history that the Academy has an official presence on the ground. Beginning what’s expected to be an annual tradition is reflective of Venice’s importance as a launch pad for awards season movies which has grown exponentially over the last 10 years — and is also a sign of the Academy’s continued global expansion. Kramer called AMPAS’ presence here “an evolution” and said the Academy is “leaning into international cinema in a very big way,” one that “will only grow, evolve and continue.”

He further told attendees at a “Values of Cinema in a Global Society” panel this afternoon, “When the Academy was founded in 1927, it was much more focused on Hollywood (and the U.S. industry) and optics and public relations. That’s still a lot of what we do, but we’ve grown into an organization that is so much more international.”

More than 25% of the Academy’s membership is international while 50% of the latest class also hails from outside the U.S. This, Kramer said, “shows our deep commitment to international cinema.”

Kramer also talked up the Academy Museum’s multi-year partnership with CineCitta to celebrate Italian cinema and suggested that this will hardly be the last time AMPAS travels to the Lido. Kicking off awards season, the Venice Film Festival “is so incredibly important. We will continue to grow our relationship.”

Speaking more broadly about the Oscars, Kramer was asked about Netflix and its relationship to the Academy. “The theatrical eligibility requirement will not go away,” he said. “At the same time, we have to acknowledge theatrical and streaming will continue to coexist. That’s a good thing. I envision the Academy supporting a world where theatrical and streaming will coexist.”

Kramer would not be led by questions regarding next year’s Oscars ceremony or Chris Rock’s recent comments about turning down the hosting job, except to say, “We are already hard at work with potential show producers… The plan is to have a host. It’s very important to us, very grounding.”

Regarding this year’s ceremony and the slap heard round the world, Kramer said, “We are moving forward to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. We are working hard to create a show that celebrates cinema, all the creative arts… That’s what is important to us this year, and beyond.”

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