Academy CEO Bill Kramer Woos Venice Film Festival

Bill Kramer, the newly appointed CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, launched his charm offensive with the international film community at the Venice Film Festival by telling a small audience of journalists that the future of the Academy “is also in international cinema lies as it is in American cinema.”

Kramer – who is in Italy this week and will also be present at Telluride – is keen to show the Academy’s support for its international contingent, which makes up more than 25% of its total membership. Kramer said international members made up 50% of the newest class of new Academy members.

Kramer who was interviewed by diversity is Rome-based international correspondent Nick Vivarelli suggested that the organization wanted to “educate” and “encourage” its international members to enter in additional Oscar categories alongside Best International Feature Film, citing success in several categories of films such as “Worst Person in the World” and “Drive My Car” in the last Oscar season.

“I feel that winning Best Picture for ‘Parasite’ has really changed the perception of the Oscars for international filmmakers. It’s evolving,” Kramer said.

The executive, who was named CEO of the Academy last month, added: “When the Academy was founded in 1927, it was more focused on Hollywood and industry and PR and optics, and over time we’ve grown into an organization that exactly that is much more international.

“The Venice Film Festival opens the awards season and it’s so incredibly important to us,” Kramer continued. “We will continue to expand our presence at the festival.”

The CEO particularly emphasized AMPAS’ close relationship with Italy, the country with the most awards at the Oscars. The org also has a multi-year relationship with Italy’s famed Cinecitta Studios to “celebrate Italian cinema at the Academy Museum.”

On Tuesday evening, AMPAS will host a cocktail reception and private dinner in Venice.

Meanwhile, Venice Festival Director Alberto Barbera, who was also on the panel, spoke at length about Venice’s changing profile on the international scene, noting that the Festival’s relationship with Hollywood studios has “changed over the past nine years recovered” after “a few years of disinterest on both sides.”

Acknowledging its staff, new screens and improved technology at the festival complex, and efforts such as the Venice Production Bridge and Biennale College Cinema, Barbera said, “Our ability to respond to aggressive competition from other international festivals has forced us to change our profile and capacity.”

Elsewhere, Kramer also responded to questions about safety at the 2023 Oscars, though he didn’t comment on reports of Chris Rock being approached to host the show. However, he said “early-stage” talks were underway.

“We are already working extensively with potential producers and have spoken to ABC. Since I started in early July, we’ve always had an incredibly strong security at the Oscars,” Kramer said. “We plan to have a host this year. That’s important to us, and it brings a grounding to the show. It’s all in early talks.”

Kramer spoke to journalists last week to discuss his plans for the future of the academy.

“We want to move forward and have an Academy Awards that celebrates cinema,” Kramer said when asked if there was a plan for next year’s Academy Awards to address the altercation between Chris Rock and Will Smith on the to tackle the stage. “That’s our focus now, it’s really about moving forward.”

The Venice Film Festival runs from August 31st to September 10th. Academy CEO Bill Kramer Woos Venice Film Festival

Charles Jones

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