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Ten-year-old non-profit Institute loses its funding.
The Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education (MPI), a Los Angeles based 501(c)3 non-profit organization that preserves the silent film legacy of producer/actress Mary Pickford, and uses her example to teach young children about film history and socially conscious filmmaking, has had its funding yanked by its long-time supporter, the Mary Pickford Foundation, a charitable trust started by Mary Pickford in 1958 and funded largely by investments of her original grant.
Mary Pickford (1892-1979), Hollywood’s original “Artist,” was the world's first movie superstar, known internationally as the original “America's Sweetheart.” Starting in 1909 with D.W. Griffith, she became her own producer by 1919, and produced more than 200 films. She co-founded United Artists, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Motion Picture and Television Fund Home and Hospital, and is today sometimes referred to by the title of Eileen Whitfield's 1997 biography: “The Woman Who Made Hollywood.”
Ten years ago, in 2002, the Mary Pickford Foundation established the non-profit MPI for the purposes of preserving Pickford's legacy and educational outreach. Now, after the Institute's considerable success in both areas, the Foundation wants to shut it all down.
Please help us preserve the legacy of Mary Pickford by signing our petition. Let The Mary Pickford Foundation know that you believe preserving film history and using Mary's example as a role model to teach young children about film history and socially conscious filmmaking, is the best way to see her legacy carried into the 21st Century.
In a year when the neglected art of silent cinema has been placed on center stage, thanks to multiple Oscar-winning films like “The Artist,” and “Hugo,” it seems ironic that an organization founded by and dedicated to the legacy of the most important woman in the history of film would decide to pull its funding for a non-profit that has been working specifically to preserve her legacy.
As Melissa Silverstein wrote in her Women and Hollywood blog:
I care about this because Mary Pickford is a very important historical figure in Hollywood and it would be a huge shame if her legacy was erased. This would be another example of men erasing women's history. These board members need to come out from behind the screen and say what is going on, why they want to defund the Institute, and what they are going to be doing with the money in the future. They have a fiduciary responsibity to the public as board members of a foundation.
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