Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 22: Motion Picture Home Saga Is Like a Bad Movie

By Sylvia Gurinsky

A Hollywood screenwriter could come up with this story if it wasn't so sadly true.

Next year, the Motion Picture Television Fund will commemorate its 90th anniversary; it was originally the Motion Picture Relief Fund, created by the early giants of movies, including Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. In 1942, the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital was dedicated. For most of its history, the best and the brightest in the industry have lived up to the organization's motto, "Taking Care of Our Own."

Until recently.

Last year, the MPTF announced the closing down of the Long Term Care Facility, with the argument that the organization couldn't afford to keep it open because of a $20 million shortfall.

The Wrap, which covers the entertainment industry, has been chronicling the saga. It published notes from the board meeting where the decision was made, saying that part of the shortfall stemmed from lower reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.

But in an industry that makes millions each year and an organization that has gotten help from most that work in it, why does this facility need public help?

Some of the industry's current best and brightest have been campaigning to keep the closure from happening - George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon among them. Many more - including industry professionals, the families of current and former residents of MPTF's facilities and others - have joined efforts to keep the facility open, including a petition drive.

Still others are asking how the shortfall happened. The answer is pretty much the same as it's been in a lot of corporate America recently: Glitzy renovations in various MPTF facilities that weren't crucial, and lots of money for the executives running the facilities, which the Los Angeles Times also chronicled.

Lawsuits have already been filed over the long-term facility closure, and the battle continues.

The MPTF's board includes plenty of people who have made movies about the downtrodden and who have supported the Democratic Party - you know, the one that got health care reform passed. One has to wonder why the board members are acting like the people they profess to be against.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this brief summary of the Motion Picture Home on this it's 90th anniversary year. As you question the industry that allows a Board, including the likes of Katzenberg, Spielberg, Geffen, Efron, Beatty, Diller, Douglas, et al. to do away with this most important arm of the Motion Picture Home, one must ask oneself " why we don't read about this travesty in the main stream media..... Our LA Times, even the NY Times have been stiffled by those above them that make the decisions - no more is there room for real reporting where truth is what we see on the pages of our newspapers. It's a real shame that editors censor the truth from those journalists out there still trying to make a difference.

Wonder why people read blogs instead of newspapers? Because this is where the truth is. Let's ask ourselves - "Why, indeed, after 90 years does the present Motion Pictures and Television Fund insist on closing down the most important part of the Motion Picture campus - the part that supports those that have made them millions - Why, indeed?????