Every year, on the occasion of the installation of the new president and officers, the HFPA awards grants to a variety of entertainment-related charities. In August 2017, the HFPA gave away $2.8 million in donations to 55 institutions, during a gala dinner packed with stars and surprises at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
The amount tops the 2016 contributions of more than $2 million and brings the total amount given away by the HFPA to $29 million over the last 27 years.
Hosted by Chelsea Handler, the 2017 Annual Grants Banquet opened with a strong statement: "Tonight let’s celebrate the things Trump hates the most: foreigners, the press and actually donating money to charity”, Handler said.
At the top of the evening Robert Pattinson, introduced by HFPA President Meher Tatna, announced the first grant to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a 36-year old non-profit organization focused on press freedom and journalist human rights around the world.
The Film Foundation, a longtime partner of the HFPA, had its grant announced by Dustin Hoffman, who recalled his first contact with the Golden Globes – as 1967’s best newcomer, at the storied Cocoanut Grove, in a ceremony hosted by John Wayne.
“By supporting the Film Foundation we are celebrating an art form that is almost 100 years old,” Hoffman said. “And, according to Marty Scorsese, ¼ of it is forever lost.” On a video prepared especially for the Annual Banquet, Scorsese thanked the HFPA and stressed the importance of preserving not only classic and acclaimed feature films, but “all films, be it known or not, documentary, industrials, home movies. Anything that can tell us who we are.”
Director Ava DuVernay reminded the audience that, between 1920 and 1930 300 films were directed by women. “Amazing how times have changed!” she added, before announcing grants to the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, a tuition-free three-year program that has already graduated 344 students since its inception in 1974. “We are a small but mighty crowd", DuVernay commented.
Other grantees in education included the Sundance Institute’s Labs – with a grant earmarked for foreign applicants; CalArts’ School of Animation; Columbia Film School; Film Independent’s Project Involve, which every year trains 30 filmmakers from underrepresented communities; and the LA County School for the Arts Foundation. “And when you become a professional in our industry, we would love to be in one of your movies”, said co-presenter Matt Bomer, to which, co-presenter Armie Hammer added: “Yes, please give us jobs!”
Introducing the grant to FilmAid, another longtime partner of the HFPA that provides entertainment and, now, training in visual arts to refugees, Patrick Stewart confessed: ”I was completely unaware of the HFPA’s charitable contributions. It is truly remarkable and I commend it.”
Closing the evening, Mark Hamill presented the grant that will create an endowed fellowship for international students at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. “I didn’t go there, I went to Los Angeles City College”, Hamill said. “But I’m very proud that my daughter graduated magna cum laude from USC. And of course someone I worked closely with went there – George Lucas”.