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New Publisher For Afi's American Film Magazine

November 19, 1985|JANE GREENSTEIN | Greenstein, a Times intern, is majoring in journalism at USC. and

A new publishing arrangement has been set up for American Film, the magazine of the American Film Institute.

The institute has entered into an agreement with the AMS Foundation for Arts, Science and Humanities to publish the magazine jointly beginning Jan. 1.

AFI's partnership with AMS, a Washington-based cultural and philanthropic organization established by Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (the name reflects his initials), will prompt several changes in the structure of the 10-year-old magazine. American Film's offices will be moved from Washington to New York, to broaden the publication's advertising base and increase involvement in the mainstream publishing community.

James A. Clements has been named executive publisher of American Film, which focuses on both film and television. Clements is president of MD Publications, an independent publishing firm owned by Sackler, which will publish and distribute American Film. The magazine is received by AFI members and is also available at newsstands. Clements said no changes in editorial content are expected, although the magazine will be redesigned. American Film editor Peter Biskind and publisher Margaret Byrne Heimbold will retain their positions.

"Our organization wanted to get more involved with the performing arts," AMS attorney Michael Sonnenreich said of the joint venture. "The AFI had approached us about obtaining grants and we countered with a proposal to help the magazine. We felt it was better to turn the magazine into a profit-making publication than just give them a lump sum. It's like the old Chinese proverb--you can give them fish to eat, or teach them how to fish so they have food for a long time. We'd rather teach them how to fish."

American Film amassed a 10% deficit in fiscal year 1985. The financial contribution AMS will make to the publication won't be decided for at least three months, according to AFI chairman of the board of trustees Richard Brandt. He said the contribution would be in "six figures." AFI director Jean Firstenberg hopes the partnership with AMS Foundation will lead to an increase in AFI membership from 135,000 to 200,000 by 1988.

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