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Film academy taps Sid Ganis as president

August 25, 2005|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

VETERAN producer and former studio chief Sid Ganis has been elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the 29th president in a line that stretches back to Douglas Fairbanks and the birth of the Oscars.

Ganis was elected Tuesday night by the organization's board of governors, succeeding writer-director Frank Pierson, who had served the maximum four consecutive one-year terms.

Ganis said Wednesday that one of his first priorities in office will be selecting a producer for the 78th annual Academy Awards, which will be telecast March 5 on ABC.

"We should do it pretty soon," Ganis said. "We haven't decided yet. It takes a long time to put on a big show like the Academy Awards." He noted that next year's Oscars show was moved a week later because of a conflict with the closing night of the Winter Olympics.

In addition, Robert Rehme, a past academy president, was elected first vice president, and the organization's actor branch governor Tom Hanks and music branch governor Arthur Hamilton were elected vice presidents. Sound branch governor Donald C. Rogers was elected treasurer, and actors branch governor Kathy Bates was elected secretary.

Ganis' election comes at a time when the motion picture industry is witnessing startling advances in technology, yet attendance at movie theaters has declined significantly for three consecutive years.

"I think the motion picture business is safe and sound," he said. "Through it all, good films are there and will always have a presence."

As for the advances in computer wizardry, he added: "Technology is changing every minute-and-a-half. How we, the academy, look upon those changes is something we look at all the time."

Ganis served for five years as studio chief at Paramount Pictures and later as vice chairman of Columbia Pictures. In 1996, he founded his production company Out of the Blue ... Entertainment, which is housed on the Sony Pictures Entertainment lot. He is currently in post-production on "Akeelah and the Bee" for Lions Gate Entertainment and is in pre-production on the movie version of the classic TV comedy "I Dream of Jeannie" for Columbia. Ganis also produced the Adam Sandler comedies "Mr. Deeds" and "Big Daddy."

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