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Cheryl Boone Isaacs: 1st African American President of the Academy

Cheryl Boone IsaacsLast week Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an established film marketer, was named the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. What makes the election of Ms. Isaacs so notable is that she is the first African American to be elected to serve as leader in the 86 years of the Academy’s existence. She is also the third woman to hold the office of President. The previous woman who had the honor was Fay Kanin, who was in office from 1979 to 1983, and in 1941 Bette Davis held the position for two weeks.

Ms. Isaacs credits her brother Ashley, who was a film marketing and distribution executive who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 1994, with helping guide her career.

On her first day on the job Ms. Isaacs spoke of her brother. “He taught me a lot about films — I enjoyed watching movies anyway, but because of that personal attachment, it grew into something even bigger, and I followed his path into the business. He represented a great historical period — he was ahead of his time — and I’m just thrilled to be able to follow in those footsteps as many others have followed.”

When asked about the rise of women within the Academy, Ms. Isaacs says, “It’s a great thing. I certainly applaud our past presidents and Dawn [Hudson, CEO of Academy Museum] in their efforts to diversify our members and our leadership. It’s been successful. We will always look for the cream of the crop, the very best and the folks at the top of their profession. What has been terrific is how many women have come in. We need to really pump up the diversity of minorities that continue to make movies and welcome as many as possible into the Academy. It is really the advancement of women and minorities within the industry across the board and that’s what great. It’s about making opportunities and leadership throughout our industry which then would impact the involvement here within the Academy.”

It is an exciting time to be a filmmaker!

Image Credit: PR Photos

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