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Academy Selects 2009 Film Scholars


Beverly Hills, CA — The master of the Hollywood montage sequence and the business activities of Twentieth Century-Fox between the years of 1935 and 1965 will be the topics explored by Anne Friedberg and Peter Lev, respectively, who have been selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as the ninth pair of Academy Film Scholars.

The Academy’s Institutional Grants Committee selected the two scholars for the honor on the basis of their manuscript proposals. Each will receive $25,000 from the Academy to aid in the research and writing of their respective projects.

Friedberg, the chair of the Critical Studies Division in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, will explore the life and work of Slavko Vorkapic, known throughout his career as Hollywood’s resident montage expert. Her book will examine Vorkapic’s comprehensive filmography as a special effects cinematographer and montage sequence unit director as well as how his work has influenced subsequent generations of film writers, directors and editors. The book will be titled Montage in Hollywood: The Cinematics of Slavko Vorkapic.

Lev, a professor of electronic media and film at Towson University in Maryland, will delve into the history of Twentieth Century-Fox during the three-decade period the studio was helmed by Darryl Zanuck and Spyros Skouras. The book will focus on both the studio’s Los Angeles-based production business and the New York-based distribution and exhibition business as well as the executives who ran them. It will also examine the contributions of the artists behind many of Fox’s successes including John Ford, Elia Kazan, Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe, and Gregory Peck. Lev’s book will be tit­led Twentieth Century-Fox: The Zanuck-Skouras Years.

The new Academy Film Scholars will receive the first half of their $25,000 grant at a luncheon this April. The remaining half will be presented upon completion of the manuscripts, when Friedberg and Lev will present their projects in lecture form at a public Academy event.

Established in 1999, the Academy Film Scholars program is designed to “stimulate and support the creation of new and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures.”

Friedberg and Lev join 12 other Academy Film Scholars who are currently working on projects: Tino Balio, University of Wisconsin Madison; John Belton, Rutgers University; Donald Crafton, University of Notre Dame; Jane Gaines, Duke University; Jan-Christopher Horak, University of California, Los Angeles; David E. James, University of Southern California; Richard B. Jewell, University of Southern California; Stuart Liebman, Queens College of the City University of New York; Charles Musser, Yale University; Steven J. Ross, University of Southern California; Shelley Stamp, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Emily Thompson, Princeton University.

Academy Film Scholars who have completed projects are writer Cari Beauchamp; Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University; Dana Polan, New York University; and David Rodowick, Harvard University.

For grant guidelines and information about the Academy Film Scholars program, contact Grants Coordinator Shawn Guthrie at (310) 247-3000, ext. 306, via e-mail at, or visit


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