Saturday, February 16, 2008

Academy Select Two as Film Scholars

The evolution of color in motion pictures and the corporate history of RKO Radio Pictures will be the topics explored by John Belton and Richard B. Jewell, respectively, the eighth pair of Academy Film Scholars selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Institutional Grants Committee of the Academy Foundation, the educational wing of the Academy, 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.

Belton, a professor of film at Rutgers University since 1995, will trace the evolution of color in motion pictures from novelty to norm and seek to explain the 70-year delay in this transformation through an analysis of the technological, economic and ideological forces that influenced its development. His book will be titled From Paintbrush to Paintbox: A History of Motion Picture Color.

Jewell, the Hugh M. Hefner Professor of American Film in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, will examine the history of major studio RKO Radio Pictures with a focus on the major studio’s numerous executives, their production, distribution and exhibition philosophies and their differing approaches to the business of motion pictures. His book will be tit­led RKO Radio Pictures: A Corporate History.

The new Academy Film Scholars will receive the first half of their $25,000 grant at a luncheon this spring. The remaining half will be presented upon completion of the manuscripts, when Belton and Jewell 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.”

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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