Mission Statement

The Metro Theatre Center Foundation supports a wide range of arts and social issues through its grants and support programs. This includes a wide range of the arts, including filmmaking, theatre, individual grants to artists working on personal projects, as well as social issues such as endangered homeless youth and low-income seniors.

Major Donors

Our long-time supporters, Michael and Joyce Axelrod, have made a major gift to the foundation. We very much appreciate their continued support of our work, our programs and our mission.

Major Donors

We wish to acknowledge Gabriel D. and Diana Weiss-Wisdom for their very generous gift to the foundation to help support our work, our mission and the future of our film preservation initiative.

It is with great pride that The Metro Theatre Center Foundation continues its commitment to the principle that the diverse voices of all people must be heard in film, television, literature and all forms of media. We are pleased to support a number of programs in these areas, as well as individual artists, so that their important work in the arts is kept vibrant and moving forward. All of us have stories to tell, stories that have meaning to others, stories that will bring both enlightenment and hope to all who see, hear or experience those stories. This year marks our 14th anniversary on this mission.

The foundation is also deeply involved in film preservation, specifically to save and make available for study and research historically and culturally significant home movies. Home movies are an important historical document of people, places and times. Many are in danger of being lost to neglect, disposal or being forgotten. In the past five years we have acquired and preserved more than 3,000 reels of home movies, including never-before-seen films of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Esther Merman, Marlon Brando, Natalie Wood, as well as magical moments from the home movies of regular people just like you. If you have home movies sitting in a box in the attic, now is the time to save them, so please contact us about them.

We cannot do this work without the financial support of our generous donors, and that is why we are asking for your help. The Metro Theatre Center Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Donations are tax-deductible.

You can make a donation by using the PayPal button on our website. You can also donate by check payable to The Metro Theatre Center Foundation, and mail it to us at P.O. Box 427418, San Francisco, CA 94142-7418. Thank you so much for your help.

Yours truly,

Shelly Bergren
Executive Director
The Metro Theatre Center Foundation

Foundation Support of Artists and Other Organizations

This is our third year at The Ninth Street Independent Film Center in San Francisco, working with our wonderful hosts and partners, The Center for Asian American Media on their Memories to Light Program.

In addition to our film preservation and scanning project, which is having its 5th anniversary this year, The Metro Theatre Center Foundation supports artists and other organizations dedicated to bringing a diversity of voices from the community to the public in order to educate and inform and inspire.

The wonderful thing about being in The Ninth Street Independent Film Center is that there are a number of other organizations with which we can interact and support, and which have provided support in return to our foundation’s programs, including the Frameline Film Festival, The Jewish Film Institute, The National Film Preservation Foundation, and The Ninth Street Independent Film Center, itself, to which we have donated a 10 x 20 foot green screen. The green screen is installed in the Screening Room of the building and rolls down easily for use on projects being created by any of the building resident.

Speaking of green, this is the first year that we have provided support to another Ninth Street organization, The Green Film Festival, specifically to their hospitality functions.

What we like about this festival is that they are using film and the media to open the eyes of the public to the many ways we can “green” our world. I think the cake that we supplied to the closing night party best describes both the mission and the effect that The Green Film Festival has on the world.

For more information about The Green Film Festival and its programs, please visit their website: Green Film Festival

Filmmaker Project Support

We have also provided access to our film scanning equipment to Jewish Film Institute Artist-in-Residence, Melinda Hess, for her documentary film project, Letters from Cloudcroft. Using our equipment, Melinda has been able to create high resolution digital scans of her father’s 8mm home movies, so that these can be incorporated in the amazing story that Melinda is telling. We have also provided access to Melinda to other film elements in our library to further expand the visual resources that will illuminate this fascinating tale of a young Jewish engineer from New York, working with former Nazi rocket scientists in New Mexico to develop the USA space program and ultimately putting the first man on the moon.

Letter from Cloudcroft Trailer
Filmmaker in Residence Page

Preservation of a “Lost” Snub Pollard Silent Comedy

The silent film era had many great comedians who never reached the level of fame achieved by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Sadly many of them are no longer remembered by the general public. Snub Pollard, was one of the better lesser-known comics. The foundation recently acquired a beautiful 16mm black and white print of one of his one-reel films, entitled “Cash Customers.” When we talked with a number of our archive partners in the USA and around the world, we learned that this might be the best surviving print of the film. No 35mm elements were located in our search. So, we had it scanned at Movette here in San Francisco to get a very high-resolution scan that would be needed for restoration work.

Then with the help of Rob Byrne, Board President of the Silent Film Festival, and his Diamant film restoration system and his amazing skill at bringing the film back to something closely resembling the original, the film has now been stabilized, corrected for speed, exposure and contrast. It is now ready for output to a new 35mm preservation negative and prints. This will assure a long life for this neglected little masterpiece of the silent screen.

If you are interested in underwriting or supporting the cost of the 35mm preservation elements, please contact Ron Merk at ron@indieplex.org.

The preservation elements (negative and two prints) will be deposited with the Library of Congress, The UCLA Film and Television Archives, and The Academy Film Archives for long-term preservation, study and screening. Additional prints may be created for archives abroad if funding is available.

Helping Others Do Preservation

The foundation recently donated a vintage record turntable to the sound preservation department of Francis Ford Coppola’s company American Zoetrope. It came from the personal collection of the late Cyrus E. Carr, whose family donated his entire home moving making equipment collection to us. Other items will sent to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum in Los Angeles.

Interview with Suzanne Lloyd

As part of a project that the foundation is doing to preserve home movies, we had the unique opportunity on June 1st to interview Suzanne Lloyd, the granddaughter of silent comedy film star, Harold Lloyd. Looking like a movie star herself, Suzanne regaled us with wonderful stories about what it was like being raised by her grandparents, and not knowing that Harold Lloyd was a movie star until they were invited to the Cannes Film Festival when Suzanne was 10 years old. This is part of a continuing project to record oral histories about our film culture and history. We are very grateful to Suzanne for her time and for sharing some of the most heart-warming stories we’ve ever heard told about a bona fide movie star like her grandfather, Harold Lloyd.

Memories to Light

Our foundation’s continuing partnership with The Center For Asian American Media continues for the fourth year. Sharing a film scanning facility and each other’s resources and expertise benefits everyone in the perfect sharing of parallel interests, to preserve and exhibit culturally and historically significant home movies. We thank all of CAAM collaborators, especially Executive Director, Stephen Gong, and Memories to Life project supervisor, Davin Agatep. We really appreciate being welcomed into the CAAM family.

Donate to support our programs

Help us establish a long-term endowment for the foundation and to expand our programs.

Checks should be made out to The Metro Theatre Center Foundation and mailed to: P.O. Box 427418, San Francisco, CA 94142-7418.
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