Filmex Agrees to Merge With Cinematheque : Weintraub Resigns as Chairman of Festival

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles International Film Exposition board voted unanimously Tuesday to merge with the American Cinematheque and, although no formal decision was made regarding Filmex's 1986 festival, Chairman Jerry Weintraub said it will probably be postponed at least until fall.

Weintraub, who became chairman of the debt-ridden organization last summer, said he will resign his position as soon as the merger with the American Cinematheque is completed.

William Magee, a vice president at Atlantic Richfield and former chairman of the Filmex board, will act as interim president, run the day-to-day Filmex business and supervise the merger committee, Weintraub said.

Weintraub, a former concert promoter and talent manager who became a successful film producer with such box-office hits as "Nashville" and "The Karate Kid," said he is too busy with his current job as chief executive of the new United Artists to devote time to Filmex.

Weintraub is one of the entertainment industry's top fund-raisers, and his appointment as Filmex chairman was expected to alleviate the organization's $270,000 debt and bring in an infusion of both industry talent and capital to put the festival on a sound financial and promotional footing.

Film and Video Complex

Filmex' 15-year-history has been laced with money problems and personality conflicts, which culminated three years ago in the board's ouster of Gary Essert, Filmex's founder and artistic director.

Essert has since become involved in the planning of American Cinematheque, a film and video complex that will begin operation in late 1987 when it moves into the Art Deco building at Beverly and Fairfax boulevards that was once the Pan Pacific Auditorium.

"It would be wonderful to work together again," said Essert, who is now serving as the Cinematheque's artistic director.

American Cinematheque is patterned after Paris' Cinematheque Francais, which is devoted to the appreciation and promotion of film as art. American Cinematheque's board, which includes an influential blend of film industry executives and film makers, earlier voted unanimously to merge with Filmex.

Essert said Monday that a merger with Filmex would serve a healing purpose in the industry and makes practical sense because both groups rely on fund raising in the same community.

When Weintraub became Filmex chairman, he announced plans to turn the annual festival, normally held in the spring, into a more mainstream event, using the film industry's resources. He said he would tie the 1986 festival to the 50th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America.

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