Ira M. Resnick
The Ira M. Resnick Foundation is a private foundation that supports local, national and international charities, focusing mainly on film, theater, education, mental health and global sustainability & development. By creating and actively managing this foundation, Ira and his wife, Paula, have continued a long-standing Resnick family tradition of philanthropy.
Paula Stamler Resnick
Founder and Executive Director, Ira M. Resnick Foundation
Ira's wife, Paula Resnick, with the support of Ira's foundation, founded The Meeting House program in the Fall of 2010 in New York City. Paula’s inspiration to develop The Meeting House came from her personal family experience. She saw that the social opportunities available to her daughter, as she progressed through elementary school in Manhattan, were shrinking instead of expanding. After participating in The Meeting House for 6 years, her 13 year old daughter Samantha is now a middle school mentor serving as a role model to younger community members.
Paula holds a BA from Northwestern and a Master’s in Public Administration and Management from New York University. She has been involved in local philanthropy for many years as both a funder and fundraiser and has served on boards and committees of various charities in education, global development, healthcare, arts- in-education and aging. For almost two decades she was an executive in the national healthcare field managing all aspects of operations and marketing for healthcare facilities throughout the east coast.
In addition to her responsibilities as Executive Director for the foundation, Paula is currently the President of the Board of Trustees and Executive Director of The Meeting House.
“Movie posters during the days of classic Hollywood, particularly under the studio system, were a film’s main promotional vehicle”
IRA M. RESNICK
Ira’s passion for cinema led him to attend the New York University Film School, where he was taught by Martin Scorsese, among others. After graduating in 1971, he landed several jobs in the film industry, including production assistant for Badlands, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. He also served as associate producer for a Broadway run of “Lysistrata,” with Melina Mercouri, which closed after a mere eight performances.
Seeking a more personal form of self-expression, Ira decided to turn his attention to another of his passions, photography. So emulating his heroes Edward Weston and Robert Frank, he loaded up his car with cameras and trekked on a soul-searching cross-Canada trip, chronicling his adventure with hundreds of color and black and white photos of people and places along the way.
The photographic journal he created traveling through New Brunswick, Quebec, Calgary, Alberta, Saskatchewan and points west encompasses everything from ice-covered Victorian architecture and stark Canadian landscapes to costumed street performers, farmers, factories and school kids.
Along the way he learned something about himself as well, that photography was more than just his passion, he could also make it his profession.
“They were integrally connected to every aspect of a film’s production and release, and each one tells a different story.”
IRA M. RESNICK
When he reached the Pacific, Ira turned south, eventually settling in Mill Valley in the San Francisco Bay area, where he discovered a city full of the kinds of art houses and movie cinema collectible stores he loves. There he met Jose Carpio, who ran a café and poster gallery called Cinemonde on Polk Street, which would become a major source of inspiration for when Ira would later open his own gallery.
Ira soon moved to Hollywood and embarked on a decade-long career as a professional photographer, capturing images throughout the 1970s of famous rock performances and stars, including the Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney and Wings and many others, as well as up-and-coming actors, actresses and performers like a very young Bill Paxton, Sissy Spacek, Robert Klein, Lily Tomlin, Annie Potts, the 1978 cast of Saturday Night Live and many more. He sent many of his photos overseas as part of his work for Media Press International and Globe Photos. He also documented some very eclectic “collections” – everything from Satanic memorabilia at a house in Bolinas, CA to Rock Hudson’s assortment of sculpted male nudes – all for a magazine called “Collector’s Voice.”
“When you look at a poster, you’re reaching back to the people, the art and the history of great filmmaking.”
IRA M. RESNICK
Throughout the ‘70s Ira continued to collect vintage movie art wherever he could find it. He haunted flea markets, cinema memorabilia shops and even Sotheby’s and Christie’s along with many smaller auction houses as well. In the process he created a vast collection including thousands of posters and stills spanning the years 1912 to 1962. In addition to his extensive catalog of official film memorabilia, Ira has thousands of photographs from his days as a professional photographer in California and New York City, many of which have never been published.
By the early ‘80s, Ira had become one of the world’s largest private collectors of vintage movie art. He was strongly motivated to share his collection with others, and to continue expanding it as well. He decided the best way to accomplish both these goals would be to open his own gallery. So on December 7, 1982, he opened the Motion Picture Arts Gallery in New York City, the first gallery devoted exclusively to the art of the movies.
“I bought my first film posters forty years ago, and I still have all three.”
IRA M. RESNICK
Ira's book from Abbeville Press, Starstruck: Vintage Movie Posters from Classic Hollywood, is a way for him to share his collection and his passion with everyone who loves movies worldwide.
In the book, he guides readers through his favorite posters and stills, providing a personal tour of cinematic history from the silent era through 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In addition to chapters about his own background and the development of his collection, Ira devotes two chapters to “The Golden Age of the Talkies” separately discussing the male and female stars that defined the era from 1927 to 1941.
He also includes a chapter on silent films and stars, explores many of Hollywood’s legendary directors and classic films, and devotes another chapter to critiquing fantastic graphic art from little-known films.
One of New York’s most enthusiastic and involved film aficionados, Ira served as chairman of the board of the Film Society of Lincoln Center from 1999 to 2005 and remains a trustee. Some of the projects he worked on at the Film Society include the launch of the “Golden Silents” film series in which orchestras perform to screenings of classic silent films, as well as a major film restoration projects and the establishment of a new film center, scheduled to open in 2011.
Ira is on the board of City Center and The San Francisco International Silent Film Festival. Through the Ira M. Resnick foundation, which he founded in 1994, he provides help to a wide range of performing arts organizations, services for the elderly, Jewish organizations, environmental initiatives and other worthy causes. He resides in New York City with his wife and two children.