The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is deeply saddened by the loss of Honorary Trustee George Gund III. George's zest for life was matched by his passion for cinema, and he was instrumental in developing BAM/PFA into one of the nation’s leading film venues and archives.
A supporter of the Pacific Film Archive from the beginning, George provided the funding that enabled BAM/PFA to build its first secure and climate-controlled storage vault, a key step for the then young institution. With the new vaults, BAM/PFA was able to better care for and expand its collection, engage in film loans with archives worldwide, and become a respected and active full member of the International Federation of Film Archives.
During the Cold War years, George championed film directors living and working behind the Iron Curtain. With his assistance, BAM/PFA became a showcase for and built a collection of Eastern European and Soviet films, many of which were banned or censored in their country of origin.
Former PFA Director Edith Kramer recalls George's informal, spontaneous acts of generosity, especially his decision to finance the film vaults as well as a much-needed renovation of the theater: while herding cattle on horseback during a summer roundup on his ranch, George offered what was then the largest single donation to PFA. But with typical modesty, George needed all our persuasion to lend his name to the theater. His only request: to be allowed to watch films late at night.
We will miss George and are forever grateful for the foundational role he played in BAM/PFA.