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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announces programming

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles has announced the programs guests will be able to experience in person when the museum opens its doors on Sept. 30, 2021, as well as virtual programming that will begin around the time of the 93rd Academy Awards, which will be presented on April 25, 2021.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Photo courtesy of Academy Museum Foundation

“When I moved to Los Angeles in 1998 […] I noticed there were few places that truly recognized the roles that movies played in our lives and in the life of this city,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chair of the Academy Museum’s Board of Trustees. “How could there be no film center in the global center of film? Well, all that’s about to change.”

Housed in a spectacular campus designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop that includes the iconic 1939 Los Angeles landmark “May Company” building, the Academy Museum’s unique programs will include panel discussions with leaders in the film industry, screenings, workshops, gallery tours, and educational opportunities for families and students, all designed to illuminate the world of the movies to people of all ages. The museum’s reach will also be extended worldwide through its website and social media channels.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Saban Building
Photo by Josh White

“We have been hard at work preparing the Academy Museum and are ready to welcome visitors first virtually and then in person in September,” said Jacqueline Stewart, the museum’s chief artistic and programming officer. “ The programs we are rolling out for our opening are dynamic, diverse, and deeply grounded in the history and artistry of filmmaking. Whether they are recognizing Hollywood legends, delving into the working process of film professionals, or addressing issues of race, gender, sexuality, and inequity that run through film history, these programs will use the power of movies and stories of filmmakers to open eyes and minds.”

The Academy Museum Pre-Opening Programs

In April, the Academy Museum website will launch a series of virtual programs intended to serve as “digital prologues” to the museum’s three-floor core exhibition – Stories of Cinema. This programing will begin on April 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. PT, with “Breaking the Oscars Ceiling,” a conversation with women who achieved historic Oscars milestones, including actor Sophia Loren, actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, actor Marlee Matlin, and singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Also launching on April 22, the museum’s website will feature historical content on the Oscars and Hollywood: the Academy Awards History Timeline, an interactive experience that previews the museum’s gallery of Academy Awards History and Hollywood Past and Present, a virtual tour of Oscars-related locations.

Academy Museum pre-opening virtual programming will include the following screenings and conversations:

  • May 6, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. PT – “Pariah” (2011): The cast and crew of this groundbreaking fiction debut of writer/director Dee Rees reunite to discuss the conception, production, and impact of this coming-of-age story.
  • May 18, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. PT Hildur Guðnadóttir: A virtual conversation between the Oscar-winning musician and composer (“Joker,” 2019) and Academy Museum Exhibitions Curator Jenny He about Guðnadóttir’s work and her approach to designing the museum’s Composer’s Inspiration gallery.
  • June 5, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. PT – Hayao Miyazaki Family Day: An introduction for families to the world of Hayao Miyazaki’s films through a day of events, including art-making workshops and live performances.
  • June 19, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. PT – How to Use Film as a Teaching Tool to Have Difficult Conversations: A series of workshops for educators and caregivers.
  • July 8, 2021 at 7 p.m. PT The Work of Black VFX Artists: A celebration of the accomplishments of six visual effects professionals in a candid discussion about perseverance and the shared experiences of black film artists in the industry, including unprecedented access into their creative process via break-out sessions with visual effects professionals Lyndon Barrois, Lauren Ellis, Audrea Topps-Harjo, Greg Anderson, Andrew Roberts, and Corey Turner.
  • Sept. 7, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. PT Spike Lee: A virtual conversation with the trailblazing writer-director, exploring how his vast personal collection represents his many cinematic muses in the museum’s Director’s Inspiration gallery.
  • Sept. 16, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. PT – “Y tu mamá también” (2001): A celebration of the creative partnership between three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki and four-time Oscar-winning writer-director Alfonso Cuaron (this event will be in Spanish with English subtitles).

Academy Museum Opening Programs  

When the Academy Museum opens on Sept. 30, 2021, visitors will not only have the opportunity to experience its immersive exhibits, but also a wide range of programming, including screenings in the Academy Museum’s two theaters—the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater (housed in the museum’s spherical structure) and the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater—presented with state-of-the-art sound and projection in multiple film and digital formats.

David Geffen Theater
David Geffen Theater – Photo by Iwan Baan

The Academy Museum film screenings will include the following:  

  • Branch Selects – Films selected by each of the Academy’s 17 branches representing meaningful breakthroughs in the evolution of their craft.
  • Exhibition-inspired series expanding on the themes, films, and filmmakers in the museum’s galleries.
  • Oscar Sundays – screenings of Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning films, as well as behind-the-scenes looks inside the Academy and the Academy Awards.
  • Filmmakers’ Inspiration expands on the gallery spaces curated by Pedro Almodóvar, Hildur Guðnadóttir, and Spike Lee with films they select highlighting their own works and movies that have influenced them.
  • Preservation Spotlights showcasing recently preserved films from archives around the world.Retrospectives offer surveys of a filmmaker’s entire body of work.
  • Shorts in the Geffen – daily screenings celebrating short-form filmmaking creativity (including live-action, documentary, and animated).

The museum will also host engaging conversations, panels, symposia, and lectures such as inviting family members of Hollywood legends to discuss the legacy of film artists and provide first-hand insights, providing information and context about breakthrough scientific and technical achievements in filmmaking, celebrating anniversaries of notable films, and inviting audiences to follow the journey of iconic objects such as the Bruce the Shark model from “Jaws” (1975) and the ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939).

“The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has long been a dream of the Academy, the city of Los Angeles, and the film industry,” said Bill Kramer, Academy Museum director and president. “Our exhibitions and programming will draw from the Academy’s vast and growing collection and the extraordinary insights, expertise, and commitment of our Academy members. These resources make the museum unparalleled in what it will offer: an exceptional combination of long-term exhibitions, temporary exhibitions, film screenings, public programs, and educational programs, all presented here in Los Angeles, the movie capitol of the world.”

Stories of Cinema Encounters Gallery
Stories of Cinema Encounters Gallery – Image by WHY Architecture

Themed, interactive 45-minute guided tours of the Academy Museum will be offered during the week, as well as family tours, accommodative tours (including for the low vision, blind, hard of hearing, and deaf communities), and 15-minute “Gallery Highlights” presentations. Guided tours and Gallery Highlights will be free with museum admission, and free audio tours will also be available in English, Spanish, and Korean.

Click here for more information about the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

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