Academy Museum Opens

January 3, 2022

Following a week featuring a dedication and several opening events, the anticipated Academy Museum of Motion Pictures – of which American Cinema Editors is a Founding Supporter – opened to the public on Sept. 30 in the Saban Bulding (the old May Company building) on Wilshire Boulevard, designed by architect Renzo Piano, and including the 1,000 seat David Geffen Theater, 288-seat Ted Mann Theater, and Dolby Family Terrace atop an adjoining Sphere Building.

The core ‘Stories of Cinema’ exhibit spans three floors of the structure and contains many rooms and nooks devoted to the milieu of cinema and the craftspeople who have brought the art to life. This includes hundreds of artifacts related to the earliest years of moviemaking, into the Golden Age of Hollywood, and concludes with the most contemporary works. Many of the prominent areas involved in creating a film are given ample space in various galleries, with photographs, posters, properties and other wares, as well as digital projectors offering viewers actual footage, interviews and documentary materials.

The Significant Movies and Moviemakers gallery features six artists including Thelma Schoonmaker, ACE. Next to a large photo of Schoonmaker working on a flatbed editing machine, an explanatory card details how she first worked with Martin Scorsese in the 1960s after the two met at New York University, then returned to edit Scorsese’s films, starting with classic Raging Bull (1980). Since that masterpiece, Schoonmaker has collaborated with Scorsese on every one of his feature projects, totaling more than 20 films. An additional card divulges that Schoonmaker and Scorsese have innovated
many post-production techniques in their movies, conveying a deep understanding of the machinations and nuances of editing. An eight-plate Moviola is a part of this section of the exhibit.

In The Art of Moviemaking gallery, museum curators present myriad facets of the artistic work involved in making 1939 MGM classic The Wizard of Oz, including costume pieces worn by the actors, conceptual illustrations of fantastical characters and sets, and descriptions of the various directors assigned to the project. Additionally, a large photo blowup and informational card feature film editor Blanche Sewell who was individually selected by producer Mervyn LeRoy to cut the film at MGM.

One upper-level museum floor will feature rotating exhibits and is currently dedicated to the work of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. An upcoming special exhibition on AfricanAmericans in cinema has already been announced. No movie fan will leave the Academy Museum disappointed.

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