The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has announced its inaugural exhibitions, including the long-term exhibition Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies (working title). One of the most anticipated and important cultural events of 2019, the opening of the Academy Museum marks the debut of the first institution of its scope and scale devoted to the past, present, and future of cinema.
Where Dreams Are Made will occupy two floors and 30,000 square feet of the Museum’s newly restored Saban Building. The museum also announced its first temporary exhibitions, opening with Hayao Miyazaki (working title). Presented in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki is the first major exhibition of the celebrated filmmaker's work presented in the United States. This exhibition will be followed in the Fall of 2020 by Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900–1970, a groundbreaking exhibition that reveals the important and under-recognized history of African American filmmakers in the development of American cinema.
Director of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Kerry Brougher said, “We want the Academy Museum to add to the public’s understanding of the evolution of the art and science of filmmaking around the world—to increase appreciation for this great art form and encourage people to examine the role of movies in society. At the same time, we want to bring to life the most important reason of all for caring about the movies—because they’re magic. That’s why we intend to transport our visitors into a world that exists somewhere between reality and illusion. Like the experience of watching a movie, a trip to the Museum will be a kind of waking dream in which visitors feel as if they’ve slipped through the screen to see how the magic is created.”
The long-term exhibition, Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies will span 30,000 square feet on two floors of the Academy Museum. It brings together evocative settings, key objects from the Academy’s extraordinary collections and the growing collection of the museum itself, and an array of film installations.
The journey begins at the Spielberg Family Gallery in the Grand Lobby, with the installation Making of: The Wizard of Oz. The classic 1939 film is notable for its engaging story, groundbreaking effects, glorious Technicolor world, original musical score, and a cast of beloved characters. Visitors will experience the magic of the movie and explore the process of its creation, from the script to production design, costumes, hair and makeup tests, to the final versions of the characters themselves. Dorothy’s legendary ruby slippers from the Museum’s collection will be on view in this exhibit.
Located on the second floor, the Wanda Gallery will take visitors from the real world into the dream-space of cinema. They will emerge into the dramatic Magic and Motion gallery, which evokes the age of innovation and wonder in the 19th century, when inventors created optical illusions and animations with devices that delighted audiences by making still images move and light up.
The Lumière and Méliès gallery introduces a central theme of the exhibition—the interplay in cinema between realism and fantasy—as seen in the work of the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière, and Georges Méliès. Visitors will experience some of the earliest films ever projected, brief glimpses of daily life that were the forerunners of today’s documentaries and travelogues. The delightful “trick” films and dazzling moving image fantasies of Méliès anticipated the limitless potential of cinematic imagination in the earliest days of the medium.
The Story Films gallery inside the restored golden cylinder of the Saban Building will demonstrate how filmmakers around the world developed camera and editing techniques that unleashed this new medium’s potential to tell stories. Visitors will see examples of the first dramas, comedies, adventures, and other genres created for the screen, as well as the first animated short films. Women played significant roles both in front of and behind the camera during this period, and this gallery’s focus on early pioneers such as Alice Guy-Blaché and Lois Weber will not only explore their stories but also survey an industry in its infancy.
The Light and Shadow gallery features sequences from the heyday of international silent film, revealing how inventive production design, acting styles, cinematographic effects, and lighting techniques brought mood, atmosphere, and emotion to cinema, elevating it to an art form and entrancing audiences around the world.
In the Modern Times section, visitors will encounter three simultaneous moments in cinema history that demonstrate moviemakers’ ability to respond to and impact society. The first was the rise of Hollywood and powerful stars like Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin - larger-than-life figures who often created identifiable, sympathetic representations of the “everyman.” The second was the artistic and political eruption of Soviet cinema. The third was the development of independent filmmaking in America, which sought to counter the stereotypes often created by Hollywood.
Modern Times leads visitors to the largest of the second-floor galleries: The Studio System follows the bustle of the Hollywood assembly line from the advent of synchronized talking pictures in 1927 to the decline of the studio system in the 1960s. This gallery explores the fascinating dichotomy of the era: the “dream” of Hollywood spectacle and the “factory” that made it possible. Here, objects from the Academy’s collection, such as a backdrop from Singin’ in the Rain (1952), the doors to Rick’s Café Américain from Casablanca (1942), and the typewriter used to write Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), as well as familiar faces and scenes from the movies themselves will bring to life the myriad people and departments that came together to create studio movies of the time. This gallery also highlights many of the era’s greatest stars, from the dancing talents of Fred Astaire, the Nicholas Brothers, and Rita Moreno to the dramatic presence of Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck, and Sidney Poitier, and icons of the screen like Greta Garbo, Dolores del Rio, and Marilyn Monroe.
The third-floor Rolex Gallery represents the Real World. This space will reveal how filmmakers responded to the tensions and challenges of a world changed by World War II. As filmmaking techniques became more and more adaptable, with lighter-weight and more widely available equipment, filmmakers took to the streets to capture their version of reality and share slices of life on screen. Whether creating fiction films or documentaries, they helped record and shape our history.
An homage to the Stargate Corridor sequence from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)—a sequence that brought together experimental film techniques and mainstream cinema—creates a mind-bending passageway to the final section of the exhibition: Imaginary World. With the advent of new tools and technologies, cinematic visions are now limited only by the filmmaker’s imagination. Visitors will be transported to unfamiliar worlds of the past, present, and future to encounter many of the most memorable and beloved movie characters, creatures, and destinations, and to hear from the filmmakers themselves how they have pushed the boundaries of filmmaking to make the impossible possible.
Since 1929, the Academy Awards have been the ultimate recognition of moviemaking excellence. Originally a dinner for industry insiders only, the ceremony has gradually become a global phenomenon watched by millions around the world. Visitors can trace the rich history of the Academy Awards and the story of the Oscar in an exhibition that includes favorite highlights, memorable winners’ speeches, private backstage moments, and rarely seen materials from the Academy’s collection. Visitors will then enter a gallery offering an Oscars experience only the Academy can provide: visitors will get their own photo op and Oscar moment.
The Academy Museum will also feature rotating temporary exhibitions in the fourth floor’s Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery. These exhibitions will include retrospectives of major filmmakers, focused studies on aspects of filmmaking, artists’ projects, and explorations of the way movies reflect and influence society.
The Academy Museum’s opening temporary exhibition will be an unprecedented U.S. retrospective of famed Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, curated by Jessica Niebel in collaboration with Studio Ghibli. Celebrated and admired around the world for his imagination, vision, craftsmanship, and deeply humanistic values, Miyazaki continues to influence generations of filmmakers and film lovers. The exhibition will take visitors on a thematic journey through his cinematic worlds using original production materials from Studio Ghibli’s archives and features such films as My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Spirited Away (2001). The exhibition will present more than 200 concept sketches, character designs, storyboards, layouts, cels, backgrounds, film clips, and immersive environments. A catalogue, film series, and public events will accompany the presentation, and unique Studio Ghibli merchandise will be sold at the museum’s shop.
In the Museum’s Hurd Gallery—a 34-foot-high project space dedicated to the work of contemporary artists and filmmakers pushing the boundaries of moving image media—will be a dramatic interactive installation by teamLab, curated by Kerry Brougher and Deborah Horowitz. teamLab is an interdisciplinary art collective based in Tokyo comprising more than 500 artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, and architects. Transcending Boundaries presents a site-specific, real-time, ever-changing environment that allows the viewer to engage directly with the artwork itself.
To encourage visitors to explore, dive deeper, and directly interact with exhibitions, collections, filmmakers, and fellow film lovers, the museum’s public programs will include panel discussions, symposia, gallery talks, and other public events. The 288-seat Ted Mann Theater will offer daily thematic and exhibition-related screenings, and special showings and events will be held at the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater.