Museum Will be a Film Center that Will Offer Immersive Visitor Experiences; Board of Trustees Expands with Appointments of Emma Thomas and Dominic Ng

April 16, 2018

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a major new institution in the heart of Los Angeles dedicated to the art and science of movies around the world, will open in mid-2019. Located in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, the 300,000-square-foot Academy Museum, designed by Renzo Piano with Renzo Piano Building Workshop, will be a dynamic film center—at once experiential, educational, and entertaining. 

“The Academy Museum will be a hub for film lovers where people from across the city and around the world can enjoy, learn, and engage with movies and moviemakers,” said Academy Museum Director Kerry Brougher. “For more than 120 years, cinema has been central to global culture and the way we perceive, question, and, at times, escape the world around us. We want to give visitors a place to explore and discuss the impact of film. We hope to transport visitors to a cinematic environment, somewhere between reality and illusion. Like watching a movie, visitors will enter a waking dream—one in which they go inside the movies to experience their magic, as well as the art and science that makes that magic possible.”

Helping Brougher and the museum’s creative team achieve this vision in its permanent exhibition is Oscar-winning (for Avatar, 2010 and Lincoln, 2013) film production designer Rick Carter

The new Museum continues to expand its governance, announcing two new appointments to its Board of Trustees: Emma Thomas, a film producer who has worked on films such as Dunkirk, Interstellar, Inception, and The Dark Knight; and Dominic Ng, the Chairman and CEO of East West Bank named by Forbes as one of the 25 most notable Chinese Americans and by the Los Angeles Times as one of the 100 most influential people in Los Angeles. Ron Meyer, Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, said, “I’m thrilled to welcome Emma Thomas and Dominic Ng to the Board. Their participation adds wisdom and strength to our leadership, as we enter the final phase of preparing the Renzo Piano-designed Academy Museum experience for all movie lovers worldwide to enjoy.”

Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Academy Museum, said, "Our museum will give movie fans around the world access to the rich archival resources of the Academy’s collections, and is poised to be a new cultural landmark for the city of Los Angeles. I am thankful for the unwavering support of the Academy’s Board of Governors, the Museum’s Board of Trustees, our campaign chairs Bob Iger, Annette Bening, and Tom Hanks, and our community of extraordinary donors who have generously stepped forward to build this new home for the art of film.”

Renzo Piano said, “The Academy Museum gives us the opportunity to honor the past while creating a building for the future—in fact, for the possibility of many futures. The historic Saban Building is a wonderful example of Streamline Moderne style, which preserves the way people envisioned the future in 1939. The new structure, the Sphere Building, is a form that seems to lift off the ground into the perpetual, imaginary voyage through space and time that is moviegoing. By connecting these two experiences we create something that is itself like a movie. You go from sequence to sequence, from the exhibition galleries to the film theater and the terrace, with everything blending into one experience.”

Brougher added, “I’m profoundly grateful to the Museum’s Board of Trustees, the Academy’s Board of Governors, Renzo Piano, and his associates at Renzo Piano Building Workshop for making this long-anticipated dream a reality.” 

The Museum Experience
The Academy Museum will feature 50,000 square feet of exhibition galleries, two theaters, cutting-edge project spaces, an outdoor piazza, a rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills, an interactive education studio, a restaurant, and a museum shop. Renzo Piano’s design for the Museum campus comprises two distinct structures: the restored and renovated Saban Building—a designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument—and a new, soaring Sphere Building, featuring the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and the spectacular, glass-domed Dolby Family Terrace. 

The Museum has set three interpretative goals for its exhibitions and programs: to convey the emotional and imaginative power of the movies, to offer visitors a look behind the screen into how movies are made, and to explore the impact of the movies on our society and the culture at large.

A permanent exhibition will be installed on the Museum’s second and third floors. A journey through time, this exhibition will surround visitors with a series of immersive environments, each of which will combine evocative sets and lighting, large-scale moving images, costumes, props, and sound installations to represent a different stage in the unfolding story of film around the world. The Museum will offer a visitor experience that reveals the behind-the-scenes magic of moviemaking while never losing the illusion of being immersed in a cinematic world.

Entering the exhibition visitors will experience the innovations that emerged from early experiments to convert still images into an illusion of lifelike movement, the development of methods to piece together compelling, fantastical stories out of silent pictures, and the creation of dazzling ways to evoke atmosphere and mood using the fundamentals of light and shadow. This first sequence in this journey culminates with Hollywood’s Golden Age highlighting the systematization of the studio’s dream factory. Continuing on the third floor, visitors will experience how filmmakers broke free of the soundstage in the post-studio era, moving as never before into the real world. Acknowledging the interplay throughout film history between realism and fantasy, the final section of the exhibition takes visitors to places of pure imagination they can visit only in the movies, showing how filmmakers continue to push beyond the possible and invent new worlds. 

In addition to this core installation, the Museum will offer an ever-changing schedule of presentations in its temporary exhibition galleries. These shows will include retrospectives of major filmmakers, focused explorations of specific aspects of filmmaking, artists’ projects, and thematic explorations of cultural and social issues. Seamlessly combining world-class collection objects and immersive experiences, both the permanent and temporary exhibitions will draw from the unparalleled holdings of the Academy, including the Museum’s own collection of motion picture technology, costume design, production design, makeup and hairstyling, promotional materials, and awards.

The 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater located in the Sphere Building will be an unforgettable part of each visitor’s experience and a hub for major film events including premieres and special presentations with the world’s leading filmmakers. The intimate, 288-seat Ted Mann Theater will offer daily film screenings ranging from Saturday morning matinees for children of all ages to global cinema series. Both theaters will be home to an array of live performances, lectures, panels, and other events that will bring the most notable artists working in film to Los Angeles. They will be equipped to present film as it was intended to be seen—whether 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, laser projection, and even nitrate.

Museum Leadership and Curatorial Teams 
Ron Meyer, the distinguished entertainment industry executive, is the Chair of the Museum’s growing Board of Trustees. Meyer is Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal and with 23 years as the head of the studio, he is the longest serving studio chief. He is also a co-founder and former President of Creative Artists Agency. 

In addition to Ron Meyer, the Board of Trustees comprises Ted Sarandos (Vice-Chair), Kimberly Steward (Secretary), Jason Blum (Treasurer), John Bailey, Jim Gianopulos, Tom Hanks, Dawn Hudson, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Dominic Ng, Emma Thomas, Diane von Furstenberg, and Kevin Yeaman. 

In addition to Kerry Brougher, the Academy Museum’s senior leadership team includes Katharine DeShaw, Deputy Director, Advancement and External Relations; and Deborah Horowitz, Deputy Director, Creative Content and Programming.

The Museum’s curatorial team includes Jessica Niebel, Acting Head of Curatorial Affairs; Doris Berger, Exhibition Curator; Bernardo Rondeau, Associate Curator and Head of Film Programs; J. Raul Guzman, Curatorial Assistant; Dara Jaffe, Curatorial Assistant; Robert Reneau, Film Program Coordinator; and Ana Santiago, Curatorial Assistant. 

Support for the Academy Museum
The Academy Museum’s Trustees join with other leadership donors in supporting the $388 million capital campaign. Leadership donors include Cheryl and Haim Saban, The David Geffen Foundation, Dalian Wanda Group, Dolby Laboratories/Family of Ray Dolby, The Walt Disney Company, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg. For a full list of the Museum’s Founding Supporters, click here.


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