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After Backlash About Minimal Jewish and Black Representation, Academy Museum Course Corrects

Six months after the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opened to a chorus of critics sending mixed messages about its lack of scope and choices of representation, museum director Bill Kramer is revealing a full season of programs through 2022-2023 that include the previously announced “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971” and new permanent exhibition “Hollywoodland,” that will focus on the predominantly Jewish founders of the early Hollywood studio system and how their personal narratives shaped the movies their studios produced.

“Hollywoodland” will open in late Spring 2023, and will trace the history of filmmaking in Los Angeles to the beginning of the 20th century. According to the release, “it will foreground the ways in which the birth of the American film industry — and therefore the projected depiction of the American Dream — is truly an immigrant story.”

Also coming are galleries devoted to Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and the influences of French auteur Agnès Varda and World War II classic “Casablanca,” as well as an exhibition focused on John Singleton’s groundbreaking “Boyz n the Hood.”

The new museum season begins in August with “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971,” which will explore the history of Black cinema and feature the work of artists like Sidney Poitier and Lena Horne in “a research-driven, in-depth look at Black participation in American filmmaking,” according to the Academy press release. “It will highlight the work of independent Black filmmakers from the dawn of cinema to the civil rights movement.”

“The Art of Moviemaking: ‘The Godfather’” opens November 3 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the film’s release. On the same day, the museum will also open “Director’s Inspiration: Agnès Varda,” which will explore the elements of the legendary filmmaker’s personal life that influenced her work.

The Significant Movies and Moviemakers Gallery opens in February 2023 and will feature a rotating selection of deep dives into classic films, beginning with “Casablanca” and “Boyz n the Hood.”

Since the Academy Museum opened in 2021, it has faced criticism for its lack of references to the contributions made by Black communities as well as to the largely Jewish founders of Hollywood.

“The history of film is endlessly rich and varied, which is why we envisioned the exhibitions of the Academy Museum as a continually evolving set of installations and virtual content,” museum director Bill Kramer said in a statement. “We are delighted to present a new round of stories, explorations, moving images, props, and other objects that explore the many facets of moviemaking – from the founding of Hollywood to present day. These rotations give our visitors many wonderful reasons to come back, while offering an extraordinary invitation to others to engage with the museum.”

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