Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Bill Kramer “absolutely sees great possibilities” in a collaboration between the Academy and its Academy Museum with Camerimage, which recently broke ground on a new European Film Center in the Polish festival’s host city of Toruń.
Kramer participated in a Wednesday panel about building cultural centers such as the Academy Museum and European Film Center, during the 31st edition of the EnergaCamerimage cinematography film festival. He emphasized that the Academy has the only museum in the U.S. that’s solely devoted to cinema, outlining its features including its screening theaters and exhibitions. He added that he hopes the museum will have an impact in “reframing” film as an art form and cultural and educational tool.
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During the panel, he reported that the Academy Museum, which opened in 2021, is already working to take its exhibitions around the world via a network of centers. He added that the Academy Museum’s recent Pedro Almodóvar installation may move to a not-yet-announced venue in Europe, “so if you are not in L.A. you can engage in the work we are doing. It’s global. It’s for everyone.” He sees the future center in Toruń as another opportunity for “co-programming.”
Planning for the Camerimage center began in 2019, with festival director Marek Żydowicz signing an agreement with the Polish state and Toruń government. Representing an investment of roughly $144 million (or 600 million Polish zloty), construction is now underway.
When completed, the center will include a main screening room with seating for roughly 1,500, as well as three 200-300 seat screening rooms. It will offer space for exhibitions, a 500-square-meter soundstage for production (including an LED wall for virtual production) and postproduction facilities.
Project director Kazik Suwala aims to have a portion of the center completed in time to be used for Camerimage in 2025, and he expects the entire complex to be open by 2028. During the conversation, Kramer noted that the 100th Oscars will be presented in 2028, as Suwala quipped “have it here.”
During the Q&A, an Academy member in the audience was critical of the Academy Museum, admitting he was “disappointed by it” and adding that stronger programming may be needed to attract people to theaters. “Right now people don’t go to the movies anymore,” he said.
“I feel like museums, cultural centers, can be part of the solution,” replied Kramer, citing a rise in Museum screening ticket sales. “We are seeing consistent attendance coming back. I hope it inspires people to come to first-run theaters.”
Another member of the audience asked if there could be room for a stunt performers branch. Replied Kramer, “For the Academy to survive and thrive, we are also looking at how we can evolve. … Perhaps.”
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