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New Vertical Cinema Exhibition Featuring Newly Commissioned, Historical,

Experimental, and Student Films Turns Conventional Cinema on its Side

Photo credit Academy Museum

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 7, 2023—The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures today announced announced Shifting Perspectives: Vertical Cinema, an exhibition that reorients standard perceptions of making and watching movies. Located in and inspired by the museum’s double-height Hurd Gallery, Shifting Perspectivesoffers a viewing experience featuring a 20’ high x 3’ wide screen, which can be viewed from both the second and third floors of the museum. Shifting Perspectives honors the spirit of experimentation in cinema and draws connections between the earliest days of moving pictures to contemporary filmmakers. The exhibition also posits the essential question: What is considered cinematic? In addition to debuting films by three Southern Californian filmmakers, the exhibition explores the roots of vertical cinema—dating back to the 1890s; the ways in which filmmakers optimize the format to create experimental work; and the contemporary proliferation of vertical filmmaking using portable smart devices. The exhibition, comprising 25 short films, will be on view November 12, 2023–August 4, 2024.For the first time, the museum has commissioned films intended for exhibition, inviting three local filmmakers to use a vertical format to explore the topography of a region that is generally perceived to be horizontal—much like cinema itself. These films will weave multilayered narratives showcasing the vibrancy of Southern California through the unique intensity of a vertical frame. Marking the world premiere of these films, Shifting Perspectives features a desert dreams in red by Zaina Bseiso, Dusty Tapes by Fox Maxy, and black man fly by Walter Thompson-Hernández, addressing complementary natural elements: the land, water, and sky of Southern California, respectively.“We are so thrilled to collaborate with Fox, Zaina, and Walter on their new films, which explore the evolving relationships between people and their environments,” said Exhibitions Curator Jessica Niebel. “Vertical cinema is a rarefied yet historical aspect ratio, and the format is something people employ on their phones daily to share with the world on social media.”Jacqueline Stewart, Director and President of the Academy Museum, said, “We hope Shifting Perspective draws attention to this simultaneously ubiquitous and niche form of cinematic expression and encourages audiences, especially younger visitors, to experiment and discover the many facets of moving images.”The commissioned films will be shown alongside historical chronophotographic films—on loan from La Cinémathèque française—by Étienne Jules Marey & Co. made between 1891–1902, plus experimental vertical films by Joost Rekveld and HC Gilje, commissioned by Sonic Arts in 2013 and 2017, respectively. In the Hurd Gallery’s vestibule, Shifting Perspectives offers a platform for young filmmakers, showcasing 15 new films created by Ghetto Film School students from all five districts in Los Angeles County. Ghetto Film School is a nonprofit film organization whose mission is to educate, develop, and celebrate the next generation of great storytellers. These students responded to the prompt of cultural preservation and creative placemaking, acting as cultural storytellers by documenting the city’s diverse and thriving tapestry through their lived experiences in specific communities. Student filmmakers include Alyse Arteaga, Ciara Zoe, Jessica Muñoz, Octavia Anderson, Diego Aquino, Aidan Bae, Niko Baur, AhaNah Chapman, Kian Cloma, Matthew Cotom, Sundiata Enuke, Xochilt Garcia, Memo Mora, O.C., and Ogechi Onyenechehe. ABOUT THE COMMISSIONED FILMMAKERSZaina Bseiso is a filmmaker and curator interested in diasporic relations to land, mysticism and hope. Her work has screened at DOK Leipzig, Curtas Vila do Conde, Images, and RIDM among others. Her first feature All That Is Solid , currently in postproduction, has been supported by Sundance, Sandbox films, and BAVC Media. She was born to Palestinian parents, raised in Cairo, and is currently based in Los Angeles. She is a programmer at the Points North Institute and cofounder of Bahia Colectiva.Fox Maxy is based in San Diego. She is a Payómkawish and Iipay filmmaker from the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians. Maxy's work has screened at Sundance, TIFF, MoMA, Rotterdam, and BlackStar Film Festival among other places. In 2020, COUSIN Collective supported the director with her first grant. In 2022, Maxy was named as Sundance Institute's Merata Mita Fellow. She’s also a Vera List Center Borderlands Fellow. In 2023, she premiered her first feature length film, Gush, at Sundance. Currently, she is working on her second feature about mental health.Walter Thompson-Hernández was born and raised in Los Angeles. His short film, If I Go Will They Miss Me, won the Sundance 2022 US Fiction narrative short film prize. He was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazines 25 New Faces of Film. He is currently in postproduction for his first narrative feature, The Sky Was Blue, filmed entirely in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Shifting Perspectives: Vertical Cinema is the first Academy Museum exhibition to engage a cross-departmental curatorial collective. It was initiated by Jessica Niebel and organized by a curatorial collective including Andrew Acedo, Sarin Cemcem, Esme Douglas, Jessica Niebel, Marty Preciado, Agnes Stauber, and Stephanie Sykes.

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Image Credits: (left) film still, a desert dreams in red (2023), Zaina Bseiso, ©Academy Museum Foundation; (center) film still, Dusty Tapes (2023), Fox Maxy, ©Academy Museum Foundation; (right) film still, black man fly (2023), Walter Thompson-Hernández, ©Academy Museum FoundationExhibition Credit: Shifting Perspectives: Vertical Cinema was organized by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Technology solutions generously provided by Christie®.About the Academy Museum of Motion PicturesThe Academy Museum is the largest museum in the United States devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking. The museum advances the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections. Designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum's campus contains the restored and revitalized historic Saban Building—formerly known as the May Company building (1939)—and a soaring spherical addition. Together, these buildings contain 50,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, two state-of-the-art theaters, the Shirley Temple Education Studio, and beautiful public spaces that are free and open to the public. These include: The Walt Disney Company Piazza and the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby, which houses the Spielberg Family Gallery, Academy Museum Store, and Fanny’s restaurant and café. The Academy Museum exhibition galleries are open seven days a week, with hours Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 6pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 8pm.


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