The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has announced a partnership with Italy’s Istituto Luce – Cinecittà under which the state film entity will become a “founding supporter” of the museum as part of a five-year agreement that will involve a series of annual events celebrating Italian cinema.
The Italian cinema series will kick off with a centennial tribute to late great Italian auteur Federico Fellini. Besides Los Angeles the Fellini tribute will be traveling to other major museums and film institutes around the world.
The long delayed $388-million Renzo Piano-designed museum at Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Anegles is expected to open sometime in 2020, which is the year of the centennial of Fellini’s birth. He died in 1993.
The partnership, which is a first of this type for the Academy Museum, was announced on Tuesday in Rome prior to an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member gala dinner in Rome’s Palazzo Barberini, co-hosted by AMPAS and Istituto Luce – Cinecittà where Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and recently elected President David Rubin will hobnob with nearly 200 guests including many European Academy members, filmmakers, artists, and dignitaries and celebrate Italian cinema. Guests will include trailblazing 91-year director Lina Wertmüller who will be celebrated in L.A. on October 27 with an honorary Oscar at the Governor Awards.
The Academy Museum, headed by former AMPAS and Brooklyn Academy of Music executive Bill Kramer, during the next five years will be curating an annual series of Italian masterpiece film screenings and programs in consultation with Istituto Luce – Cinecittà. The entity runs Rome’s revamped Cinecittà Studios and film archives and also promotes Italian cinema globally.
“The oldest film institution in Italy is partnering with with oldest film institution in the United States, the Academy,” said Hudson at a small press conference in Rome’s St. Regis hotel.
“Italy has won 11 Oscars for foreign language film, more than any other country. You’ve had 28 nominations. You can see that the Oscars love Italy!,” she noted. And went on to add: “Italy has been a big part of the Oscar history, and now it will be a big part of our future.” Hudson also underlined the fact that Piano, the museum’s architect, is Italian.
Rubin introduced silent footage of Walt Disney giving foreign-language film nominees including Fellini and his ebullient wife Giulietta Masina a tour of Disneyland in 1958, the year that his “Night of Cabiria,” starring Masina, won one of the 4 Oscars Fellini scored during his career.
Fellini won his first foreign-language film Oscar for “La Strada” in 1956, which was the first year that the award, now renamed International Film Award, was given.
The prize’s name change reflects a new course for the Academy, said Hudson.
“The word foreign feels a little too other,” she said. “That’s not what the Academy is about. The Academy is inclusive,” she noted. “Inclusive of our international community.”
Istituto Luce – Cinecittà chief Roberto Cicutto said in a statement that Italy’s top film institution was “proud of our friendship with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which shares our deep commitment to preserving films and film heritage.”