Academy Museum pays homage to city’s filmmaker founders

| April 25, 2024 | 0 Comments

Learn about the early days of filmmaking in Los Angeles at the new exhibit, “Hollywoodland: Jewish Founders and the Making of a Movie Capital,” opening Sun., May 19, at the Academy Museum of

WARNER BROTHERS: Sam Warner, Harry M. Warner, Jack L. Warner and Albert Warner, undated. Photos courtesy Margaret
Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Motion Pictures.

It is the museum’s first permanent exhibition since it opened in 2021.

Told in English and Spanish, the origin story tells how the studio system would go on to transform Los Angeles into a global epicenter of cinema.

“The American film industry began developing amid an influx of immigration to the United States by Jewish émigrés escaping European pogroms and poverty,” curator Dara Jaffe said in announcing the exhibit.

Most of Hollywood’s founders were in this wave of Jewish immigrants who recognized that the industry didn’t enforce the same antisemitic barrier as other professions, Jaffe added.

DEDICATION of the Hollywoodland sign, Dec. 1923.

“The stories told in ‘Hollywoodland’ bring the intertwined histories of Los Angeles and the Hollywood studio system to life and resonate with stories of immigrants from around the world,” added Academy Museum Director and President Jacqueline Stewart.

The exhibit explores the original eight “major” film studios in a segment called “Film Frontier to Industry Town, 1902-1929,” and will also include showings of the documentary, “From the Shtetl to the Studio: The Jewish Story of Hollywood.”

Public programs

Opening day on May 19 will feature two public programs. The first is a book signing with Neal Gabler, author of “An Empire of Their Own:How the Jews Invented Hollywood,” 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Ted Mann Theater Lobby.

Following that at 6 p.m. in the Ted Mann Theater is a “Curator Conversation” where Gabler will talk with curator Dara Jaffe. Jacqueline Stewart will moderate.

ON THE SET of “Ben Hur” (1925).
Photo courtesy Margaret Herrick
Library, Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences

The exhibit is in the LAIKA Gallery at the Academy Museum on the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire at 6067 Wilshire Blvd. Learn more at

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