'Regeneration' exhibit explores achievements, challenges for Black filmmakers since start of cinema

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Thursday, August 18, 2022
New Academy Museum exhibit explores Black filmmakers' achievements
Black artists, in front of and behind the camera, are celebrated in a new exhibition at the Academy Museum. "Regeneration" looks at the achievements and challenges over seven decades.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There's a new exhibition opening at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. "Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971" offers the public a chance to learn more about how Black performers and filmmakers have helped define cinema in America.

"People should come see this exhibition. You'll look at film history in a totally different way," said Jacqueline Stewart, the museum's president. "This is an exhibition that traces the work of Black filmmakers from the late 19th century through the civil rights movement."

"Regeneration" explores both the achievements and the challenges Black filmmakers faced for more than 70 years. The exhibition features rarely seen excerpts of films and documentaries; newsreels, home movies; photographs, scripts and so much more.

"We have montages, we have a series of films that have been preserved or restored, or were considered lost," said co-curator Rhea Combs. "So this becomes a rich engaging opportunity for visitors of all ages to explore and learn more about a history that may be lesser known to many."

"In this exhibition we feature more than seven decades of American cinema with iconic costumes from black performers, different musical shorts featuring the likes of Dorothy Dandridge and Cab Calloway," said assistant curator Raul Guzman.

"Of course we also have stars," said co-curator Doris Berger. "People may know Hattie McDaniel and her moving Oscar speech from 1940, but also stories on Sidney Poitier, Harry Belefonte, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Their acting and activism is really inspiring to this day."

The exhibition opens Sunday, Aug. 21.