Last month, the Academy Museum launched “Branch Selects,” a series that screens every Tuesday night at the museum with the chosen film highlighting a distinct area of cinema.
Bernardo Rondeau, senior director of film programs at the museum, says the idea came about after receiving many recommendations and comments from its members. “We were trying to find a way to harness this incredible knowledge and passion for filmmaking into a program; serial. The fairest way to do this would be to do what we’ve come to call “Branch Selects,” says Rondeau.
Each branch will select three titles, with one screening per week. “Naval Battle Potemkin” was the first film to be screened at the beginning of the year and was chosen by the branch of film editors. On Tuesday night, Orson Welles’ 1941 classic “Citizen Kane” will screen, chosen by the visual effects branch. Other upcoming movies are ‘The Graduate’, ‘101 Dalmatians’, ‘King Kong’ and ‘Bonnie and Clyde’.
Each week, the series highlights a film – presented chronologically from silent film to contemporary films – that represents a major achievement in the evolution of cinema and its unique crafts. Says Rondeau, “We try to select three titles that are representative of a key breakthrough in the evolution of their craft, or that are exemplary works for their craft.”
Rondeau works with branch working groups, with which he can brainstorm. Part of this brainstorming led members of said branch to explain why this movie means a lot to this branch. Craig Barron will present “Citizen Kane”. Barron, dit Rondeau, is the ideal candidate to present the film, bringing his knowledge as a historian to the world of cinema effects. “After you get to know Craig, you also learn how packed of visual effects ‘Citizen Kane’ is, and you won’t even notice it. That’s the genius, and all of these collaborators have contributed so successfully to Orson’s vision,” explains Rondeau.
The museum hopes audiences will delve into the presentation aspect – not just to celebrate excellence in filmmaking, but to learn unique stories about filmmaking that they may or may not have heard before.
As for the rest of the series and upcoming movies, Rondeau says the ’70s will lean into indie movies, but once it hits the ’80s, “We start to blossom out to include more documentary works, more foreign language work and animation is coming back in a big way.
Learn more about “Branch Selects” here.