Film at LACMA is Dead. Long Live LACMA Film?
Not a portrait of Michael Govan, but a still from Edward Scissorhands, from LACMA's upcoming Tim Burton series.
BY RICHARD NATALE
Two years ago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan proposed suspending the then-41-year-old weekend film program because it was losing money for the institution. After a great hue and cry, two donors, Time Warner Cable and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, stepped into the breach to fund the program.
As of June 30, 2011, that temporary infusion will expire. According to knowledgeable sources, this will mean the end of LACMA film as we currently know it. The esteemed program consisting of an enticing blend of classic U.S. and world cinema, as well as new voices from both the mainstream and independent film communities, is expected to be altered considerably.
LACMA refused to comment to the Weekly earlier this week. Just before press time, a statement was released announcing that current film program director Ian Birnie is stepping aside and, as of September, Film Independent, the nonprofit responsible for the L.A. Film Festival, will program a new film series, underwritten by the New York Times. The press release also promises "a new lead programmer" will be brought into the fold this summer.