The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s director, Michael Govan, announced at the end of July that the museum’s film program would be put on hiatus, and a group of cinephiles calling themselves Save Film @ LACMA is working to save the weekend classic film program. They have taken to the Internet to create a blog, a Bob Dylan-inspired YouTube video, a petition, a Facebook group and more.
Our own Anne Thompson has a few words for Mr. Govan: “If Ian Birnie, who ran the program for 13 years, had been given some kind of directive, we could all try to boost attendance or push for extra funding. But this way, it’s a fait accompli mounted by museum director Michael Govan, who may care about art but does not seem to care about classic film.” On Variety, Todd McCarthy concludes, “My sense is that, for whatever reasons, LACMA has taken the easy road of using meager economic reasons to justify closing down a department that has been cherished by many people over many years, when it could have bucked the trend and proudly, defiantly kept it going if it really wanted to, evolving the programming to its taste if desired.” The LA Times‘ Kenneth Turan says of the “hiatus” and any intentions on reformatting, “The truth here is that though things can always be improved, and audience numbers raised, the wheel that this kind of film exhibition represents can’t really be reinvented.”
The department of film at LACMA’s website has become a forum for friends of the department to provide suggestions on how to sustain it. On Friday, the LA Times reported that many potential donors have come forth to potentially provide some of the ten million dollars Govan says he would need to save the program.