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LACMA's Michael Govan and Elvis Mitchell Talk to LA Weekly about Star-Centric Film Program

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 17, 2011 at 1:44PM

LA Weekly critic Karina Longworth carefully examines how the Los Angeles County Museum chief Michael Govan is changing the film program. He explains why Ian Birnie had to go, why he chose to partner with Film Independent and look for patrons such as the NYT. Longworth also interviews FIND's controversial film program host Elvis Mitchell. She is nothing but fair. Here's her hardest-hitting bit:
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LACMA film host Elvis Mitchell
LACMA film host Elvis Mitchell

LA Weekly critic Karina Longworth carefully examines how the Los Angeles County Museum chief Michael Govan is changing the film program. He explains why Ian Birnie had to go, why he chose to partner with Film Independent and look for patrons such as the NYT. Longworth also interviews FIND's controversial film program host Elvis Mitchell. She is nothing but fair. Here's her hardest-hitting bit: 

Govan has encouraged Mitchell to build events around marquee guests. To him, it only makes sense that a museum in the heart of the home of the film industry would take advantage of that industry. He calls it "site specificity." But there's "taking advantage of the resources of Los Angeles," and then there's starfucking. In response to the suggestion that his own stardom, and his relationships with famous people, greased his path into the LACMA position, Mitchell says, "Well, I think they were interested in the kind of things I would program here. I hope it wasn't as cynical as, 'We get him in here and he can call some people.' "

This article is related to: Critics, Reviews, Exhibition


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.