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. According to Birnie, Govan thought the film program was already dead, a dying dinosaur with rising costs. "We have to see what will come out of the ruins," he told Birnie.
Govan is talking about focusing on new directors and experimental cinema, which misses the point of building a large following for serious classic programming. The point is, this kind of program can only work with support from above and a clear direction. If they shut the program down and send what loyal followers they have home, it will be tough to get them back again. All momentum will be lost.
Tom Christie spells out the reality of the situation in LA Weekly.
Here's the current save LACMA film petition going the rounds, if you care to weigh in, the Facebook group, the blog, and a YouTube campaign short (below). Am I the only one who fears that it is too little, too late?