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Save LACMA Film Protests

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 10, 2009 at 12:13PM

My e-mail is inundated by folks who want to save the LA County Museum of Art film program. L.A. film fans are pissed that LACMA saw fit to close it down before most of us knew that it was threatened. Here are eloquent editorials from critics Todd McCarthy and Ken Turan.
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Thompson on Hollywood

My e-mail is inundated by folks who want to save the LA County Museum of Art film program. L.A. film fans are pissed that LACMA saw fit to close it down before most of us knew that it was threatened. Here are eloquent editorials from critics Todd McCarthy and Ken Turan.

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?


This article is related to: News, 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.