'Popcorn Summit' between Save Film at LACMA and museum director slated for Tuesday, Sept. 1 will address screening program's future
LOS ANGELES, Ca. – Aug. 26, 2009 – The month-long grassroots campaign to save a beloved 41-year-old film series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) scored a major victory Wednesday, when the museum announced it would continue the program through at least June 2010.
The swift and fierce reaction from film lovers in Los Angeles and around the world swayed LACMA to reverse its July 29 decision to suspend the repertory and foreign film program. Save Film at LACMA, which spearheaded the effort, gathered more than 2,600 signatures to an online petition, garnered "fan" support from more than 3,500 people on Facebook, and urged supporters to convey their concerns directly to the museum. Filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, and Bertrand Tavernier took up the cause, as did nationally known film critics.
Save Film at LACMA is still meeting with museum director Michael Govan on Tues., Sept. 1, to discuss the details of the film program going forward. The coalition has assembled a panel representing film programming, criticism, scholarship, repertory and distribution talent to meet with Mr. Govan.
“We’re ecstatic,” said Debra Levine, founding member of the grassroots coalition. “Our aim was to reverse LACMA’s decision that hurt our community. We commend Michael Govan on his ability to listen well. We look forward to working with him to ensure that film is permanently showcased as high art at the premiere museum in Los Angeles, the birthplace of the film industry.” Levine is a marketing consultant and arts journalist.
On Wednesday, LACMA announced it had secured $150,000 in the form of grants from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Time Warner Cable and Ovation TV to fund programming through June. The donors also are providing promotional support for the film series. LACMA also stated its intention to create a new film department in the museum's curatorial sphere and to see more philanthropic support for film.
"It's exciting news," said co-founder Doug Cummings, editor of Filmjourney.org. "But we still have unanswered questions, such as how many screenings will occur, and whether or not repertory and foreign film classics will be the focus. We also want clarification on the future role of Ian Birnie, our highly respected programmer.”
Levine and Cummings will be among those addressing such concerns in the Tuesday meeting at LACMA. Other participants include Brent Simon, president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; Margot Gerber, director of publicity and promotions at the American Cinematheque; Shannon Kelley, head of programming for the UCLA Film & Television Archive; three-time Oscar winning costume designer James Acheson; film critic Lael Loewenstein; repertory film executive Jared Sapolin; Michael Schlesinger, a veteran executive of classic film distribution; and Kyle Westphal, the programming chair emeritus for the film society Doc Films.
About Save Film At LACMA
Save Film at LACMA is an open group and anyone can join via Facebook at “Save Film at LACMA” or at: www.savefilmatlacma.blogspot.com. Interested parties can also get updates via Twitter at savefilmlacma. Save Film at LACMA is composed of key individuals volunteering to participate in the film program's improvement and contribute to fund-raising and marketing/publicity efforts to increase the audience size and protect a treasured program from future dismantling.
Robin Rauzi, 323-219-1230