Los Angeles Film Critics Association Declare their Support of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Film Program
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association deplores the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s decision to suspend its long-standing and invaluable repertory screening program and to remove its gifted program director, Ian Birnie, from its full-time staff. For more than 40 years, this series has been essential to the interests of Los Angeles’ diverse filmgoing and filmmaking communities, providing a unique, centrally located resource for the study and appreciation of world and Hollywood cinema through the decades. In the international movie capital, it is brutally ironic that this indispensable program should be suspended at a time when the serious study of films and filmmaking—particularly on large screens, in 35mm prints—is threatened everywhere.
We are heartened by the sustained public outcry that has greeted this news, and encourage everyone who cares about film to redouble their efforts to urge LACMA to rescind its dubious decision.
Cinema is an art no less important and meaningful to the public than painting, sculpture and the other arts that the museum holds and displays, and its great artists are no less worthy of our respect and admiration than those working in more traditional media. We also observe that the cost of maintaining LACMA’s film program is quite modest and we agree, as well, with museum director Michael Govan’s stated desire to expand both the program and its funding. LAFCA will do everything in its power to support that effort.
To that end, we urge the formation of a public committee, composed of “Friends of Film at LACMA,” to work with the museum to enhance the funding and the community outreach of LACMA’s film programming, with the aim of establishing an ever more vibrant, vital resource that will benefit both the museum and its public.
As both an art form and an industry, film has been of incalculable value to the economic development of the City of Los Angeles, and to the growth of its culture. In that context, LACMA’s recent decision is not only puzzling, but tragic in its larger implications. It demands close, passionate, urgent and untiring reconsideration.
- The Los Angeles Film Critics Association
H. J. Park