The Los Angeles Times is reporting that “In the wake of the chorus of disapproval that greeted last week’s announcement that he was red-lighting the 40-year-old weekend film series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, museum Director Michael Govan has some good news: Potential donors have stepped up, interested in helping underwrite the series.”
It is indeed good news, but until we’re assured that the film program is staying in place, Save Film at LACMA will continue collecting signatures on our petition (with nearly 1,350 signatories at the moment) and build our protest on Facebook.
I want to urge regular readers of Film Journey concerned about diminishing repertory and art film venues in general to sign our petition. This is a “local issue” in terms of the venue in question, but it’s a global issue in terms of the exhibition of film. Not only do many scholars and critics depend on LACMA’s programming to publish articles about film (Joseph McBride, for example, has been especially vocal about his debt to LACMA’s programming), but as the largest art museum west of Chicago, LACMA’s final decision on this matter could inspire similar policies at many other museums. (Not to mention that a loss for cinephiles anywhere is a loss for cinephilia everywhere.)
Many non-Angeleno critics have signed the petition (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Dave Kehr, Kent Jones, Dennis Lim, Chris Fujiwara, etc.), and many filmmakers abroad such as Bertrand Tavernier, Monika Treut, and Jean-Pierre Gorin (who teaches and lives in San Diego) have lent us their voices. The petition makes for good, rousing reading. One of my favorites comments comes from Alessio Della Carta in Italy:
“As a former assistant to M. Antonioni, I object to the presumption this museum ‘director’ makes to film being ‘not a draw’ with the museum audience. Antonioni not a draw? How insulting to great filmmakers and aspiring filmmakers everywhere. Particularly those who waited in line to see Michelangelo in one of his last public appearances at LACMA. I am proud to have known a brilliant ‘director’ and Mr. Govan, sadly, is not one.”