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Big changes in store for LACMA's film program

April 6, 2011 | 11:09 am


For the last two years, the weekend film series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been on a roller-coaster ride of uncertainty. In 2009, the museum said it would pull the plug on the program due to budgetary constraints and dwindling audiences. But a public backlash led the museum to reverse its decision. Since then, the film series has been supported by grants from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and other organizations.

On Wednesday, LACMA announced that it would be teaming with Film Independent -- the organization behind the annual Spirit Awards and the L.A. Film Festival -- to relaunch the series in September. The new partnership means that Ian Birnie, who has overseen the film department since 1996, will be leaving in the fall.

Birnie's last programmed series for the museum will be a retrospective of films by Tim Burton, which coincides with the museum's upcoming exhibition devoted to the filmmaker.

LACMA said the new film program will feature previews of narrative and documentary films, archival films and repertory series, conversations with emerging and established filmmakers and artists, international showcases, family films and special guest-curated programs.

LACMA's film program has operated on a shoestring since it was founded by Phil Chamberlin in the late 1960s. Ron Haver took over during the '70s, running the program until his death in 1993. The department has varied in scope and size over the years but it has seldom exceeded a staff of a few people.

Read the full story at the 24 Frames blog.


LacmaLACMA's weekend film series gets extended -- but 'still in jeopardy'

Hollywood Foreign Press gives (another) $75,000 to LACMA for film program

Clint Eastwood, Terry Semel voice support for LACMA film program

Ian Birnie takes the high road on LACMA film controversy

 -- David Ng

Photos, from top: Outside the Bing Theatre at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Chris Burden's "Urban Light" sculpture on the LACMA grounds. Credits: Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Times; 2010 Museum Associates / LACMA