Elvis Mitchell will head new LACMA film series
Veteran movie critic Elvis Mitchell has been named curator of the new weekly film series that will be staged by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Film Independent.
The organizations announced Mitchell's appointment Thursday morning, with LACMA director Michael Govan telling 24 Frames that he and other executives were "very impressed with [Mitchell's] approach to cross genres, [with] using the museum as a site and his interest in historic film."
Govan also called Mitchell "agile, someone who sets no traditional mold."
Mitchell will relocate to Los Angeles for the position, which is full-time. He will start in July, with the first programming scheduled to screen in the fall. Govan said Mitchell will work closely with other curators and officials at LACMA and Film Independent.
In April, LACMA and Film Independent announced a series intended to showcase previews of new features and documentaries as well as retrospectives, filmmaker conversations and other programming. The news came after LACMA had faced harsh criticism for cutting back on its film offerings, and about two years after it nearly cut its film section entirely.
The museum then decided to partner with Film independent, which runs the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, the latter of which kicks off Thursday night in downtown L.A.
Mitchell, who has held reviewer positions at L.A. Weekly and the New York Times, has had a somewhat peripatetic career of late. Currently the host of KCRW's pop-culture series "The Treatment," he had initially been announced as the host of a new public-broadcasting show produced by Roger Ebert but didn't wind up in the job.
Earlier this year he signed up as co-chief film critic at Movieline but was let go about three months later.
In perhaps a reference to his own employment restlessness, Mitchell said of the LACMA announcement: “This position is a double reunion for me. Selling tickets at the Bing Theater at LACMA was my first job in L.A., and to get to return to supervise a program at a place that is an intersection of art and popular culture is a dream come true. ... I couldn’t be happier. That is, until I get started."
As previously announced, consulting curator Ian Birnie, who has been with LACMA's film department for more than a decade, is leaving the organization.
-- Steven Zeitchik and David Ng
Photo: Elvis Mitchell. Credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press