Time Warner, Foreign Press Save LACMA Film Series

Pledges of $150,000 keep program alive until June 2010.

After facing public outrage over the cancellation of its 40-year-old weekend film program, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s screening series has been saved.


The museum received pledges totalling $150,000 from two outside organizations — the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which heads the Golden Globes, and Time Warner Cable, each of which will donate $75,000 towards the film program, LACMA announced Wednesday.


Time Warner, in association with Ovation TV, also has promised to spend more than $1.5 million to market the series on their local and national media platforms. 


The museum announced on July 29 that it could no longer afford to keep the film series going. As grassroots efforts were forming, Martin Scorsese wrote an open letter to the museum which ran Aug. 13 in the Los Angeles Times, prompting the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. to donate money towards the cause.


The influx of funding means the program will continue through at least the end of the fiscal year in June 2010. Additional donor and patrons who wish to pledge money are still being sought.


"We’re really excited that they’ve raised the money and that they’re going to continue for another year," Doug Cummings, one of the founding members of the group Save Film at LACMA told TheWrap. Though Cummings did have reservations.


"Our main concern is, ‘OK, it’s great that you’re showing films, but what films are they going to be and will you show films every weekend?’" he said.


He also said the group was concerned that the program’s curator, Ian Bernie, remain involved with the series as it moves forward.


A meeting with members of the community headed by Cummings’ group has been set for Tuesday, he said, during which the prolonged continuation of the weekend film program will be discussed. Members of the Los Angeles film community including L.A. Film Critics Association president Brent Simon and UCLA Film & TV Archive’s Shannon Kelley will attend.


Meanwhile, LACMA said it was "grateful" for the receipt of the funding.


“In a tight budget year when many programs were reduced, we suspended the weekend film series in order to rebuild its foundations," LACMA Director Michael Govan said in a statement. "We’ve been incredibly impressed by the public outcry of support for film at LACMA, and thrilled that just a few weeks later, the first new sponsors have stepped forward."


The museum also announced plans to launch a film department within the curatorial sphere of the museum that will look at the history and future of film as art and film’s role in art history.