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Possible donors for film series

August 08, 2009|Mike Boehm

In the wake of the 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.

"If people didn't complain, we'd be in real trouble. It would mean people don't value film at the museum," Govan said Friday from New York, where he's vacationing.

"The stir . . . has already resulted in calls from people who can lend a hand."

The weekend shows are scheduled to be suspended in October, leaving only Tuesday matinee screenings and occasional films tied to art exhibitions. LACMA has downgraded its longtime film department head to a part-time consultant.

Govan said he has meetings lined up next week to speak with prospective donors who came forward unsolicited, but he wouldn't say who they were or how much money may be on the table.

LACMA officials have said that the film program has lost about $1 million over the last 10 years. President Melody Kanschat said whether to sustain the program has been an issue in the museum's budget discussions for at least seven years.

With audiences and revenues still declining, Govan said, the alternatives for the film program were to "let it fade away with smaller and smaller budgets every year" or halt it until funding could be found to make it succeed.

"We can do this," he said. "Film can be a shining star."

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mike.boehm@latimes.com

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