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Elvis Mitchell lifts LACMA with laughter

Screen caught up with film critic, broadcaster and now curator Elvis Mitchell, head of the film series staged by Los Angeles County Museum Of Art (LACMA) and Film Independent.

Funnily enough Mitchell’s first job after he graduated from college was selling tickets for LACMA’s film series at the Bing Theatre. Now that he is “back home in LA” he hopes to “restore that past lustre to the Bing Theater.”

Opening night tonight will kick off with Johnny Depp’s latest film, The Rum Diary. This marks Bruce Robinson’s first film in many years after directing cult classics like Withnail & I and How To Get Ahead In Advertising and is based on the novel by gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson. Other upcoming offerings include Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene on Oct 16, Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 classic Modern Times on Oct 18, a highly anticipated live reading of The Breakfast Club on Oct 20 and there will be a screening of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1961 Italian drama Accatone on Oct 27.

A few screenings have already taken place, including the cancer comedy and recent Toronto world premiere 50/50 and Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.

What sets this programme apart from the others is the opportunity to connect and listen to those who made the films. Tarantino talked about what inspired his film and gave the audience a chance to get an experience that will make them want to come back for more.

“[It was good] to see the reaction that audience had to Jackie Brown and to see Quentin afterwards say that he has never seen a movie of his in that theatre,” Mitchell says. “[Bing Theater] is a great theatre for comedy. It is lifted by the laughter. I want people to see what that is like.”

One obstacle Mitchell faces is making sure the programme can succeed on its own: the theatre is located in a highly competitive location. Something that will set it apart from the rest will be the interaction between filmmakers and the audience. Look forward to filmmakers coming to the Bing Theater to do readings, like Rob Reiner with The Princess Bride in December.

“We have forgotten what its like to be lost in a movie,” Mitchell says. “This will be a chance to share my taste, my affection and my enthusiasm with an audience.”

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