Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Film Society to me: Drop dead

At least, that's how I read this section from a New York Times piece today about how the Film Society of Lincoln Center's new executive director, Mara Manus, is shaking things up there.

"Traditionally, a film society membership, which ranges from a $75 minimum to $1,000-and-up patron status, guarantees the right to buy tickets for the festival. The review process is not complete, but Ms. Manus said low-end donors were likely to lose that assurance.

“We’re moving to change that structure, just to allow more people to have access to the New York Film Festival,” she said. “People who have been giving $75 have been taking up a chunk of the tickets when in fact this is the biggest thing we do and we want it to be available to more people.”

It's by no means clear what's going on here, but the implication is that my $75, which I've been paying as a member for 15 years now (and sometimes upping, to a dual membership) will suddenly be valueless, as I go through the annual ritual/ordeal of trying to obtain tickets. By "more people," is Manus (as much scourge as savior, and maybe much more the former, as various blogs opine) saying she plans to democratize the process by opening it to more non-member buyers? Perhaps--but in low-ebb economic times I suspect she means "more people" as in "more people with fat-cat memberships," making the festival more elitist than ever as she runs the place "more like a business."

We'll see. But I don't like the sound of it. It's the little guys like me who buttress the Film Society. Screw us, and we'll just take that $75 and reinvest it in places like Film Forum and BAM Cinematek, where I just saw Hunger for $7--a lot less than what I would have paid to see it at last year's festival.

1 comment:

Brooks of Sheffield said...

What lousy treatment! This is perfectly in keeping with the Bloomberg era of New York, where only wealthy people matter. Protest, Bob. You're a writer. Make this a cause.