The women behind the programs at the IMA sit down and answer a few questions about how and why they do what they do…
How do you pick films for Summer Nights and Winter Nights?
Lindsay Hamman: For Summer Nights it’s more of a pop-culture vibe, with popular movies that people have seen before, but would love to see again on the big screen. And it’s our 36th year, so we have a long list of movies that we have screened over the years. We try to go through and hit a variety of decades and a variety of genres, and we try to keep a seven to ten year gap between the favorites. Like Singing in the Rain, or Psycho, or something like that. We always try to include a Hitchcock, an action film, a scary option, and a musical; we try to have as much variety as we can.
Anne Laker: With Winter Nights… well, there aren’t a lot of places you can see classic film on the big screen. So we love to look back in cinematic history and pick some gems that people may have heard about, but haven’t seen. Then we try to make it a whole experience. Sometime we try to Skype with a film historian or director, or throw in a cartoon. And we love showing films on 35mm if we can, if that was the original form in which the film was created. We burn through our Netflix account, and watch all kinds of film before we make our final choices.
How do you decide on programs that you book throughout the year?
Anne: We try to respond to exhibitions going up at the IMA. We also try to keep our thumb on the cultural pulse. What are some exciting ideas that might have to do to with the world of art, design, or nature (which are the three pillars of the IMA mission)? People make suggestions, we read about things in The New York Times. We also have to fulfill the needs of groups that support the museum, like the Horticultural Society and Contemporary Art Society, and we do things that highlight those realms.
Lindsay: It’s a lot of balance. Between exhibition, affiliate groups, and film, as well as adding in things that no one else in the city is doing, we make sure to use our budget the best we can to hit everything.
Anne: Exactly. For example, we’re not going to do a jazz series, because the Jazz Kitchen has taken care of that. Though we are thinking about doing a Japanese horror film set to a live jazz score. But I will say one of the drivers of programming is all the amazing spaces we have at the IMA, everything from 100 Acres to The Toby to the Maya Lin balcony.
Ok, so saying all of that, what do you see as a void in Indianapolis’s cultural offerings?
Anne: Well, Indy’s cultural scene is always in flux, and lately there seems to be more edginess and risk going on, which is great. We like NoExit, a theatre group we’ve hosted here, because they have responded to the IMA’s spaces. You know, where else can you see maybe a dark and arty movie or a huge kite performance (Lindsay: or a vegetable orchestra). So we want to surprise people, and that’s a constant effort. The model is always changing, we aren’t doing as many standard art history talks as we have in the past and we looking for new models to get people excited about new ideas. It can’t be an old-fashioned lecture anymore…what comes next?