A New Structure For 2020’s New York Film Festival

Film at Lincoln Center is exploring a combination of both in-person and virtual performances for the 58th New York Film Festival, scheduled to take place from September 25th through October 11th. They have also announced changes to the festival’s programming structure, as well as new selection committee and advisory roles.

Film at Lincoln Center will determine the exact format of the festival this summer, maintaining its “commitment and responsibility to films and filmmakers while ensuring that the safety and well-being of our audiences and guests remain our utmost priority.”

With new leadership in place, the festival’s offerings will be streamlined into five banner sections: Main Slate, Currents, Spotlight, Revivals, and Talks. The Main Slate selection committee has been expanded to five members. The festival is also bringing new voices into its overall curatorial team.

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Dennis Lim, New York Film Festival’s Director of Programming, made the following statement:

“Our goal in revising the festival’s structure was to clarify and strengthen the identity of this venerable event while also making room for discovery and surprise. We began the work of rethinking the festival before this public health crisis, and we believe that our new template is one we can adapt for this uncertain year. Our programming exists to champion the films we believe in and to bring those films to discerning audiences in New York City and beyond. The current situation compels us to think more deeply and imaginatively about what that can mean. I’m excited and grateful to be working with this exceptional team of programmers and advisors to put together a lineup we can share with our audiences this fall.”

The updated structure will be as follows:

The MAIN SLATE, which is the heart and historic core of the festival, brings together the films that promise to define the year in cinema. The selection committee for this section will be Dennis Lim (Chair), Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, Eugene Hernandez (NYFF Director), and Rachel Rosen.

A new section called CURRENTS will be added to the lineup and is designed to complement the Main Slate. The CURRENTS section traces a more complete picture of contemporary cinema, with an emphasis on new and innovative forms and voices. The section will present a diverse offering of short and feature-length work by filmmakers and artists working at the vanguard of the medium. The newly formed selection committee for this section will be Dennis Lim (Chair), Florence Almozini, Aily Nash, and Tyler Wilson.

The new SPOTLIGHT section will be NYFF’s showcase of sneak previews, gala events, screenings with live or performance elements, guest-curated selections and other special evenings. This section will be programmed by Eugene Hernandez and Dennis Lim.

The REVIVALS section connects cinema’s rich past to its dynamic present through an eclectic assortment of new restorations, titles selected by the festival’s filmmakers, rarities, and more. This section will be programmed by Florence Almozini and Dan Sullivan.

The TALKS section will supplement NYFF’s screenings with a series of free and ticketed panel discussions and in-depth conversations with a wide range of guests. This section will be programmed by Eugene Hernandez, Devika Girish, and Madeline Whittle.

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The new NYFF structure effectively consolidates many sections that previously existed in the festival. Documentaries, which have always been an important part of the program, will now be represented throughout the festival. Shorts programming will largely exist within the new Currents section, as will the experimental work and artists’ films previously shown in the Projections section.

NYFF is also appointing a new team of five advisors: Violeta Bava, Michelle Carey, Leo Goldsmith, Rachael Rakes, and Gina Telaroli. The advisors collectively bring a breadth and depth of experience and expertise in film festivals, development and production, criticism and academia, moving-image exhibitions, and archival projects, and will work with festival programmers on film scouting and to facilitate connections and collaborations with various sectors of cinema. Additional information about festival programmers and advisors is available below.

“Our city is enduring a devastating crisis right now and there is no question that the 58th New York Film Festival will be different as a result, but New Yorkers are resilient and constraints can inspire new ideas. In planning this year’s festival we’re taking an open-minded approach, and this fall we hope to share the best of cinema with audiences safely and securely, both in person and online. Our commitment to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture is unwavering as we plan this year’s NYFF.”

Eugene Hernandez, Director of the New York Film Festival.

As the festival dates approach, Film at Lincoln Center will share additional New York Film Festival programming updates. Submissions are now open for short films.

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