New York Film Festival

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New York Film Festival
LocationNew York City, United States
Most recentSeptember 29-October 15, 2023
Hosted byFilm at Lincoln Center
Current: 2023

The New York Film Festival (NYFF) is a film festival held every fall in New York City, presented by Film at Lincoln Center. Founded in 1963 by Richard Roud and Amos Vogel with the support of Lincoln Center president William Schuman, it is one of the longest-running and most prestigious film festivals in the United States.[1] The non-competitive festival is centered on a "Main Slate" of typically 20–30 feature films, with additional sections for experimental cinema and new restorations.

Dennis Lim is the Artistic Director for NYFF.[2] Kent Jones was the festival director from 2013 to 2019.[3]


As of 2020, the festival program is divided into the following sections:

Main Slate[edit]

The Main Slate is the Festival's primary section, a program typically featuring 25–30 feature-length films, intending to reflect the current state of cinema. The program is a mix of major international art house films from the festival circuit, new discoveries, and studio releases targeting awards season. The studio films are often selected as Opening Night, Centerpiece, and Closing Night presentations.[4]


Currents complements the Main Slate, tracing a more complete picture of contemporary cinema with an emphasis on new and innovative forms and voices. This section is the only one at the festival which presents short films.

The selection team of Currents section consists of Dennis Lim (Chair), Aily Nash (is also Head of shorts programming), Rachael Rakes, and Tyler Wilson (is also Head of shorts programming).[5]


Spotlight is showcase of the season's most anticipated and significant films.


The Revivals section showcases important works from renowned filmmakers that have been digitally remastered, restored, and preserved with the assistance of generous partners.


Talks features in-depth conversations with filmmakers, critics, curators, and more.


Founding the Festival[edit]

The NYFF's first programmer, Richard Roud, was recruited by Lincoln Center President William Schuman in 1962. Boston-born Roud was 33 years old at the time and based in London where he worked as a film critic for The Guardian and programmed the London Film Festival. Though Roud maintained his home base in London, he recruited Amos Vogel of the legendary Cinema 16 film club as his New York–based co-programmer. The first edition of the festival opened on September 10, 1963, with Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel and closed on September 19.[6] It was a success and almost all screenings nearly sold out. The festival also included films screened at the Museum of Modern Art that had not been shown in the United States previously, including Akira Kurosawa's I Live in Fear and Point of Order.[7][8] In 1966, Roud and Vogel formed the festival's first selection committee, consisting of Arthur Knight and Andrew Sarris; Susan Sontag was added the next year. Vogel resigned from his position as Festival Director in 1968. Though Roud was previously designated Program Director, he presided over the festival from 1969 to 1987.

Roud's 25 years at the festival were characterized by a focus on the European art cinema of the postwar years and the rise of auteurism.[9]

The Richard Peña era[edit]

Richard Peña, then 34, took over as lead programmer in 1988. The Queens native was already an accomplished film historian, academic, and programmer. Prior to his work with NYFF, he worked at the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Peña came to NYFF as a seasoned festival-goer who held Roud in high esteem. During his stint as programmer (which also listed 25 years), Peña honored the festival's traditions and unique character – retaining the selection committee process, the non-competitive format, the post-screening director Q&As, and the festival's strict selectivity – while also working to expand NYFF's somewhat Eurocentric focus. Filmmakers like Hou Hsiao-hsien, Manoel de Oliveira, Leos Carax, Raúl Ruiz, and Krzystof Kieslowski were introduced to NYFF audiences during the Roud era, and became regulars under Peña. After 25 years as Program Director and head of the NYFF selection committee, Peña led his final year at NYFF in 2012, during the festival's 50th presentation.[9]

NYFF today[edit]

After Richard Peña's departure, Robert Koehler briefly took over year-round programming duties, while Kent Jones, who left The Film Society of Lincoln Center in 2009 to serve as Executive Director of the World Cinema Foundation, returned to lead NYFF. Jones began his programming career at Film Forum and the Rotterdam Film Festival, before joining The Film Society of Lincoln Center in 1998 as Associate Director of Programming and a member of the NYFF programming committee.

As of 2022, Dennis Lim is the Artistic Director of NYFF.

Opening Night films[edit]

Year Title Director(s) Country Ref.
1963 The Exterminating Angel Luis Buñuel Mexico
1964 Hamlet Grigori Kozintsev USSR
1965 Alphaville Jean-Luc Goddard France
1966 Loves of a Blonde Milos Forman Czechoslovakia
1967 The Battle of Algiers Gillo Pontecorvo Italy / Algeria
1968 Capricious Summer Jiří Menzel Czechoslovakia
1969 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Paul Mazursky US
1970 The Wild Child François Truffaut France
1971 The Beginning Gleb Panfilov USSR
1972 Chloe in the Afternoon Éric Rohmer France
1973 Day for Night François Truffaut France
1974 Don't Cry With Your Mouth Full Pascal Thomas France
1975 Conversation Piece Luchino Visconti Italy
1976 Small Change François Truffaut France
1977 One Sings, the Other Doesn't Agnès Varda France
1978 A Wedding Robert Altman US
1979 Luna Bernardo Bertolucci Italy / US
1980 Melvin and Howard Jonathan Demme US
1981 Chariots of Fire Hugh Hudson UK
1982 Veronika Voss Rainer Werner Fassbinder West Germany
1983 The Big Chill Lawrence Kasdan US
1984 Country Richard Pearce US
1985 Ran Akira Kurosawa Japan
1986 Down by Law Jim Jarmusch US
1987 Dark Eyes Nikita Mikhalkov Italy
1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Pedro Almodóvar Spain
1989 Too Beautiful for You Bertrand Blier France
1990 Miller's Crossing Joel Coen US
1991 The Double Life of Veronique Krzysztof Kieślowski France
1992 Olivier, Olivier Agnieszka Holland France
1993 Short Cuts Robert Altman US
1994 Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino US
1995 Shanghai Triad Zhang Yimou China
1996 Secrets & Lies Mike Leigh United Kingdom
1997 The Ice Storm Ang Lee US
1998 Celebrity Woody Allen US
1999 All About My Mother Pedro Almodóvar Spain
2000 Dancer in the Dark Lars von Trier Denmark / Sweden / France
2001 Va savoir Jacques Rivette France
2002 About Schmidt Alexander Payne US
2003 Mystic River Clint Eastwood US
2004 Look at Me Agnès Jaoui France
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck George Clooney US
2006 The Queen Stephen Frears United Kingdom
2007 The Darjeeling Limited Wes Anderson US
2008 The Class Laurent Cantet France
2009 Wild Grass Alain Resnais France
2010 The Social Network David Fincher US
2011 Carnage Roman Polanski France / Poland
2012 Life of Pi Ang Lee US
2013 Captain Phillips Paul Greengrass US
2014 Gone Girl David Fincher US
2015 The Walk Robert Zemeckis US
2016 13th Ava DuVernay US
2017 Last Flag Flying Richard Linklater US
2018 The Favourite Yorgos Lanthimos Ireland / UK / US
2019 The Irishman Martin Scorsese US
2020 Lovers Rock Steve McQueen United Kingdom
2021 The Tragedy of Macbeth Joel Coen US
2022 White Noise Noah Baumbach US
2023 May December Todd Haynes US

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kern, Laura; Koch, Joanne; Peña, Richard, eds. (2012). New York Film Festival Gold. United States: The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Inc. pp. 16–18. ISBN 978-0-615-66360-9.
  2. ^ "Film at Lincoln Center Announces New York Film Festival Leadership". Film at Lincoln Center. February 19, 2020. Retrieved November 1, 2021.
  3. ^ Cox, Gordon. "Film Society names new heads". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  4. ^ "Main Slate | New York Film Festival". Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  5. ^ "Meet the NYFF61 Team". Film at Lincoln Center. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  6. ^ Landry, Robert J. (September 18, 1963). "Film Front & Lincoln Center". Variety. p. 7. Retrieved February 11, 2024 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ Canby, Vincent (September 18, 1963). "New York Film Trade Somewhat Miffed As Public Flocks To See One-Time Screenings at Festival". Variety. p. 7. Retrieved February 11, 2024 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ "New York Film Festival Reviews". Variety. September 18, 1963. pp. 6, 22. Retrieved February 11, 2024 – via Internet Archive.
  9. ^ a b Smith, Gavin (September/October 2012). "Breaking the Waves". Film Comment.

External links[edit]