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Eugene Hernandez Named Director of New York Film Festival

Dennis Lim also expanding role to director of programming with NYFF

Eugene Hernandez has been named the new director of the New York Film Festival, Film at Lincoln Center’s executive director Lesli Klainberg announced Wednesday. He’s replacing Kent Jones, who stepped down to become a full-time filmmaker after last year’s NYFF.

Dennis Lim, the director of programming for Film at Lincoln Center, is also expanding his role to become director of programming for NYFF.

Hernandez will remain the deputy executive director of the organization. And in addition to his current duties, which include leadership of FLC’s Artist, Industry, and Education initiatives and serving as publisher of Film Comment, Hernandez will be responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of the New York Film Festival and will serve on the festival’s selection committee.

“This is a very exciting new chapter in the story of the New York Film Festival and Film at Lincoln Center,” Klainberg said in a statement. “Eugene Hernandez is a singular presence in the film community, and when we began to consider the qualities needed for a person in this position, we knew we had the perfect person in-house already. His background as a journalist and founder of IndieWire as well as his more than eight years at FLC make him uniquely qualified to lead NYFF into a new era.”

Lim first started his tenure with FLC as a member of the selection committee between 2009-2011 and then again since 2013. He will now lead the programming strategy for the festival, chairing the committee that selects the Main Slate, among other sections, while continuing to oversee year-round programming for FLC. He’ll work together with Hernandez on shaping the selection process and structure of the festival.

“Dennis Lim is one of the most highly respected programmers in the world. In addition to the expert curatorial oversight Dennis brings to FLC’s year-round programming, we’re exceptionally fortunate to have him collaborate with Eugene to bring new energy to this venerable festival, which remains FLC’s most important annual event,” Klainberg continued.

The complete, expanded selection committee will be composed of FLC staff and external programmers, the members of which will be announced this spring.

“I’ll never forget my first experience at the New York Film Festival,” Hernandez said in a statement. “I had just moved to the city and saw Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction,’ opening night of the 32nd NYFF, and was immediately under the spell of the festival’s prestige and singular programming. Ever since, the vital work of Film at Lincoln Center has been integral in shaping my passion for international cinema. I have learned so much from former Directors Richard Peña, Kent Jones, and selection committees through the years, as well as the festival’s sharp, enthusiastic audiences that make NYFF truly New York’s film festival. As Director of NYFF, I am honored to usher this legacy forward, and create an event that is inviting, engaging, and a home for a diverse array of artists and audiences, as it has always been for me.”

“I’m honored and excited to take on this new responsibility at a festival that has played a central role in the city’s film culture and that has meant so much to me personally,” Lim said in a statement. “At its heart, the New York Film Festival has always been about making a case for what matters in cinema, and beyond that, for the importance of cinema as an art form and as it relates to the world around us. I believe that is a more essential mission than ever today, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with the programming team to shape a festival that retains its singular identity while remaining open to discovery and surprise.”

The 58th edition of the NYFF runs Sept. 25-Oct. 11, 2020.

Hernandez is a film journalist and the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of IndieWire. In 2010, he joined FLC as director of digital strategy and was promoted to deputy director in 2014. He’s worked as a consultant for non-profits including the Creative Capital Foundation, and he serves on the board of advisors for SXSW, SeriesFest, and Art House Convergence and is a programming consultant for the Key West Film Festival.

Lim has been the director of programming at Film at Lincoln Center since 2013, leading the year-round curatorial strategy for the organization. During his tenure, he has co-chaired the New Directors/New Films selection committee, launched FLC’s annual Art of the Real festival, and organized retrospectives of Jane Campion, George Cukor, Christian Petzold, Raúl Ruiz, Agnès Varda, and John Waters. He was previously the film editor of the Village Voice and the editorial director of the Museum of the Moving Image, and was the programmer of the 2010 Flaherty Film Seminar. His 2015 book “David Lynch: The Man from Another Place” has been translated into three languages. His monograph on the Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo will be published in 2021.