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New York Film Festival to Move Forward in September With Possible Virtual Screening Options

Festival with new format will take place Sept. 25 – Oct. 11

The New York Film Festival will move forward in late September for its 58th edition, and the festival is considering both in-person and digital options for events as circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic allow, Film at Lincoln Center announced Friday.

The festival will run September 25 through October 11, and it will also feature an overhauled programming structure shaped by the festival’s new director for 2020 Eugene Hernandez, as well as the newly appointed director of programming Dennis Lim.

The changes to NYFF were in the works prior to the coronavirus and come after long-time director Kent Jones stepped down following last year’s festival to become a full time filmmaker. The new selection committee for the main slate and other sections will also include a wider roster of Film at Lincoln Center’s programmers and advisors involved.

The festival’s main slate will remain the core of the festival and feature movies that “promise to define the year in cinema.” It will be led by a selection committee that includes Lim (Chair), Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, Hernandez and Rachel Rosen.

New to the festival is the Currents section, which compliments the main slate and will encompass most of the short films and other features that have an emphasis on new and innovative forms and voices. Also new is the Spotlight section, which will include the festival’s galas, sneak previews and screenings with live performances. And the festival will also feature a Revivals section of restored classic films and a Talks section for ticketed panel discussions.

Film at Lincoln Center will determine the complete format of the festival this summer in regards to the health crisis while working to ensure the safety of audiences and guests.

“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,” Dennis Lim, director of programming, New York Film Festival, said in a statement. “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.”

“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, said in a statement.

NYFF is also appointing a new team of five advisors: Violeta Bava, Michelle Carey, Leo Goldsmith, Rachael Rakes, and Gina Telaroli. The advisors will work with festival programmers on film scouting and to facilitate connections and collaborations with various sectors of cinema.