Public Theater exec director nabs new gig

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has named Mara Manus its exec director.

Manus will depart her post as exec director of Gotham’s Public Theater after six years. She officially begins at the Film Society in mid-September, in time for the New York Film Festival.

“When I left the film industry, I never stopped loving filmmakers and their films, so now I find myself in the most perfect position to capitalize on all of my work experience in both the movie business and cultural institutions,” Manus said.

At the Public, Manus’ team brought financial stability and artistic expansion to one of Gotham’s most venerated institutions. She increased the budget from $11 million to $20 million and revived the two-show tradition of free Shakespeare in Central Park that had been halved due to budget constraints.

Board prexy Daniel Stern said, “Her expertise in strategic planning and fund-raising, as well as her knowledge of the city, will be a great asset to the organization and will serve us well in reaching our goals and charting a new future that maximizes the expanded capability of a new film center in an extremely complex landscape.”

Manus said she hopes “that what the film fest is to the New York film community, the Film Society will be to a broader group of film lovers. It’s highly curated, so come. People think about the Public Theater: ‘I don’t know who this playwright is, but I’ll go because it’s the Public.’ I want that here.”

Chief among Manus’ priorities is a rebranding campaign to reach a younger and broader community of filmgoers and transitioning into the new three-screen film center space, completion of which is expected in two years.

Manus is no stranger to the film industry; she was a production exec at MCA Universal, as well as Roger Corman’s New World Pictures and Trans-Pacific Films. She was associate producer of “Above the Rim,” an $8 million movie with Tupac Shakur for New Line Cinema that lensed in Gotham.

Prior to her post at the Public, Manus was program officer at the Ford Foundation, where she oversaw multimillion-dollar grants, and she served as prexy of Chrysalis, a nonprofit supporting the impoverished. Manus takes the reins at the Film Society from Claudia Bonn.

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