Pope Delays New York Film Festival’s 2015 Opening Night

Organizers of the New York Film Festival have decided to delay the 2015 fest’s opening night screening of Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk” due to a concurrent New York City visit by Pope Francis.

Film Society of Lincoln Center, the New York not-for-profit that runs the 53-year-old NYFF, opted to shift the high-profile opening night screening to alleviate the logistical and security snarls they anticipate around the pope’s visit to the city. Pope Francis has a full day of activities — including a visit to East Harlem in the afternoon and an early-evening mass at Madison Square Garden — planned for Sept. 25, the night “The Walk” was originally scheduled to screen.

NYFF will still open its 2015 edition that day with free festival programming yet to be announced, but “The Walk,” still considered the fest’s opening film, will screen Sept. 26. Zemeckis’ movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as high-wire artist Philippe Petit, the man who famously walked on a wire from one Twin Tower of the World Trade Center to the other in 1974.

With its tight, rigorously curated slate, the New York Film Festival has become an important stop on the awards-season circuit for movies angling for the awards-season attention. Last year’s festival opener, “Gone Girl,” went on to become a strong awards-season player, as have prior opening-night offerings including “The Social Network” and “Life of Pi.”

The full slate for the 2015 NYFF has yet to be announced, although organizers have already named “Steve Jobs,” a bio of the Apple guru written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, the Centerpiece film of the festival (premiering Oct. 3) and “Miles Ahead,” Don Cheadle’s Miles David biographer, the festival’s closer (set to screen Oct. 11). The entire roster of films on the main slate, as well as sidebar programming, is due to be announced in the coming weeks.

“The Walk” screens Sept 26. at Alice Tully Hall on the Lincoln Center campus. The 2015 NYFF remains scheduled to run Sept. 25-Oct. 11.

 

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