Fest fetes N.Y. best

Special forum to donate proceeds to FDNY

NEW YORK — The most glamorous evening on Gotham’s fall film event schedule went down without a hitch Friday night, at the opening gala and screening for the 39th New York Film Festival.

Helmer Jacques Rivette was on hand with Gallic starlets Jeanne Balibar and Helene de Fougerolles for the U.S. premiere of “Va Savoir!” (Who Knows?). The film opened Saturday in New York theaters.

Pic was screened in staggered showings at the security-tight Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, where Film Society of Lincoln Center chairman Ira Resnick and director Richard Pena took the stage to introduce Rivette.

“This movie was shot in a different frame of mind than you here are who will receive it,” said the diminutive, soft-spoken 73-year-old helmer. “That’s why we wanted to be here — to be with you.”

Resnick said that all proceeds from fest special forum “Making Movies That Matter,” sponsored by HBO, will be donated to FDNY Engine Company 40 and Ladder Company 35. The companies, which share a facility in Lincoln Center’s Rose Building, lost 11 men in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Festival sponsor Grand Marnier, which recently upped its commitment to the NYFF through 2004, pulled out the stops for the after-screening gala at Tavern on the Green. Every room in the late Warner LeRoy’s Central Park culinary amusement park was packed for the party, which kicked off around midnight. And no one was letting the terrorist attacks affect their high spirits.

Key players in the Gotham film community who attended included Brad Anderson, Bingham Ray, John Sloss, Christine Vachon, Jeff Lipsky, Michael Barker, Tom Bernard, Michelle Byrd, Paul Schrader, Emily Russo and James Schamus.

Fest runs through Oct. 14, when it will close with Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, “Eloge de L’Amour” (In Praise of Love).

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