×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Richard Linklater Opens NYFF With ‘Last Flag Flying’: ‘It’s Such an Honor’

Richard Linklater’s latest film, “Last Flag Flying” nabbed the coveted opening slot at the 55th annual New York Film Festival because it “just felt right.”

That’s according to fest director Kent Jones, who was at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on Thursday night to introduce the Amazon pic more than once. Audiences had a chance to view the feature thrice before its official VIP 9 p.m. screening, which was followed by a gala at Central Park’s Tavern On The Green that carried on until the wee hours of Friday morning. Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne and Yul Vazquez were among the stars who celebrated the opening night.

“These are discussions that start early,” Jones said of curating the festival. “So I saw ‘Last Flag Flying’ back in April when it was almost finished, and I had a feeling about it.”

He also had a feeling about two other Amazon pics —“Wonderstruck” and “Wonder Wheel,” which are NYFF’s Closing Night and Centerpiece selections respectively.

“Amazon provides one-stop shopping,” Jones joked. “ No, but seriously, Bob Berney, Scott Foundas, Ted Hope – they all have great taste. And it just so happened that they had three great movies that made perfect sense for these three slots.”

For Linklater, who has taken two of his prior films to the fest, nabbing the opening night slot for the first time in his career was” thrilling.”

“When you think of the history and all of the great films and filmmakers who have had this slot, it’s such an honor,” helmer said prior to the 6 p.m. screening.

Jones, who has 17 more festival days ahead of him, said that he isn’t concerned if the 55th edition will top the last 54 fests.

“We don’t have quotas or themes to pursue,” he said. “We don’t say to ourselves, ‘Gee. We haven’t had a enough filmmakers from Eastern Europe lately.’ We just don’t do that. There aren’t awards and there isn’t a marketplace. So it’s not a matter of topping ourselves. It’s a matter of fulfilling our mission — to choose the films that mean the most to us and offer them to people and let them react to them and form their own impressions.”

The 55th edition of the New York fest will run through Oct. 15.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    'Angel Has Fallen' to Dominate Modest Box Office With $20 Million Weekend

    Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are leading the way at the North American box office with “Angel Has Fallen” on its way to about $20 million, early estimates showed Friday. Should forecasts hold, “Angel Has Fallen” will take in about double the next title, Universal’s second weekend of raunchy comedy “Good Boys” with about $10 [...]

  • Aracne

    Sanfic Standout ‘Aracne’ Filmmakers Discuss the State of Chilean Genre

    A key project at this year’s Santiago Lab, the Santiago Intl. Film Festival industry forum for promising Latin American projects, Florencia Dupont’s “Aracne” is representative of a push from the next generation of Chilean filmmakers into genre cinema and the themes it can explore. “Aracne” turns on Beatriz, a young journalist at a small Santiago [...]

  • Eduardo Machuca

    Chile’s Eduardo Machuca Unveils Machuca Films Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    SANTIAGO, Chile – Eduardo Machuca, the former film co-ordinator of Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has launched his own production company, Machuca Films. “After 25 years at the ministry, I felt I needed to tap my creative side,” said Machuca, who is also tying the knot on Saturday (Aug. 24) with a former Sanfic staffer, [...]

  • Robert Downey Jr. Disney Legends Ceremony,

    Robert Downey Jr. Reveals He Was Busted for Smoking Pot at Disneyland

    Robert Downey Jr. celebrated his Disney Legend status by sharing the endearing tale of how the first time he visited Disneyland, he was arrested. The Iron Man actor was being honored in Anaheim at Disney’s biennial D23 convention. After a brief introduction by Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger, Downey felt he had to come [...]

  • Thandie Newton Reminiscence

    Thandie Newton Reteams With 'Westworld's' Lisa Joy on 'Reminiscence' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following her Emmy win for her performance on “Westworld,” Thandie Newton is joining the feature directorial debut of the show’s co-creator. Sources tell Variety that Newton is set to join Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson in Warner Bros.’ “Reminiscence,” directed by “Westworld’s” Lisa Joy. WB acquired the rights to the package after this year’s Berlin [...]

  • Ming-Na Wen poses at the Disney

    Original 'Mulan' Star Ming-Na Wen Weighs in on Remake's Controversy

    Ming-Na Wen, who played the leading voice role in the original 1998 version of “Mulan,” has spoken out about the recent controversy surrounding Disney’s forthcoming live-action remake, which has been co-opted by China’s authoritarian regime to attack Hong Kong protestors. “We are living in a world right now where there’s so much change and confusion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content