The 58th New York Film Festival announced on Friday a new programming structure and the addition of curatorial members to their teams. For now, the festival will include in-person and digital experiences and will take place Sept. 25 through Oct. 11.
But one question still hanging over New York Film Festival is if it will be able to continue on as it has in the past, as the coronavirus has resulted in more than 20,000 deaths in the state and closed businesses ranging from restaurants to movie theaters.
It’s not clear if life will go back to normal by the fall. If not, the festival might need to go all-virtual due to the pandemic.
“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,” said Eugene Hernandez, the festival’s director, in a statement. “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.”
The New York Film Festival is now broken down into five sections: Main Slate, Currents, Spotlight, Revivals, and Talks. The Main Slate showcases films that are likely to define this year’s cinematic landscape. The Currents section has now been added to the lineup, which includes an encompassing look at contemporary cinema, presenting short and feature-length experimental projects by filmmakers and artists. Spotlight will highlight sneak previews, gala events, screenings, guest-curated programming and accompanying evening events. Revivals includes updated restorations and projects selected by festival’s filmmakers. The Talks segment will add to NYFF’s screenings with free and for-purchase panel discussions. Documentaries, which originally fell into one section, will expand across the new lineup.
The Main Slate selection committee has been expanded to five members: Dennis Lim (Chair), Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, Hernandez, and Rachel Rosen. The Currents section committee will include Lim, Almozini, Aily Nash and Tyler Wilson. The Spotlight programming will be run by Hernandez and Lim. The Revivals portion will be led by Almozini and Dan Sullivan. The Talks segment will include programming from Hernandez, Devika Girish and Madeline Whittle.
“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,” said Dennis Lim, director of programming.”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.”
He added, “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.”
The festival’s curatorial team will now include Film at Lincoln Center programming staff and international programmers and advisors, including Violeta Bava, Michelle Carey, Leo Goldsmith, Rachael Rakes, and Gina Telaroli. Film at Lincoln Center will handle the formatting of the festival. Eugene Hernandez acknowledged that the New York Film Festival will change due to the crisis at hand, still planning to highlight in-person sessions “safely and securely.”
More information will be released this summer.