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The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Thursday that Kent Jones has been named director of programming for the New York Film Festival and that Robert Koehler will serve as the Film Society’s director of programming, year round. They will succeed program director and NYFF selection committee head Richard Pena, who is stepping down at the end of 2012 after 25 years in his dual role.
“Richard Pena has played a fundamental role in defining our organization and its commitment to discovering and supporting the best and most important cinema in the world. Kent Jones and Bob Koehler, whose thinking and writing about cinema I deeply respect, are the perfect team to build upon Richard’s vision and carry it forward,” FSLC executive director Rose Kuo said. Pena is expected to remain involved with the Film Society by helping to design and organize a new educational initiative.
The Film Society said appointing two directors to replace Pena will allow it to develop new programs now that it has expanded operations with the opening of the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center. In addition to continuing the Film Society’s trademark programs, Jones and Koehler will continue to develop the new first run, family films, new media, educational and artist development programs.
Jones served as the Film Society’s associate director of programming from 1998-2009 and was a member of the NYFF selection committee from 2002-09. In 2007, a collection of his writings, Physical Evidence, was published by Wesleyan University Press, and he recently edited the first English-language volume of writings on French writer-director Olivier Assayas, published by Filmmuseum Synema Publikationem.
A 2012 Guggenheim Fellow, Jones has collaborated on documentaries with Martin Scorsese, beginning with My Voyage to Italy (2001), on which he served as co-writer. He and Scorsese co-wrote and co-directed A Letter to Elia (2010), about director Elia Kazan. Scorsese was the producer and narrator of Jones’ 2007 documentary about Val Lewton, The Man in the Shadows.
Koehler, a film critic and festival programmer, served as an instructor and programmer for UCLA Extension’s Sneak Preview program from 2003-07. In 2003, he developed the film program “The Films That Got Away,” an ongoing series presenting significant recent work that has not screened in Los Angeles. In 2009, Koehler was appointed director of programming at AFI Fest Los Angeles, where he helped create a focused competition section titled “New Lights” as part of AFI Fest’s programming concept as a festival-of-festivals.
Koehler’s column analyzing film festivals can be read at Filmlinc.com, FSLC’s website. Among his published work are chapters in the books Cine Argentino 1999-2009, On Film Festivals, from Wildflower Press, and American Comedy, published by the San Sebastian Film Festival.
“With Kent stewarding the New York Film Festival — which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month — and Robert overseeing the varied and expanding needs of our growing organization, we are primed to move forward and meet the evolving demands of the future of film,” FSLC board chairman Ann Tenenbaum said.
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