New York Film Festival Plans Hybrid Format Amid COVID-19 Crisis

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New York Film Festival

Film at Lincoln Center is "exploring a combination of both in-person and digital experiences" for the NYFF's planned Sept. 25 to Oct. 11 run.

The New York Film Festival on Friday unveiled a new programming structure and talked preparations for the upcoming 58th edition amid a public health crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus to include a likely in-person and virtual hybrid format.

Film at Lincoln Center in a statement said it is "exploring a combination of both in-person and digital experiences, as circumstances allow" for the planned Sept. 25 to Oct. 11 run. Festival organizers added they have had to balance a traditional commitment to films and filmmakers with "ensuring that the safety and well-being of our audiences and guests remain our utmost priority."

After Eugene Hernandez was named the new director of the NYFF and Dennis Lim became the event's new director of programming, the festival has streamlined film programming into five banner sections: Main Slate, Currents, Spotlight, Revivals and Talks.

"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. 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" Lim said in his own statement.

The Main Slate sidebar has a new five-strong selection committee chaired by Lim and including Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, Hernandez and Rachel Rosen. NYFF has also tapped a new team of five advisers: Violeta Bava, Michelle Carey, Leo Goldsmith, Rachael Rakes and Gina Telaroli.

"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," Hernandez said.

He reiterated the 2020 edition will aim to keep audiences safe and secure, whether they end up being in person or viewing films on virtual platforms. "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,” Hernandez added.