New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones Stepping Down After 2019 Edition

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Kent Jones

Film at Lincoln Center executive director Lesli Klainberg will oversee the transition of leadership for the annual fall event.

New York Film Festival director and selection committee chair Kent Jones will step down following the 2019 edition of the festival, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The executive director of Film at Lincoln Center, which presents the NYFF, Lesli Klainberg, will oversee the transition of leadership. Jones will continue to work with Film at Lincoln Center in an advisory role.

Jones has served as NYFF director since 2012 after joining Film at Lincoln Center, formerly known as the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in 1998 as associate director of programming, a position he held until 2008. He joined the NYFF selection committee in 2002. During his time as NYFF director, Jones expanded the festival with additional sidebars and sections.

Jones' exit comes after the March 2019 release of his film Diane, starring Mary Kay Place, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won best cinematography, best screenplay and best film. Jones' additional credits as a writer and director include the HBO documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut, 2007's Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, and two collaborations with Martin Scorsese, My Voyage to Italy and A Letter to Elia.

The 57th edition of the New York Film Festival, which kicks off with the world premiere of Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13.

“At some point when I was pretty young and already deep into movies, the New York Film Festival became a beacon for me,” said Jones. “Throughout its history, it has been a true home for the art of cinema — that was how it began with Richard Roud and Amos Vogel, that was how it remained with my predecessor Richard Peña, and that was how I’ve done my best to maintain it. I thank my colleagues, I thank the board for sticking to the original mission, I thank our audiences, I thank our colleagues in the industry, but most of all I thank the filmmakers. It’s been a joy and an honor to present their work.”

Klainberg added, “Beginning as a year-round programmer, Kent has shared his knowledge and passion for the movies with our Film at Lincoln Center audiences for almost 20 years. On behalf of the Board and staff, I’m delighted to support him as he continues into the next phase of his career, making more of his own cinematic dreams come true, and we can’t wait to enjoy the results.”