New York Film Festival director to step down after 50th edition

Richard Peña says it's 'time for transition'

by Amber Wilkinson

The Film Society of Lincoln Center programme director and head of the New York Film Festival selection committee Richard Peña has announced he will step down at the conclusion of next year's 50th edition of the festival after a quarter of a century of programming.

FSLC's board president Dan Stern made the announcement prior to the Closing Night Gala screening of Alexander Payne's The Descendants.

He said: “For the past 24 years Richard Peña has served as the Chairman of the Selection Committee for the Festival as well as the Program Director of the Film Society.

“Richard has informed the Board that at the end of 2012 — after the Festival’s 50th anniversary, and his 25th at its helm — he will step down from both posts. Richard has been with the Film Society through the opening of the Walter Reade Theater as well as the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and we are pleased that he has accepted our invitation to stay on to help create a new educational initiative at the Film Society.”

Regarding the timing of the move, Peña said: “Heading into the 50th anniversary of the festival, it seems a perfect time for a transition, both for me personally and for the organisation.

“Working at the Film Society has been beyond a 'dream come true' but in the years left me I would like to possibly explore other areas of interest, both within and beyond the cinema. I also feel that, like at any other cultural institution, change can be important, as it will bring in fresh ideas and approaches to lead the Film Society into its next 50 years.”

FSLC’s executive director Rose Kuo said: “Richard Peña has been a shining light for more than two decades at the Film Society, guiding us in the discovery of artists like Pedro Almodovar, Mike Leigh, Lars von Trier, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Hong Sang-soo and many more.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Richard and I am delighted that he will continue with us as he transitions to a new period in his career and life.”

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