New York Film Festival Special Events announced

Stephen Sondheim, Iggy Pop, Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Stewart among expected guests.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Jim Jarmusch with his Only Lovers Left Alive star Tilda Swinton at the 51st New York Film Festival
Jim Jarmusch with his Only Lovers Left Alive star Tilda Swinton at the 51st New York Film Festival Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The 54th New York Film Festival announced two “An Evening with...” celebrations: Olivier Assayas’s latest muse Kristen Stewart, who is also in Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, will be honoured, as well as Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson star Adam Driver in a separate dinner and conversation with Kent Jones.

Jarmusch's salute to Iggy Pop and The Stooges in Gimme Danger; Lonny Price's Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened on Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince's journey with their musical Merrily We Roll Along, and Lin-Manuel Miranda and company in Hamilton’s America by Alex Horwitz are three more of the Special Events to look forward to.

Terence Davies's A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson, is being screened as a Film Comment Presents. Previously announced was Ang Lee's Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk as a Special Presentation.

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

"In 1981, Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince embarked on Merrily We Roll Along, a musical based on the 1934 George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart comedy told in reverse: the characters begin as disillusioned adults and end as starry-eyed adolescents. Though the original, much-ballyhooed production, which featured a cast of teenage unknowns, was panned by the critics and closed after just 16 performances, Merrily We Roll Along would go on to attain musical theatre legend status. This alternately heartbreaking and euphoric film by original cast member Lonny Price features never-before seen footage of Prince and Sondheim at work on the show and revisits many of Prince’s fellow actors, all of them united by this once-in-a-lifetime experience."

World Premiere - Expected: Stephen Sondheim, Lonny Price, and other special guests

Hamilton’s America

"Lin-Manuel Miranda takes us inside the making of his groundbreaking American musical Hamilton, winner of eleven Tonys, as well as the Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy Award. We follow Miranda, his collaborators, and key members of the original cast on their exploration of the history that inspired the show, visiting locations from Valley Forge to the West Wing. We also track the show's journey, from the moment Miranda thrilled the Obamas at the White House in 2009 to the first year of its blockbuster run on Broadway."

World Premiere - Expected: Alex Horwitz and special guests

Gimme Danger

"'Music is life and life is not a business,' said Iggy Pop when he and his surviving bandmates from The Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. Jim Jarmusch’s cinematic offering to the punk gods of Ann Arbor traces the always raucous and frequently calamitous history of the Stooges from inception to the present. With the help of animator James Kerr, plus glimpses of Lucille Ball and a shirtless Yul Brynner amidst a bonanza of archival performance footage, photos, and interviews, Gimme Danger has the feeling of a night at Max’s Kansas City."

Expected: Iggy Pop and Jim Jarmusch

Film Comment Presents: A Quiet Passion

"Swiftly following his glorious Sunset Song, the great British director Terence Davies turns his attention to 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson and ends up with perhaps an even greater triumph. A revelatory Cynthia Nixon embodies Dickinson with a titanic intelligence always threatening to burst forth from behind a polite facade, while Davies creates a formally audacious rendering of her life, from teenage skepticism to lonely death, using her poems (and a touch of Charles Ives) as soundtrack accompaniment. Both sides of Davies’s enormous talent—his witty, Wildean sense of humor and his frightening vision of life’s grim realities—are on full display in this consuming depiction of a creative inner world."

Expected: Terence Davies and Cynthia Nixon

An Evening with Adam Driver - Sunday, October 2

An Evening with Kristen Stewart - Wednesday, October 5

Tickets go on sale to the general public starting on Sunday, September 11.

The 54th New York Film Festival will run from September 30 through October 16.

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