NYFF 2021 poster revealed

Designer Kara Walker explains her idea

by Anne-Katrin Titze

59th New York Film Festival poster, designed by Kara Walker
59th New York Film Festival poster, designed by Kara Walker

Film at Lincoln Center revealed today the 59th New York Film Festival poster designed by Kara Walker. Last year’s poster was designed pre-pandemic by John Waters and featured Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodóvar, Barry Jenkins, Agnès Varda, and Jean-Luc Godard. Opening Night Gala selection is Joel Coen’s The Tragedy Of Macbeth, starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand; Jane Campion's adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel The Power Of The Dog with Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Kodi Smit-McPhee is the Centerpiece selection, and Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers, starring Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit will close the festival.

Kara Walker says of her design: “I photographed the two cut paper figures silhouetted against the white backdrop of a shadow puppet screen in a number of cryptic scenarios. The initial result had the tonal quality of a grainy black-and-white film clip, but I was annoyed that there was no actual story. In post production—meaning, while fiddling with Photoshop—I cropped another of the characters from the shoot: the figure of a raging, menacing jackbooted man with a little red tissue paper around him. As I moved that crop around, it fit neatly into an outstretched hand like the cellphone that was missing all along.

"Suddenly, it is two women watching a man behave in some kind of way, as if fictional character Topsy foiled evil plantation master Simon Legree by filming him and then sharing it. The many events we are witness to, both absurd and horrifying, grand and quotidian, that are shared on small screens, resonated as a counterpoint to the legacy of cinema and the history of the New York Film Festival. What to make of the amateur filmmakers equipped with just cell phones and a critical eye?”

The 2020 New York Film Festival runs from September 24 through October 10, 2021

Share this with others on...

Stepping into a girl's world Alessandro Cassigoli and Casey Kauffman on their long-term commitment to coming-of-age film Californie

Streaming Spotlight – pirates at the pictures Hoist the mainsail as we set out on the high seas

Getting her due Marianna Palka on the debt industry, making room for women, and Collection

Eye For Books Terence Fisher: Master Of Gothic Cinema by Tony Dalton

Purpose and dignity Jonathan Taplin on working with Martin Scorsese, the Sixties and Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood

Calvert Journal Film Festival announces titles 35 films to screen online this October

More news and features

We're bringing you news, reviews and interviews from the San Sebastian Film Festival and the Glasgow Youth Film Festival .

We're looking forward to the New York Film Festival and Grimmfest.

We've recently covered the Venice Film Festival and Deauville, horror favourite Frightfest, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Fantasia International Film Festival,.LGBTQ+ favourite Outfest Los Angeles and the Locarno Film festival.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.