Photo by Fernando Diaz

Now that the 52nd New York Film Festival has opened, we continue our look back at previous years with some of our favorite photographs from the book New York Film Festival Gold, edited by Laura Kern, Joanne Koch, and Richard Peña. Above are esteemed auteur Akira Kurosawa and actor Richard Gere on Opening Night 1985 (Ran opened the festival that year). Gere returns to the film festival with haunting New York City film Time Out of Mind, in which he plays a homeless man.

The New York Film Festival has always been an important showcase for world cinema and independent films, providing a stage for films that find difficulty gaining American distribution. Pedro Almodóvar, who made his debut at the festival in 1988, explains: “I think it has managed to maintain the difficult balance between low-budget cinema and big productions paying attention to the quality and interest held by each independent film.” 

Have a look at some of the icon's who've attended the festival over the past 52 years.

Wendy Keys and Tim Burton, Ed Wood, 1994, photo by Stephanie Berger

Dermot Mulroney, Jack Nicholson, and Hope Davis, Opening Night, About Schmidt, 2002, photo by Godlis

Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Milos Forman, Donna Hanover, and Edward Norton, The People vs. Larry Flynt, 1996, photo by Godlis

Manoel de Oliveira and Richard Peña, The Convent, 1995, photo by Godlis

Rossy de Palma and Marisa Paredes, The Flower of My Secret, 1995, photo by Stephanie Berger

Noah Baumbach, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Laura Linney, and Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale, 2005, photo by Godlis

Todd Solondz, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Ellen Barkin, Palindromes, 2004, photo by Godlis

Penélope Cruz, Volver, 2006, photo by Godlis

Laura Dern and David Lynch, 2006, photo by Godlis

Roy Furman, George Clooney, and Frieda Furman at the Opening Night of Good Night, and Good Luck., 2005, Photo by Stephanie Berger