Updated April 2, 2020

Dear Film at Lincoln Center Community,

I hope I find you and yours well in this uncertain time. We have our supporters, friends, colleagues, and the artists with whom we collaborate in our hearts and minds.

As is the case with many non-profit arts organizations, we find ourselves in extremely challenging times as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 virus. 

At the direction of city, state, and federal elected officials, along with the recommendations of the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) suspended theater operations as of March 12, 2020, to assist in slowing the spread of the virus. 

This action significantly impacted our programming. The 25th edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema was cut short and our screenings of Mapping Bacurau stopped almost as soon as they started. Our long-standing partnership series with MoMA, New Directors/New Films, has been postponed, and our screenings of the Met Opera Live in HD had to be canceled. Our annual Chaplin Award Gala, an event we depend on for the necessary funding to present our programming and fulfill our mission each year, will now be postponed until the fall. We are now looking ahead at the next 3-6 months of intended programming and are making decisions about how we will rearrange and re-open when possible. 

Like all New York City non-profit arts organizations that rely on the bringing-together of large groups as a primary revenue driver, we’ve had to make some very difficult decisions to ensure that Film at Lincoln Center withstands this period and will continue to provide the best of cinema to New Yorkers and film lovers around the world. 

We are very grateful for the hard work of our employees and the support of our board, members, and patrons. Over the past few years, FLC was able to build a strong financial foundation to withstand future economic instability. However, the speed and depth of the events that have unfolded, coupled with continuing uncertainty, required a plan to ensure the future viability of the organization. Regretfully, I must report that the organization to make some incredibly difficult decisions, including across-the-board salary cuts, furloughs, layoffs of some full-time staff and all part-time theater staff, and other budget and program cuts.

We will continue to provide health insurance for all of our furloughed full-time employees and will make every effort to ensure that everyone impacted by these steps will receive all benefits due to them in keeping with developing legislation in Washington and Albany. It is our hope that when we reopen we will be in a position to do so with all our furloughed employees returning with us. 

Additionally, Film Comment magazine’s May/June issue will be distributed digitally, rather than in print, and then the publication will go on an indefinite hiatus. See more details hereFilm in Education, our in-school visual literacy program, is being suspended. 

At Film at Lincoln Center, our small, passionate team of employees are the lifeblood of what we do, and these decisions were not made easily. It is imperative, however, that we take decisive action to ensure that once we are on the other side of this unprecedented moment in global history that we will be able to start rebuilding and resume our mission to support the art and elevating the craft of cinema.

Wishing everyone safety, health, and resilience,

Lesli Klainberg
Executive Director
Film at Lincoln Center