Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) announced that Lesli Klainberg will step down as President of FLC, a role she has held for over a decade, after the 2024 New York Film Festival (NYFF), held September 27 – October 13. The FLC Board of Directors will form a search committee to recruit a new leader for the nonprofit film organization. Additionally, the Board has appointed Matt Bolish as Deputy Director to work with Lesli through this leadership transition period. Matt has been Vice President of Operations at FLC and Managing Director of the New York Film Festival, and a member of FLC staff since January 2011.

“My tenure at Film at Lincoln Center has been one of the most rewarding periods in my professional life. After over a decade as President and 14 New York Film Festivals come September, I am proud of how the organization has transformed and what we have accomplished. I’m leaving with a passionate and committed team in place,” said Lesli Klainberg. “The recent New York Film Festivals have seen record-breaking attendance and year-round enthusiastic audiences of all ages enjoy the diverse range of FLC’s programming. This demonstrates the enduring power of film to bring people together and inspire. Now is a great time to make this change and allow new leadership to make an impact.”

Dan Stern, Chairman of the FLC Board of Directors, said, “Lesli’s dedication to global cinema and to promoting a vibrant film community has successfully guided FLC towards the robust and active year-round organization it is today. She navigated the difficult COVID shutdown with determination and creativity and is leaving a strong team that positions FLC for future growth and success. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Lesli for her leadership and dedication. We wish her continued success in the next phase of her career and life.” 

Under Lesli’s leadership, FLC underwent a foundational transformation, evolving from New York’s premier cinematheque to the thriving three-screen film center it is today. This transformation has been marked by a year-round mix of world-class new releases, festivals, series, retrospectives, educational programs, and events. Her update of NYFF operations has led to some of the most successful NYFF events in recent years. She has also produced 12 Chaplin Award Galas, honoring esteemed figures such as Catherine Deneuve, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Viola Davis, and Jeff Bridges. During the COVID pandemic shutdown, she oversaw the development of a hybrid model for NYFF with streaming screenings and drive-in theaters in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Lesli also worked closely with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts leadership, including consulting on the best-in-class film projection installed as part of the renovation of David Geffen Hall. 

Her passion for cultivating a diverse film community through education and artist development programs led to the creation of FLC’s Artists and Critics Academies, student screenings, film programs in schools, and free membership for film lovers under 25 years of age. She led the establishment of Art House NY, a collaborative effort among movie theaters to promote the theatrical experience. In addition, Lesli served as the publisher of Film Comment magazine, the nation’s leading journal of film criticism and culture, and established the FLC Archives, a formal record of the organization’s contributions to global film culture across seven decades.

Before becoming President of FLC in 2014, Lesli served two years as Managing Director and began working at FLC in 2011 as producer of the New York Film Festival.

Matt Bolish and Lesli Klainberg

Lesli Klainberg has led nonprofit organizations and had a long career as an award-winning producer and director of independent documentaries. Since 2014, she has been President of Film at Lincoln Center (FLC), and between 2012 and 2014, she was Managing Director of FLC, producer of the New York Film Festival, and producer of the annual Chaplin Award Gala. Lesli started at FLC as the producer of the 49th NYFF in 2011. Her films include the Sundance Audience Award winner Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer’s End, Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema, In The Company of Women, and other documentaries screened at festivals worldwide. In 2008, Lesli was named the Executive Director of NewFest, New York’s LGBT Film Festival. She has also been a consulting producer for the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program and was co-leader of the IFP’s (now The Gotham) Documentary Finishing Lab for three years. Lesli is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Documentary Branch and the Producers Guild. She is a founding National Board member of GLAAD and a former Board member of both Outfest and NewFest. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Purchase Film Conservatory program. Lesli has served on juries at film festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Locarno, Provincetown, Cartagena, and Tribeca.

Matt Bolish is the Managing Director of the New York Film Festival and Vice President of Operations at Film at Lincoln Center (FLC). He oversees festival partnerships for the organization, including collaborations with The Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum, the New York Asian Film Foundation, LCPA Outdoor screenings, and others. As managing director and producer of the New York Film Festival, Matt is intimately involved in all operational aspects of the annual event. Between 2010 and 2019, he curated Convergence, FLC’s interactive and immersive storytelling program. In 2022, he was elected to the board of Art House Convergence, an organization dedicated to advancing community-based, mission-driven media exhibitions. Before joining FLC, Matt worked at a number of film festivals and arts organizations, including the American Film Institute, Outfest, and the Dallas Film Society.