Nine years of planning, fundraising and construction culminated in a celebration among friends on Wednesday afternoon as the Film Society of Lincoln Center cut the ribbon to the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Film Society chairman Ann Tenenbaum introduced Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at an intimate ceremony held outside the doors of the new film center.
“Making art accesible to all New Yorkers across multple platforms is an important part of our great city's vision and cultural future. I am so excited to see this vision expand and grow with the opening of this spectacular landmark,” remarked the Senator. Reynold Levy, President of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, also expressed his excitement over the new film center.
“This is a very special occasion, not only for the Film Society but for Lincoln Center as a whole,” said Levy. “It represents the completion of another major step in the massive $1.2 billion physical transformation of Lincoln Center. When this huge undertaking began my colleagues hoped it would result in a Lincln center that was more inviiting, welcoming, more open, younger, more vibrant -and nowhere moreso than on 65th street – which we hope to convert into a brand new street for the arts.”
Film Society President Dan Stern, described by Levy as a “film freak,” introduced architect David Rockwell, the designer behind the new film center and other high-profile projects like New York's W Hotel and the Kodak Theater, the new home for the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Rockwell began work on the project pro-bono almost a decade ago, creating a state-of-the-art multi-screen complex out of what once was a garage/office space with a mechanical plant underneath. “When we started on this what we visualized was a spot in Lincoln Center that might be small but would signify accessibility, spontaneity, informality and every type of social interaction around cinema possible,” noted the architect.
The brief ceremony concluded with a couple of words from Elinor Bunin Munroe, the veteran producer and animator who lent her name to the film center, before she cut the ribbon to a round of enthusiastic applause from everyone in attendance.
Free events open to the public will run from June 10-12, featuring screenings. lectures, special sneak previews and appearances by filmmakers like Kevin Smith, Mike Nichols, Jason Reitman and Oliver Stone. One lucky film fan will be able to continue to enjoy free events at our new film center by telling us their favorite film fan story (in a hundred words or less) for the opportunity to win a seat for life at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.