Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Stephen Frears's Philomena.

Ask and you shall receive: Film Society of Lincoln Center’s popular Free Talks, which began last summer in our Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater, will relaunch starting tomorrow! The lineup will include current Academy Award nominees, legendary performers, and more.

To kick off the program, director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons) and Academy Award nominee Steve Coogan will be on hand Tuesday, February 11 at 7:00pm to discuss Philomena, their award-winning film starring Judi Dench. Coogan serves as both the film’s co-star and co-screenwriter.  Currently nominated for four Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actress, Original Score and Adapted Screenplay), Philomena has been the subject of much praise and buzz over the past few months, and Frears and Coogan will no doubt discuss the film’s much-discussed political implications and important message.

Up next will be film and theater legend Elaine Stritch, joining us on February 18 to discuss the new documentary made about her career, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (being released by IFC Films on February 21). At 89 years young, this Tony and three-time Emmy award-winning actress (30 Rock, Law & Order, Elaine Stritch at Liberty) always provides spirited conversation and worthwhile stories about her career and life in the business. Don’t miss this very rare opportunity to be hear Stritch reflect on her work.

Matthew McConaughey, recent winner of a Golden Globe and SAG award for his lead performance in the six-time Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club, will join us on February 21 to discuss his latest work. McConaughey has enjoyed a bit of a career resurgence as of late, working with some of the country’s top filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike), William Friedkin (Killer Joe), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street), Jeff Nichols (Mud) and Richard Linklater (Bernie). McConaughey is sure to bring both charm and gravitas.

Elijah Wood in Eugenio Mira's Grand Piano

A hit at last year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, Grand Piano star Elijah Wood will sit down in the Amphitheater on February 26 to discuss his latest thriller. An avid fan of the horror genre, Wood starred in the 2013 remake of Maniac and the recent Sundance premiere Cooties. Grand Piano, directed by Eugenio Mira, features Wood as a celebrated pianist set to give the performance of his career before receiving fatal threats from an anomomoyous onlooker in the audience (played by John Cusack). The film is currently playing On Demand.

Our Free Talks will also feature conversations about diverse industry topics. On February 27, brand and content creators Steve Coulson (Campfire), Behnam Karbassi (No Mimes Media), and Jennifer Warren (Brand Cinema) will join us for “The Art of Advertising,” a panel discussion on brand management, awareness and creativity. March 31 will bring “Laugh Track: The Evolution of the Sitcom,” an event featuring a screening of two noteworthy sitcom episodes about death—The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s “Chuckle Bites The Dust” and Sex and the City’s “My Motherboard, My Self”—followed by a discussion about the history of the form led by television critic Emily Nussbaum (The New Yorker) and author Saul Austerlitz (Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community).

Complimentary tickets to our Free Talks will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis at the Film Center Amphitheater box office starting one hour prior to each event. One ticket per person.

Banished to a convent and forced to give up her baby, an Irish Catholic woman, Philomena Lee sets out in search of her son in this true story about one woman’s battle with the church establishment, namely a group of nuns who forced her to put her child up for adoption. Judi Dench stars as the title character and Coogan, who produced and co-wrote the film, co-stars as an inquisitive journalist in this film that has earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Judi Dench), Best Adapted Screenplay (Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope), and Original Score (Alexandre Desplat). British filmmaker Stephen Frears, well known as director of The Queen (2006), High Fidelity (2000), The Grifters (1990) and Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Prick Up Your Ears (1987) was introduced to American audiences with his 1985 film, My Beautiful Laundrette, starring a young Daniel Day Lewis.
Tuesday, February 11: 7:00PM

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
At 89 years young, the legendary Elaine Stritch is now back in Michigan near where she was born. After decades as the most famous resident of Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel and a fixture on Broadway and in famed cabarets, Stritch decided to leave her singing and acting career behind after more than seventy years appearing on stages worldwide. Her performance of The Ladies Who Lunch in Stephen Sondheim’s Company is a definitive musical moment (and it was captured on screen in a Pennebaker documentary). In Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Chiemi Karasawa captures the humor and intensity of this iconic American artist as she hits the road with her show for one last time. The new documentary, a hit at film festivals last year, opens in theaters later this month.
Tuesday, February 18: 6:30PM

Matthew McConaughey in Jean-Marc Vallée's Dallas Buyer's Club

Dallas Buyers Club
Popular Texas actor Matthew McConaughey has appeared in nearly 50 films since debuting in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused over 20 years ago. But it’s his work in the past few years that has established this performer as one of the most distinctive actors working right now; he has made his mark on several notable American movies, from Mud and Killer Joe to The Wolf of Wall Street and Magic Mike. McConaughey is an Oscar nominee for his performance as real-life AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. An imperfect man fighting for survival during an uncertain time in America, Ron’s self-interest is galvanized into something much more. Dallas Buyers Club is nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor (McConaughey).
Friday, February 21: 5:30PM

Grand Piano
Now in his early 30s, Elijah Wood is one of few actors to have already appeared in a role that will live on well beyond his time as an actor. As Frodo in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wood made his mark and secured a loyal legion of fans. Yet, over a career already approaching 100 on screen credits, Elijah Wood has shown interest in a range of characters. In Grand Piano, Wood stars as a super talented pianist who has given up public performances due to stage fright. In this thriller, he returns to the stage after an absence only to learn that he’s in the sights of a sniper and one wrong note could kill him. The film opens in theaters next month.
Wednesday, February 26: 6:30PM

No longer content to be passive consumers of entertainment, the “New Audience” wants to be active participants in their media. This group doesn’t want to be told about a product via traditional advertising – the 30-second TV spot (who watches live TV!). This has led to a resurgence in “Branded Entertainment,” content supported by long form narrative and crafted to appeal to an audience that actively searches it out to engages with it. To build a branded experience that actively engages an audience takes heart and soul…and story. Navigating between compelling story and promoting a brand’s message is itself an art.  Join Steve Coulson (Campfire), Behnam Karbassi (No Mimes Media), and Jennifer Warren (Brand Cinema) in a lively discussion of the art and craft of making experiences that appeal to modern consumers.
Thursday, February 27: 7:30PM

The sitcom is defined by its episodes.  Each one is a self-enclosed world, a brief overturning of the established order of the show’s universe before returning, unblemished, to the precise spot from which it began.  And great shows are often defined by their truly outstanding episodes—individual installments like The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s “Chuckles Bites the Dust,” or Sex and the City’s “My Motherboard, My Self.”  This event offers two classic sitcom episodes about death—one almost wholly farcical, the other disarmingly emotional. Saul Austerlitz, author of Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community, and New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum will lead a discussion after the screening about the sitcom’s past and present, and take questions from the audience.
Monday, March 31: 6:30PM