The Film Society family mourns the loss of our dear friend and cherished colleague Noah Witke. A graduate of Juilliard, Noah joined the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 2011, starting as theater staff and becoming a key member of the New York Film Festival’s production team. He made a profound mark on the place and the people, having the unique perspective of working with all of our departments. Noah was not just a colleague, he was our friend and he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts, our prayers, and our love goes out to his family and friends.
To those who knew Noah, we invite you to share your memories and photos of him. Send them to email@example.com and we will add them to this post.
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Noah was one of those people whom you instantly connected to. Over these past few years of knowing him, he showed such dedication, ambition, and kindness in all he did. I remember at New Directors/New Films this past year we had a thing of giving each other high fives in the hallway: “You can do it! Almost there!” Then at NYFF, I usually got “You bastard!” for having left the Film Society.
That was the sort of free spirit he always had, always positive and seeing the best of things. I’ll miss you buddy.
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I grew up dancing with Noah in Fairfield, CT at the D’valda & Sirico Dance and Music and Center. This video was choreographed by Crystal Chapman. I also went to Juilliard with him. He was a senior when I was a freshman dancer. —Kelsey Connolly
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I taught Noah how to make a pizza from scratch. His enthusiasm learning how to knead the dough was like a kid learning how to hit his first baseball. I will cherish our brief friendship. —Ben Asen, father of Noah’s friend Harrison
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“Sometimes I think nothing is simple but the feeling of pain.” —Lester Bangs
Like most people, I’ve lost loved ones. Family, mentors, co-workers. But this, this has left a hole in me (and surely others) that I never expected, never, in my worst nightmares, never thought could ever, ever, ever possibly be. I feel hollowed out and false; shuffling through because I still breathe, and that’s all.
I wish those of you who never got to meet or spend time with Noah could have done so; but then again, I would never want you to feel a fraction of what those who did know and love him are feeling today.
There were people saying things like “he was an angel; he was pure.” It’s not true. He was fully human, wrestled with his faults and flaws, and importantly, acknowledged them, and tried, always tried to get out in front of the things he felt wanting in himself. He and I had long, long talks about how to do so; how to figure out the puzzle we presented to ourselves.
The great, great sadness for me stems not from the fact that he will never walk into my office and by his presence force a smile no matter what madness was going on around us; not from the fact that he gave me compliments and designations in his life that I feel I barely deserve or had earned; not from watching his effect on the people he touched, or his enormous talent as an actor, which I was so fortunate to have witnessed.
But that he seemed to have at last come in to a place of peace with himself, his goodness and his flaws, and was truly, fully present in the world, awake to the possibilities in front of him. And happy with who and where he was and was going to be.
Tomorrow morning, many of us who loved Noah, with his family, will gather again as we did early this Sunday, when most of us only stopped weeping in time to comfort another, then started again and needed comfort. We’ll console each other again, and speak of what he meant to each of us. It’s all we can do, now.
Except try to love each other, and connect as Noah would have. Beyond and after this pain, this loss, this terrible reality. —Glenn Raucher
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Less than two months after I arrived in the USA, there I was at the New York Film Festival, bedecked in vivid pumpkin-spice ‘volunteer’ orange and ready for my first shift on the merchandise stand in Alice Tully Hall. As a newcomer to the city, you hear lots of stories about how rude New Yorkers are. I, too, have been pushed aside on the subway and yelled at in the streets, but Noah immediately flipped those expectations and made all of us volunteers feel at home. Friendly, funny and forever willing to offer a helping hand, Noah was always there insisting we took a break or got our lunch, and every shift ended with a heartfelt—and much appreciated—”thank you.” I didn’t know Noah for long, but his kindness had quickly made a very positive and warm impression. —Elanor, NYFF54 Volunteer
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“I took this photo of Noah in 2012. We had a very stressful day with talent and Noah was helping me shuttle celebrities and entourages in and out of the Walter Reade. When it was over, I remember making Noah stand in front of this step and repeat and told him that I wanted a photo of him because I knew he would become a famous actor one day and I could say “I knew him when.” Noah was a very bright light who always listened to me when I needed an ear. Helped me out when I needed a hand. And always with a bright smile. I got to see him grow from Juilliard student to accomplished young man. I never got to see him perform on the stage, which I regret, but luckily had the luxury to work with him and know him in life.” —David Ninh