The New York Film Festival’s Special Events section always lives up to its name, and this year is no different. The lineup for the 54th edition of the festival is anchored by conversations with Kristen Stewart and Adam Driver as part of our “An Evening With…” benefit series.
Special Events will feature the world premiere of Lonny Price’s Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, a nonfiction account of Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince’s 1981 musical-flop-turned-cult-favorite Merrily We Roll Along, with Price and theater luminary Sondheim in person. Thirty-five years later in the world of musicals, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is a Broadway sensation. Alex Horwitz’s Hamilton’s America goes behind the history of the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize–winning production, and makes its world premiere at NYFF with the director and special guests to be announced. The Film Society will do outreach to young audiences for the screening, which debuts in advance of its PBS Great Performances broadcast on October 21. Festival veteran Jim Jarmusch brings a second film to NYFF (in addition to Main Slate selection Paterson) with the U.S. premiere of Gimme Danger, a documentary chronicling the history of legendary proto-punk band The Stooges. Jarmusch and Stooges front man Iggy Pop will appear in person for the screening.
The fourth annual Film Comment Presents selection is Terence Davies’s A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as celebrated American poet Emily Dickinson. In previous years, Film Comment has championed films such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and László Nemes’s Son of Saul, and Davies’s anticipated new work comes on the heels of his breathtaking Sunset Song, which opened the annual Film Comment Selects festival earlier this year. The magazine will have an expanded presence at this year’s festival with two special panels: a roundtable discussion with festival filmmakers about their experiences as movie lovers and creators, and an in-depth look at the September-October issue with the magazine’s editors and contributors, examining the state of cinema today.
The annual “An Evening With…” events recognize the work of individuals who have made significant artistic contributions to film culture, and this year’s honorees are Kristen Stewart and Adam Driver, two of the brightest young actors working today. Driver gives a remarkable performance in Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, and Stewart shines in three New York Film Festival titles: Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper, and Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, previously announced as a special World Premiere presentation in the Special Events section. Each of the evenings will include dinner and an intimate conversation between the award-winning actors and NYFF Director Kent Jones, and will serve as a benefit for the Film Society.
NYFF previously announced lineups for the Main Slate, Convergence, Projections, Retrospective, and Revivals sections. For the latest news, subscribe to the festival’s newsletter and follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter.
Tickets for the 54th New York Film Festival will go on sale September 11. To learn more about NYFF tickets, including a complete list of on-sale dates, prices, discount options, and our rush and standby policies, click here.
For even more access, VIP passes and subscription packages offer the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening and Closing Nights and Centerpiece. Benefits vary based on the pass or package type purchased. NYFF54 passes and packages are on sale now. Click here to learn more.
Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened
Directed by Lonny Price
USA, DCP, 95m
In 1981, Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince embarked on Merrily We Roll Along, a musical based on the 1934 George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart comedy told in reverse: the characters begin as disillusioned adults and end as starry-eyed adolescents. Though the original, much-ballyhooed production, which featured a cast of teenage unknowns, was panned by the critics and closed after just 16 performances, Merrily We Roll Along would go on to attain musical theater legend status. This alternately heartbreaking and euphoric film by original cast member Lonny Price features never-before seen footage of Prince and Sondheim at work on the show and revisits many of Price’s fellow actors, all of them united by this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Stephen Sondheim, Lonny Price, and other special guests to appear in person!
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Directed by Ang Lee
USA, 2016, DCP, 110m
Ang Lee’s stunning adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel is the story of an Iraq war hero (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who comes home with his fellow members of Bravo Company for a victory tour. This culminates in a halftime show at a Thanksgiving Day football game—a high-intensity media extravaganza summoning memories of the trauma of losing his beloved sergeant in a firefight. Lee’s brave, heartbreaking film goes right to the heart of a great division that haunts this country: between the ideal image of things as they should be and the ongoing reality of things as they are. Billy Lynn is also a step forward in the art of cinema, made with a cinematographic process years ahead of its time. With a brilliant supporting cast, including Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, with Vin Diesel and Steve Martin. A TriStar Pictures release.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
USA, 2016, DCP, 108m
“Music is life and life is not a business,” said Iggy Pop when he and his surviving bandmates from The Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. Jim Jarmusch’s cinematic offering to the punk gods of Ann Arbor traces the always raucous and frequently calamitous history of the Stooges from inception to the present. With the help of animator James Kerr, plus glimpses of Lucille Ball and a shirtless Yul Brynner amidst a bonanza of archival performance footage, photos, and interviews, Gimme Danger has the feeling of a night at Max’s Kansas City. An Amazon Studios and Magnolia Pictures release. Iggy Pop and Jim Jarmusch to appear in person!
Directed by Alex Horwitz
USA, 2016, DCP, 84m
Lin-Manuel Miranda takes us inside the making of his groundbreaking American musical Hamilton, winner of eleven Tonys, as well as the Pulitzer Prize, and Emmy and Grammy Awards. We follow Miranda, his collaborators, and key members of the original cast on their exploration of the history that inspired the show, visiting locations from Valley Forge to the West Wing. We also track the show’s journey, from the moment Miranda thrilled the Obamas at the White House in 2009 to the first year of its blockbuster run on Broadway. Hamilton’s America debuts at the festival in advance of its PBS Great Performances broadcast. A RadicalMedia and PBS Great Performances documentary. Special guests to appear in person!
Film Comment Events:
Film Comment Presents:
A Quiet Passion
Directed by Terence Davies
U.K./Belgium, 2016, DCP, 125m
Swiftly following his glorious Sunset Song, the great British director Terence Davies turns his attention to 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson and ends up with perhaps an even greater triumph. A revelatory Cynthia Nixon embodies Dickinson with a titanic intelligence always threatening to burst forth from behind a polite facade, while Davies creates a formally audacious rendering of her life, from teenage skepticism to lonely death, using her poems (and a touch of Charles Ives) as soundtrack accompaniment. Both sides of Davies’s enormous talent—his witty, Wildean sense of humor and his frightening vision of life’s grim realities—are on full display in this consuming depiction of a creative inner world. Terence Davies and Cynthia Nixon to appear in person!
Film Comment Live: Living Cinema
For its September-October 2016 edition, Film Comment, the most important and renowned critical film magazine in the U.S. for more than 50 years, will come out of the gate with an issue devoted to the vitality of movies today, as well as an elaborate special section on films featured in the 54th New York Film Festival. For this panel a selection of the magazine’s editors, new contributors, and longtime writers will join to discuss issues raised and questions asked in its pages.
Film Comment Live: Filmmakers Chat
In this special roundtable discussion, a selection of different directors from around the world whose films are screening in this year’s New York Film Festival talk together in a discussion moderated by Film Comment editor Nicolas Rapold. It’s the rare chance to see some of today’s most important filmmakers in dialogue with each other, talking about their experiences watching and creating movies.
“An Evening with . . .” Benefits:
The New York Film Festival tradition known as “An Evening with” is a limited-seating event that includes an intimate dinner and conversation between an important star of the film world and NYFF Director Kent Jones. Past honorees include Pedro Almodóvar, Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, and more. We’re pleased to announce that this year we are offering two of these special nights, featuring two of the brightest young actors working today.
An Evening with Adam Driver
With his mainstream breakout in last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Adam Driver has become a bona fide megastar. But those who have been following him for years, both in his Emmy-nominated role in the HBO series Girls, and in such past NYFF films as Frances Ha and Inside Llewyn Davis, have already been smitten with his artistic style. This year, festival audiences can see his wonderful leading performance in Jim Jarmusch’s exquisite Paterson, as a poetry-writing New Jersey bus driver.
Sunday, October 2
An Evening with Kristen Stewart
For the past few years, Kristen Stewart has been quietly amassing an impressive body of work, starring in enigmatic roles in complex films, including the NYFF52 selection Clouds of Sils Maria, directed by Olivier Assayas, for which she became the first American actor to win the French César award. This year feels like a culmination of this extraordinary phase of her career: she starred in five movies in 2016, the best of which are featured at NYFF: Assayas’s Personal Shopper, in which she appears in nearly every shot; Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women; and Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. All three films speak to an actor constantly willing to challenge herself and her fans.
Wednesday, October 5
To reserve a seat or table at these benefits, or for more information, please contact John Oursler at [email protected] or 212-671-4560.