Film at Lincoln Center announced today that Kent Jones, Director of the New York Film Festival and Chair of the NYFF Selection Committee, will step down following this year’s 57th edition—his seventh in the role. Jones has been associated with Film at Lincoln Center for more than two decades, as a year-round programmer, NYFF selection committee member, and Film Comment contributor. In his time as Director of NYFF, he has expanded the festival with a series of sidebars and new sections that showcase the new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center space while maintaining the artistic integrity of the festival with a tightly curated program. His tenure saw the advent of the Spotlight on Documentary and Convergence sections; the first-ever selection of a documentary to open the festival with Ava DuVernay’s 13TH; and, in 2018, the best-attended NYFF to date.
Jones will continue to work with FLC in an advisory role. Film at Lincoln Center’s Executive Director Lesli Klainberg will oversee the transition of leadership for NYFF.
“At some point when I was pretty young and already deep into movies, the New York Film Festival became a beacon for me,” said Jones. “Throughout its history, it has been a true home for the art of cinema—that was how it began with Richard Roud and Amos Vogel, that was how it remained with my predecessor Richard Peña, and that was how I’ve done my best to maintain it. I thank my colleagues, I thank the board for sticking to the original mission, I thank our audiences, I thank our colleagues in the industry, but most of all I thank the filmmakers. It’s been a joy and an honor to present their work.”
“Beginning as a year-round programmer, Kent has shared his knowledge and passion for the movies with our Film at Lincoln Center audiences for almost twenty years,” said Klainberg. “On behalf of the Board and staff, I’m delighted to support him as he continues into the next phase of his career, making more of his own cinematic dreams come true, and we can’t wait to enjoy the results.”
Kent Jones joined Film at Lincoln Center in 1998 as Associate Director of Programming, and from 2002 to 2009 he served on the New York Film Festival selection committee. He organized many notable FLC retrospectives during this time, including surveys of Hou Hsiao-hsien, Alain Resnais, Michael Powell, Ermanno Olmi, Jacques Tourneur, a program of Central Asian cinema with Alla Verlotsky, and a near-complete Jean-Luc Godard retrospective with Jake Perlin. During the same period, Jones was a frequent contributor to Film Comment, where he was given the title Editor-at-Large. In November 2012, he was appointed Director of the New York Film Festival. He has also served on juries at film festivals around the world, including Rotterdam, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Venice, and Cannes. In addition, he served as the Executive Director of the World Cinema Project from 2009 to 2012.
Jones is an internationally recognized writer and filmmaker. He was the co-writer of Martin Scorsese’s epic documentary on the history of Italian cinema My Voyage to Italy, the writer and director of the 2007 film Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, and the co-writer and co-director with Scorsese of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award–winning 2010 film A Letter to Elia. Jones co-wrote Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P., starring Benicio del Toro and Mathieu Amalric, and wrote and directed the documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. He recently wrote and directed his first fiction film, Diane, starring Mary Kay Place. The critically acclaimed Diane had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won awards for Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay, and it was released in early 2019 by IFC Films. He is the author of several books of criticism, including a 2007 collection, Physical Evidence, published by Wesleyan University Press. In 2012, he was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow.
Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the 57th New York Film Festival runs September 27 – October 13.
Join us in reflecting on Jones’ history with NYFF and beyond in the photo gallery above and selection of conversations below.
For more conversations, head to our YouTube channel.