New York, NY (May 9, 2012) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced today that the submission process for the 50th New York Film Festival is now open. Founded in 1963, as auteur theory and European cinematic modernism were crashing on to the shores of American film culture, the New York Film Festival stands as the second-oldest film festival in North America, and one of the oldest in the world.

The festival hosts an average of 28 feature films in the main slate and 16 short films selected each year. Rounding out the festival each year are Documentaries, Special Event screenings and Views from the Avant-Garde which premieres non-narrative, experimental film and video. Selections are made by a five-person selection committee chaired by Program Director Richard Peña and this year includes: Melissa Anderson, Contributor/The Village Voice; Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Todd McCarthy, Critic for The Hollywood Reporter and Amy Taubin, Contributor/Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Artforum.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has been a pioneer for discovering and introducing American audiences to critically-acclaimed works by François Truffaut, R.W. Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Godard, Pedro Almodóvar, Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, and more during New York’s brightest and boldest annual cinematic showcase. For its 50th New York Film Festival, filmmakers are invited to submit their shorts, feature films, and Views from the Avant-Garde films for early submission until May 25, regular submission by June 22 and late submission by July 15. For detailed information, fees and rules, please go to:

As we countdown to NYFF’s historic 50th edition in 2012, the Film Society is also proud to present an on-going screening series of highlights from the festival’s first 49 years, as curated by past and present members of the NYFF selection committee. Films screen each week as we approach the start of this year’s festival. Please find a full schedule below and on The series is also offering a special promotion of Dinner and a Movie! Just $25 includes purchase of a ticket to one of these screenings and a meal at Indie Food & Wine. More information is available on


NYFF 1992:
DREAM OF LIGHT (El sol del membrillo). Víctor Erice, 1992, Spain, 35mm; 133m

The Spanish director Victor Erice (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE) has directed only three feature films in his 40-year career, but each has been of such distinct and rapturous beauty as to earn him the reputation of a poetic master, on par with his American counterpart Terrence Malick. For his third–and, to date, last–feature, Erice turned his camera upon the acclaimed Spanish realist painter Antonio López García, who plays himself in a movie that is not quite fiction and not entirely documentary, but wholly an attempt to capture the seemingly imperceptible nuances of artistic creation. Taking the form of a journal, the film observes the daily process by which García paints a still-life of a small quince tree in the backyard of his Madrid home, interrupted only by occasional visits from friends and fellow artists, and by the onward march of time and the seasons. (He hopes to complete the work before the fruit falls from the tree in winter.) As the painting materializes, so does our understanding of García’s meticulous method, and the timeless struggle of all artists to capture the ineffable.
* Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center on Tuesday, May 22 at 6:15pm.

NYFF 1993:
THE PIANO. Jane Campion, 1993, Australia/New Zealand/France, 35mm; 121m

Jane Campion made her fourth NYFF appearance with this singularly haunting and beautiful tale of a mute, 19th-century Scotswoman (Holly Hunter) and her young daughter (Anna Paquin), who travel to remote coastal New Zealand, where the woman, Ada, has entered into an arranged marriage with a middle-aged bachelor (Sam Neill). Though Ada has traveled halfway around the world with her beloved piano–her preferred means of communication with the outside world–her new spouse deems it too cumbersome and leaves it stranded on the beach. Eventually, he trades it to Baines (Harvey Keitel), a local eccentric who has taken on the customs of the Maori natives (including their elaborate facial tattoos), and who agrees to sell the instrument back to Ada one key at a time in exchange for certain favors of the flesh. Soon, this quid pro quo erupts into a deeply erotic and passionate affair. The film that confirmed to audiences worldwide the boldly original talent already on display in Campion’s previous SWEETIE and AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE, THE PIANO won the Palme d’Or at Cannes as well as three Academy Awards, for Hunter and Paquin’s revelatory performances and for Campion’s screenplay. In addition, Campion became only the second woman in history nominated for the Best Director Oscar. Print courtesy of Academy Film Archive.
* Walter Reade Theater on Friday, June 1 at 6:30pm.

NYFF 1994:
HOOP DREAMS. Steve James, 1994, USA; 170m

The orange-and-black-striped ball spins through the air, and as it does, entire destinies hang in the balance. Voted the greatest documentary of all time by the International Documentary Association and included by The New York Times on its list of the 1000 greatest movies ever made, director Steve James’ extraordinary record of five years in the lives of two young, inner-city Chicago basketball stars––Arthur Agee and William Gates––was originally conceived as a 30-minute short film for PBS, but grew over the course of filming into a genuine epic about race, class and the high price of the American dream. Two decades later, it remains as stirring and perceptive as ever.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, June 5 at 6:30pm.
In person: Director/editor Steve James, producer/editor Frederick Marx and producer/cinematographer Peter Gilbert

NYFF 1995:
LAMERICA. Gianni Amelio, 1994, Italy/France/Switzerland, 35mm; 116m

Master Italian filmmaker Gianni Amelio followed his Oscar-nominated OPEN DOORS and internationally acclaimed THE STOLEN CHILDREN with this unforgettable story of huckster brothers Gino (Enrico Lo Verso) and Fiore (Michele Placido), who travel from Italy to Albania following the collapse of that country’s Communist regime, intent on getting rich quick. There, they plan to set up a phony shoe factory as a front for siphoning economic relief money from the government. But in order for the scam to work, the business must have an official Albanian head, and so the brothers recruit an elderly former political prisoner for the job…who promptly goes missing. When Gino sets out to find him, the alternately tragic and darkly comic odyssey that follows opens his eyes–and ours–to the harsh realities of the Albanian people, and the sometimes fine line between new-world capitalism and old-world fascism.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, June 12 at 6:15pm

NYFF 1996:
IRMA VEP. Olivier Assayas, 1996, France, 35mm; 99m

Arguably the most innovative and influential French director of his generation, Olivier Assayas (SUMMER HOURS, CARLOS) made his first NYFF appearance with this wildly inventive valentine to movies and moviemaking, featuring Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung as…a Hong Kong superstar named Maggie Cheung. Cast as the eponymous, latex-clad cat burglar in a modern-day French remake of Louis Feuillade’s classic silent serial LES VAMPIRES, Cheung finds herself at the center of an artistic maelstrom overseen by an unstable, aging New Wave director (Godard and Truffaut alter-ego Jean-Pierre Léaud), acting in a language she doesn’t understand, and fending off the amorous advances of her costume designer (Nathalie Richard). A latter-day DAY FOR NIGHT that emphasizes the chaotic realities and strange, circus-like atmosphere of filmmaking over the romantic allure, IRMA VEP is one of the great movies about what happens before “action” and after “cut.”
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, July 17 at 6:15pm

NYFF 1997
TASTE OF CHERRY (Ta'm e guilass). Abbas Kiarostami, 1997, Iran/France, 35mm; 95m

The man, Mr. Badii (Homayon Ershadi), traverses the Iranian countryside, winding up and down the rocky mountain passes in his dust-covered Range Rover. He is searching for someone to perform a simple task–to come to a specified location the following morning and throw 12 spades of dirt on top of a shallow grave that he himself will occupy. It is a job, in a country where religion and politics are so delicately interwoven, for which there are few eager applicants. From this deceptively simple scenario, Kiarostami creates a remarkable paean to the small miracles of everyday life and the elusive nature of happiness–a patient, poetic and profoundly beautiful work that confirmed its director as one of the masters of modern world cinema. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, it marked Kiarostami’s third appearance in NYFF.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, July 24 at 6pm

NYFF 1998
FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI (Hai shang hua). Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1998, Taiwan, 35mm; 130m

An NYFF regular from relatively early in his career, Hou Hsiao-hsien made his seventh festival appearance with this ravishingly beautiful chamber drama that follows the intertwined fortunes and intrigues of four “flower girls” serving in the opulent brothels of fin-de-siècle 19th-century Shanghai. The great Tony Leung Chiu Wai (HAPPY TOGETHER, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) stars as the melancholy Master Wang, torn between his affections for the jealous, demanding Crimson (Michiko Hada) and the more eager-to-please Jasmine (Vicky Wei), and gradually realizing that he is looking for love in all the wrong places. In Hou’s first film set outside of his native Taiwan, the artificial decor is Sternbergian, as are the long-buried passions and masked despair of the beautiful people who meet in the brothel's airless compartments–each with a pool of golden lamplight at its center–to measure out their lives in gambling, saki cups, rich food and pipes of opium.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, July 31 at 6:00pm

NYFF 1999
TOPSY TURVY. Mike Leigh, 1999, UK, 35mm; 160m

Although best known for his kitchen-sink portraits of the British middle and working classes, seven-time Oscar nominee and nine-time NYFF veteran Mike Leigh delivered arguably his masterpiece with this lavish, one-of-a-kind backstage musical about the creation of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s 1885 opera, THE MIKADO. Despite the atypical story and setting, however, Leigh once again devised the film in his patented improvisational method, working intensively with the actors (including the brilliant Jim Broadbent as Gilbert, Allan Corduner as Sullivan, and Timothy Spall as G&S muse Richard Temple) over a six-month rehearsal process to develop their characters, the narrative and an understanding of the period. The result is an uncannily perceptive and acutely personal film about the hard work of artistic creation, capped by a glorious staging of THE MIKADO itself featuring Oscar-winning costumes and makeup.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, August 7 at 6:00pm

NYFF 2000
THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. Terence Davies, 2000, UK/France/Germany/USA, 35mm; 140m

Acclaimed British director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea, Distant Voices, Still Lives) made his third NYFF appearance with this exquisite adaptation of Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel–a brutal survey of the New York haute bourgeoisie at the turn of the 20th century. In a revelatory performance that forever freed her from X-Files typecasting, Gillian Anderson stars as the ill-fated Lily Bart, a woman of means who watches her social status slowly crumble as she rejects marriage offers in the name of love over money and becomes a pawn in the self-preserving schemes of fair-weather friends like the calculating socialite Bertha Dorset (the excellent Laura Linney). Vividly bringing the 1890s to life on a modest budget and with a peerless cast (which also includes Dan Aykroyd, Elizabeth McGovern and Eric Stoltz as the object of Lily’s unrequited affection), Davies captures all the emotional violence of Wharton, as well as her cutting insight into a privileged class whose worst tendencies remain all too recognizable a century later.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, August 14 at 6:15pm

NYFF 2001
I’M GOING HOME (Je rentre à la maison). Manoel de Oliveira, 2001, France/Portugal, 35mm; 90m

A true living legend at age 103, Portugal’s indefatigable cinematic master Manoel de Oliveira made the seventh of his 11 NYFF appearances with one of his crowning achievements. In one of his crowning achievements, the great Michel Piccoli stars as Gilbert Valence, a celebrated actor who loses his daughter and son-in-law in a car crash, and gradually puts the pieces of his life back together. To be specific, we watch as Valence more or less returns to his daily routine of morning coffee at a sidewalk cafe, afternoon shopping expeditions, and the continual search for the next great part, including his casting as Buck Mulligan in a Franco-American co-production of ULYSSES directed by John Malkovich! Precisely because Oliveira doesn’t dwell on Valence’s grief, every scene in the film seems somehow shaded by melancholy and the human impulse to carry on–a theme that resonated with uncanny power during the film’s NYFF premiere, mere weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, August 21 at 6:15pm

NYFF 2002
TALK TO HER (Hable con ella). Pedro Almodóvar, 2002, Spain, 35mm; 112m

No filmmaker of the past 25 years has enjoyed as close a relationship with NYFF as Spain’s Pedro Almodóvar, who was “born” (his word) at the 1988 festival with WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN and has since returned eight additional times, most recently in 2011 with THE SKIN I LIVE IN. In this 2002 masterwork, for which he would go on to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar (and a nomination as Best Director), Almodóvar weaves together two bizarre love stories that could exist in no other filmmaker’s cosmos. Travel writer Marco (Dario Grandinetti) meets celebrated female matador Lydia (Rosario Flores), who, just as they’re getting to know each other, is gored by a bull and slips into a coma. While Marco waits patiently at her hospital bedside, he meets the male nurse Benigno (Javier Camara), who watches with similar care and devotion over the comatose Alicia (Leonor Watling), a ballet dancer with whom he is madly in love. With his trademark dark humor and heightened emotional expressiveness, Almodóvar follows these two men and the unresponsive objects of their affections, as well as their own burgeoning friendship with each other, all the way to a finale that is as startling as it is unexpectedly moving. Gorgeously photographed by Javier Aguirresarobe and featuring a spectacular soundtrack including performances by Caetano Veloso and Tom Jobim, TALK TO HER also features a rare filmed performance of Pina Bausch’s legendary Café Müller, featuring Bausch herself as one of the dancers.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, August 28 at 6:15pm

NYFF 2003
DOGVILLE. Lars von Trier, 2003, Denmark/Sweden/France, 35mm; 178m

When an eruption of gunfire somewhere on the outskirts of a Rocky Mountains town heralds the arrival of a beautiful fugitive, not coincidentally named Grace (Nicole Kidman), the town’s resident wordsmith (Paul Bettany) talks the locals into protecting the poor girl from a bunch of shadowy gangsters in dark-tinted Cadillacs. And so begins Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier’s spellbinding deconstruction of sacred American values–the first chapter in his as-yet-unfinished “USA” trilogy. At first welcomed by her new neighbors, the seemingly naive Grace (played spectacularly by Kidman, in arguably her greatest performance) soon finds herself a convenient scapegoat for their own moral shortcomings, a receptacle for their deep-seated bitterness and self-loathing, and finally–and spectacularly–an avenging angel of biblical proportions. In an extension of his patented “Dogme” aesthetic–and in staunch defiance of the CGI era–Trier shot DOGVILLE entirely on an empty soundstage, the “set” nothing more than a chalk outline on the floor, the town and its environs conveyed through the power of suggestion and of the viewer’s own imagination. The result is a visionary work of cinema and one of the essential films of the 21st century.
* Walter Reade Theater on Friday, August 31 at 2:30pm and Sunday, September 2 at 8:00pm

NYFF 2004
THE WORLD (Shijie). Jia Zhang-ke, 2004, China/Japan/France, 35mm; 140m

The Eiffel Tower looks out over the Arc de Triomphe, which is not so very far from the Taj Mahal, which is itself just a short monorail ride away from the twin towers of the World Trade Center, which are still standing. Welcome to China’s World Park, where, as a perky female voice intones over a loudspeaker, you can “see the world without ever leaving Beijing.” Into this strange setting comes a young dancer (the excellent Zhao Tao), who along with her twentysomething co-workers hail from rural Chinese provinces that have remained trapped in a kind of time warp as China has rapidly modernized its urban centers. Now they have made it to the big city only to find happiness ever more elusive. This remarkable fourth feature by Jia Zhangke (PLATFORM, STILL LIFE) was his first official production after a decade of working clandestinely in China’s independent film scene. It is also his most visually stunning, taking full advantage of his setting’s absurd contours to pan us from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to London Bridge in one fell swoop. And there are Bollywood-style musical numbers to boot!
* Walter Reade Theater on Friday, August 31 at 6:00pm and Monday, September 3 at 2:00pm

NYFF 2005
THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU (Moartea domnului Lazarescu). Cristi Puiu, 2005, Romania, 35mm; 150m

The film that ignited the much-discussed Romanian New Wave, Cristi Puiu’s extraordinary second feature traces the odyssey of one Dante Remus Lazarescu as he journeys through a public health system that closely resembles the nine circles of hell. It begins when the elderly. Lazarescu (the great Romanian stage actor Ion Fiscuteanu) feels unwell and calls for an ambulance, which never comes. So he calls again, and waits some more, until finally the paramedics arrive–and the real trouble begins. As the night wears on and his condition deteriorates, alone but for the kindness of the occasional stranger (like the ambulance nurse Mioara, brilliantly played by Luminiţa Gheorghiu), he journeys from hospital to hospital, encountering overcrowded emergency rooms and overly officious physicians and discovering that all patients, regardless of what ails them, are uniformly bandaged up in red tape. Striking a delicate balance between gripping medical thriller and scabrous institutional satire, THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU is ultimately an absurdly funny and unbearably tragic snapshot of the human condition.
* Walter Reade Theater on Friday, August 31 at 8:45pm and Sunday, September 2 at 5:00pm

NYFF 2006
OFFSIDE. Jafar Panahi, 2006, Iran, 35mm; 93m

Jailed Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi (THIS IS NOT A FILM) made his fourth of five NYFF appearances with this sharply observed social comedy inspired by the sexual segregation that prohibits women from entering Iranian football stadiums. Set on the day of a World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain–an actual match into which Panahi inserted himself and his crew–OFFSIDE follows the ingenious efforts of one young woman to disguise herself as a man and slip unnoticed into the stadium. When she is caught, she finds herself sequestered with multiple others who have tried the same approach, all watched over by a gaggle of bored young soldiers who, like their detainees, would like nothing more than to be watching the game. The scenario at times suggests a farcical inversion of Panahi’s earlier women-in-prison drama THE CIRCLE, using humor to expose the often absurd position of women in Iranian society. In the movie’s pièce de resistance, the soldiers must escort one of the women to the bathroom…in a building that has no female bathrooms. Winner of the Silver Bear at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival.
* Walter Reade Theater on Saturday, September 1 at 2:00pm and Tuesday, September 4 at 2:00pm

NYFF 2007
SILENT LIGHT (Stellet licht). Carlos Reygadas, 2007, Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany, 35mm; 145m

Having established a reputation as something of a bad-boy provocateur with his first two features, JAPON and BATTLE IN HEAVEN, Mexico’s Carlos Reygadas made an unexpected about-face with this austere drama set in a modern-day Mennonite community on the outskirts of Chihuahua. Filmed entirely in the German-derived Plautdeitsch language and starring a cast of mostly nonprofessional actors, SILENT LIGHT weaves a poetic and affecting tale of marital and spiritual crisis, revolving around the affair between married farmer Johan (Cornelio Wall Fehr) and a neighbor woman (Maria Pankratz), while Johan’s wife (Miriam Toews) suffers, knowingly, in silence. A movie of subtle, closely observed gestures, in which glances and gestures register with power of thunderclaps, SILENT LIGHT is at once Reygadas’ most mature and most audacious work yet.
* Walter Reade Theater on Saturday, September 1 at 4:00pm and Monday, September 3 at 8:00pm

NYFF 2008
GOMORRAH (Gomorra). Matteo Garrone, 2008, Italy, 35mm; 137m

Director Matteo Garrone rebuilt the modern Mafia film from the ground up with this blisteringly intense, panoramic portrait of the Neapolitan underworld, adapted from author Roberto Saviano’s international bestseller. In stark contrast to the glamorous trappings of Hollywood mob movies, GOMORRAH gives us desperate men in desperate circumstances, living (pace John Guare) hand to mouth on a slightly higher plateau. Money makes their world go round, nobody has very much, but what they do have is never enough–and so begins a vicious cycle of debts accounted for in blood and corporate downsizing facilitated by semi-automatic firearms that reverberates from the bowels of Naples to the runways of Paris fashion and the rebuilding of the Twin Towers. Featuring a show-stopping performance by the great Tony Servillo (Il Divo) as a smooth-talking garbage magnate.
* Walter Reade Theater on Saturday, September 1 at 7:00pm and Monday, September 3 at 8:00pm

NYFF 2009
THE WHITE RIBBON (Das weiße Band). Michael Haneke, 2009, Germany/Austria/France/Italy, DCP; 144m

From its startling opening image of a horse tumbling over a trip wire and violently dislodging its rider, THE WHITE RIBBON traces a series of increasingly sinister “accidents” that befall the residents of a rural German village in the days preceding the start of the First World War. The young son of a wealthy baron is caned and hung upside down in a sawmill. Another boy, the mentally disabled son of a midwife, is nearly blinded; an anonymous note strung around his neck states that the children are being punished for the sins of their parents. Gradually, one schoolteacher’s suspicions begin to fall on the children themselves. In its broadest sense a portrait of the formative years of the Nazi generation, Michael Haneke’s meticulous social drama–shot in stunning black-and-white and featuring an extraordinary cast of nonprofessional child actors–continues its maker’s career-spanning fascination with the brutality lurking beneath society’s placid facades, while taking his artistry to a new level of accomplishment. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, THE WHITE RIBBON also received Oscar nominations for Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography and marked Haneke’s third NYFF appearance.
* Walter Reade Theater on Sunday, September 2 at 2:00pm and Tuesday, September 4 at 4:00pm

NYFF 2010
BLACK VENUS (Vénus noire). Abdellatif Kechiche, 2010, France/Belgium, DCP; 159m

The most provocative and polarizing film of the 2010 NYFF, French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche’s BLACK VENUS takes us on an unsparing journey through the brief life of Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman, the indigenous South African woman infamously exhibited as the exotic “Hottentot Venus” in the traveling carnivals and bourgeois salons of 19th-century Europe. In a torrential performance, screen newcomer Yahima Torres (a native of Cuba who was working as a Spanish teacher when Kechiche cast her) brings Baartman to life in all her complexities and contradictions, particularly her relationships with the two men who alternately serve as her captors, enablers and impresarios–the Afrikaaner farmer Caezar and the larger-than-life bear tamer Réaux (the excellent Olivier Gourmet, star of the Dardenne brothers’ LA PROMESSE and THE SON). Shooting in long, brilliant handheld camera takes, Kechiche (THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN) puts the audience in the position of Baartman’s 19th-century voyeurs, making for a movie that is sometimes uncomfortable to watch and always impossible to forget as it puts an agonizingly human face on one of history’s senselessly exploited victims.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, September 4 at 7:00pm

NYFF 2011
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da). Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011, Turkey/Bosnia and Herzegovina, DCP; 150m

From MEMORIES TO MURDER (2003) to ZODIAC (2007) and POLICE, ADJECTIVE (2009), the past decade has witnessed many revisionist takes on the police procedural—films in which politics, personal obsession, or personal exhaustion eclipse the underlying question of “Whodunnit?” None, however, have pushed the existential envelope quite as far as Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s majestic ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA, in which a caravan of police and medical investigators–and two accused men–spend a long and haunting night searching the Turkish countryside for a corpse buried in a shallow grave. The men making the journey seek closure above elucidation, and a speedy return to the humdrum existence of small-town life, where one day bleeds effortlessly into the next. The central mystery remains mysterious to the end, but along the way Ceylan (DISTANT, CLIMATES) makes no shortage of acute, disquieting and darkly humorous revelations about the human condition. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
* Walter Reade Theater on Tuesday, September 11 at 6:00pm


Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, currently planning its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks.
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