Film at Lincoln Center has promoted two key members of its leadership team and also confirmed September 30 to October 16 as the dates for the New York Film Festival.
Dennis Lim has been elevated to artistic director of the festival, becoming the first person to hold that title since the first edition in 1963. Eugene Hernandez has been upped to SVP of FLC and executive director of the festival. He will continue to steer strategy for the organization, including as publisher of Film Comment.
Both execs are longtime fixtures of the New York film and cultural scene. Lim arrived in 2013 as director of programming for FLC and began in that same role for the festival in 2020. Following his promotion, he will focus his energies on the festival and FLC will conduct a search for a year-round programming chief.
Hernandez, a co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Deadline’s sister site, IndieWire, joined FLC in 2010 as director of digital strategy and was later promoted to deputy director. He became director of NYFF in 2020, joining Lim in overseeing the festival after the departure of Kent Jones.
The moves were affirmed by Lesli Klainberg, president of FLC.
Lim will chair the NYFF Main Slate selection committee, whose members will also include Hernandez, Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins and Rachel Rosen.
Soon after taking the baton from Jones, Lim and Hernandez were confronted by the coronavirus pandemic, which wiped out Cannes, Telluride and many other major festivals in 2020. Even though indoor screenings proved impossible in that early phase of the pandemic, New York proceeded with drive-in screenings as well as premieres made available online to ticket buyers around the country. Last year, with the benefit of much-improved Covid conditions and vaccine protections, the fest returned to full-capacity screenings in its longtime Lincoln Center home and did not stream any selections.
“Eugene and Dennis have done an extraordinary job during challenging times, leading the last two New York Film Festivals to great success,” Klainberg said. “With the upcoming 60th edition, we seek to expand our commitment to the festival and its integral role in film culture by elevating Eugene and Dennis and dedicating more of our resources and energy to ensuring a significant impact and awareness this year and in the years to come.”
Lim said while the 2020 and 2021 editions of NYFF were “challenging for obvious reasons,” they were also “very moving and eye-opening experiences for me.” He added, “They reminded me of the place that cinema has in our lives, as an art form and a shared experience, and the function of the festival as a conduit among films and filmmakers and audiences. No matter how the film landscape evolves, I believe that a festival like NYFF will have an essential role to play, and I’m excited to devote my energies to its continued success and vitality.”
Hernandez acknowledged Lim’s “vital leadership” and his central role in “bringing new voices into the selection process.” Having experienced the “exhilaration of being back in cinemas” in 2021, he added, “we’re anticipating a special festival this fall.”
Matt Bolish, Film at Lincoln Center’s VP of operations and production, will continue as producer of NYFF. Bolish has been with the organization for 11 years.
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