NEW YORK, August 21, 2012 —The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that Nicole Kidman and Richard Peña will be the subject of gala tributes to be presented by the festival for the first time during the historic 50th edition of NYFF. FSLC also announced the addition of Kidman’s upcoming film, Lee Daniels’s adaptation of Pete Dexter’s popular novel, THE PAPERBOY to NYFF’s main slate schedule. The Gala Tribute to Nicole Kidman will take place on Wednesday, October 3, and the Gala Tribute to Richard Peña will take place on Wednesday, October 10.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of NYFF, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has added two gala tributes to its programming schedule of films and events. These tributes celebrate the work of individuals working in film who have made significant artistic contributions to film culture in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. said, “Nicole Kidman is one of film’s finest contemporary actresses. Since her breakthrough performance in TO DIE FOR and her bold and provocative appearances in Lars Von Trier’s DOGVILLE, Stanley Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT, as well as her awarding-winning portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s THE HOURS, Kidman has insisted on finding roles that are complex, bold and demanding. We are excited to honor her with a tribute at the New York Film Festival.”
An Academy Award-winner for Stephen Daldry’s THE HOURS (2002), Kidman was encouraged to begin what would become a prolific and prestigious career in front of the camera by director Jane Campion. Following both film and television work in Australia, her performance in Philip Noyce’s DEAD CALM (1989) proved to be a breakthrough for US audiences, leading to starring roles in such major films as Tony Scott’s DAYS OF THUNDER (1990), Robert Benton’s BILLY BATHGATE (1991) and Ron Howard’s FAR AND AWAY (1993). Kidman received much critical acclaim and her first Golden Globe Award for her role in Gus Van Sant’s TO DIE FOR (1995) and continued to star in both big screen blockbusters like BATMAN FOREVER (1995) and THE PEACEMAKER (1997) and work with the best filmmakers, including Jane Campion’s THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY (1997) and Stanley Kubrick’s final film, EYES WIDE SHUT (1999).
Kidman’s received her first Academy Award nomination for her performance in fellow Australian Baz Lurhman’s MOULIN ROUGE in 2001. From that point, Kidman developed a solid reputation as an actress fearlessly willing to tackle challenging and provocative projects like Lars von Trier’s DOGVILLE (2003) and, Jonathan Glazer’s BIRTH (2004), and work with notable filmmakers like Anthony Minghella’s COLD MOUNTAIN (2003) and Noah Baumbach’s MARGOT AT THE WEDDING (2006). Recently, Kidman’s performance in John Cameron-Mitchell’s RABBIT HOLE (2010) earned the actress her third Academy Award nomination and eighth Golden Globe nomination and her role in the HBO drama “Hemingway & Gellhorn” brought Kidman her first Emmy nomination. Her performance in Lee Daniels’s upcoming drama THE PAPERBOY has already been singled out by critics following the film’s debut at Cannes.
Richard Peña has been the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival since 1988. At the Film Society, he has organized retrospectives of Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Israeli, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Swedish, Taiwanese and Argentine cinema.
In his unprecedented tenure as the FSLC’s Program Director and Selection Committee Chair of the New York Film Festival, Peña has upheld the organization’s gold standard for showcasing the best in world cinema, while dramatically expanding its—and, in turn, the audience’s—horizons. From his encyclopedic surveys of Italian Neorealism and pre-revolutionary Iranian cinema, Peña’s inexhaustible knowledge and insatiable appetite for undiscovered cinematic territory have been an ongoing gift to New York moviegoers for the better part of three decades. During that same time, he has overseen the Film Society’s expansion from an annual festival to a year-round film exhibitor with three screens and a rapidly expanding online presence. In addition, he is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema, and from 2006-2009 was a Visiting Professor in Spanish at Princeton University. He is also currently the co-host of WNET/Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.
FSLC’s Executive Director, Rose Kuo said, “It is very fitting that we celebrate the 50th birthday of the New York Film Festival by honoring the man who has guided the festival’s artistic vision for the last 25 years. Richard Pena helped us discover directors like Pedro Almodovar, Abbas Kiarostami, Olivier Assayas, Lars Von Trier and Hou Hsiao-hsien, making an indelible contribution to film culture in New York CIty and around the world. We hope that his friends and colleagues will join us for a special evening to celebrate his achievements.”
Added to NYFF’s main slate is Lee Daniels’s THE PAPERBOY. Based on Pete Dexter’s well-received novel and adapted to the screen by Dexter and Academy Award-nominated director Lee Daniels (PRECIOUS), the drama follows Jack Jansen (Zack Efron) as he moves home after getting kicked out of college to the rural backwater of Moat County, Florida. Jack earns money and passes time delivering newspapers until his idolized journalist brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) returns from Miami to investigate a miscarriage of justice that has landed a local man (John Cusack) on death row. Ward’s investigation is soon joined by Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), the condemned man’s sultry fiancée, and the obviously smitten Jack resolves to get increasingly involved in the case. A Millennium Entertainment release.
The 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring top films from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Peña also includes: Melissa Anderson, Contributor, Village Voice; Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center; Todd McCarthy, Chief Film Critic, The Hollywood Reporter; and Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Film Comment and Sight and Sound.
BREAKING: Just before the New York Film Festival closed tonight with the premiere of the Alexander Payne-directed The Descendants, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced that its longtime program director and Selection Committee head Richard Pena will stepping down after next year’s 50th annual festival. Pena will have been involved in 25 of those fests by the time he leaves. The festival said that he will stay on to help design and organize a new educational initiative at the Film Society after he steps down.
“For the past 24 years, Richard Pena has served as the chairman of the Selection Committed for the Festival as well as the Program Director of the Film Society,” said FSLC Board of Directors president Dan Stern. “Richard has informed the Board at the end of 2012–after the Festival’s 50th anniversary and his 25th at its helm–he will step down from both posts. Richard has been with the Film Society through the opening of the Walter Reade Theater as well as the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and we are please that he has accepted our invitation to stay on to help create a new educational initiative at the Film Society.”
The choice was made by Pena, who said that “Heading into the 50th anniversary of the Festival, it seems a perfect time for a transition, both for me personally and for the organization. Working at the Film Society has been beyond a dream come true, but in the years left me would like to possibly explore other areas of interest, both within and beyond the cinema. I also feel that, like at any other cultural institution, change can be important as it will bring in fresh ideas and approaches to lead the Film Society into its next fifty years.”
BREAKING: I can confirm that tonight’s New York Film Festival mystery film is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, the John Logan-scripted adaptation of the Brian Selznick novel Hugo Cabret. The festival revealed late last week that it would feature a film by a master filmmaker, and speculation covered everything from Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar to Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m told that Richard Pena will introduce the picture at Avery Fisher Hall, but I’m not sure if Scorsese will be in the house. The film isn’t quite finished, but it will be shown in 3D, though there might be some green screen moments. Paramount releases Hugo on November 23. Scorsese hasn’t shown an unfinished film like this before (though he did once tell me that The Last Temptation Of Christ qualified as that when Universal rushed it into release because protesters were dragging crosses in front of the houses of studio higher-ups like Sid Sheinberg), and the NYFF hasn’t shown an unfinished print like this since Disney’s Beauty And The Beast in 1991. But it’s a great opportunity to build buzz on the movie, Scorsese’s first family and 3D film.