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New York Film Fest announces film slate

The New York Film Festival, the Big Apple’s oldest and most prestigious film event, announced the 24 features for its 43rd edition, which will run from September 24 to October 9 at its home base of Lincoln Center.

The Festival will open with GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, the directorial debut of actor-turned-director George Clooney, following its debut screenings at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. The film chronicles the story of legendary American broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, whose groundbreaking documentaries and exposes on radio and early television set the standard for today’s international news coverage.

One of the big films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Austrian director Michael Haneke’s CACHE (HIDDEN), will close the Festival. The latest film from UK auteur Neil Jordan, BREAKFAST ON PLUTO, serves as the Centerpiece. Jordan’s film stars hot Irish actor Cillian Murphy (28 DAYS LATER) as a transvestite who moves to London in search of his lost parent.

The film is one of four films that will be released later this year by arthouse distributor Sony Pictures Classics. The others include Cannes Film Festival winner L’ENFANT (THE CHILD) by the Dardenne Brothers (Belgium) and CAPOTE, a docudrama on the celebrated writer Truman Capote, portrayed by indie favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is already garnering Best Actor Oscar buzz for his impeccable performance.

Among the international titles, South Korea emerges as the strongest with three films making their debuts at the Festival. THE PRESIDENT’S LAST BANG (Im Sang-Soo), A TALE OF CINEMA (Hong Sang-Soo) and the second film in a trilogy by veteran director Park Chan-Wook, SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE, make this a milestone event for the hot South Korean film industry.

After a long hiatus, new works from Eastern Europe are also back in force at the Festival, which debuted such talents as Milos Forman, Krystof Kieslowski and Istvan Szabo in its earlier editions. Eastern European films debuting at the Festival include THE DEATH OF MR. LAWRENCE (Cristi Puiu, Romania), SOMETHING LIKE HAPPINESS (Bohdan Slama, Czech Republic) and I AM (Dorota Kedzierzawska, Poland).

Other Festival highlights include: MANDERLAY, the second film in Danish director Lars Von Trier’s controversial trilogy; GABRIELLE by celebrated French director Patrice Chereau; the world premiere of Michel Negroponte’s documentary on the failed American war against drugs, METHADONIA; Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s Berlin Film Festival sensation PARADISE NOW, about the last 24 hours of two young suicide bombers; Sundance favorite THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, directed by Noah Baumbach and the latest film from Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the complex and enigmatic THREE TIMES.

Curiously missing from the Festival roster are any Spanish language films or films from South America, as well any presence from Italy, Germany or Africa. The Festival, which is sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is presenting LATIN BEAT, a wide-ranging survey of new Latin American cinema in a program run-up to next month’s Festival, but the omissions are as glaring as the inclusions this session.

Unlike its Festival neighbors, VENICE and TORONTO, the Festival has stuck to its original design as a highly curated event limited to less than 25 films, with no market or industry component. More than half the films already have US distributors attached, but for the remaining films, the Press and Industry Screenings set up in advance of the Festival may yield some last-minute buys from New York’s cadre of specialty distributors and programmers.

Sandy Mandelberger
Industry Editor

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