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by Brian Brooks
April 4, 2011 10:00 AM
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"Page One" Will Open Film Society's New Film Center; Bingham Ray Named Program Consultant

Andrew Rossi's "Page One: Inside the New York Times" will be the inaugural title at the New York Film Society of Lincoln Center's long-awaited Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. The film will play both of the new venue's screens on the center's opening day, June 17.

In making the announcement, the FSLC also said that it has appointed veteran film executive Bingham Ray as the Film Center's "first-run strategy consultant." Ray will work with FSLC program director Richard Pena and the organization's team to identify first-run arthouse titles for the Film Center throughout the year.

The FSLC is also finalizing details for a multi-day launch of the Film Center prior to June 17, with details to be announced.

Ray currently serves as a consultant with digital distribution company (and indieWIRE parent) SnagFilms. He will continue to work at Snag in addition to his duties at FSLC.

With three decades of experience, Ray served as president of creative affairs at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, where he supervised production and development. Prior to SKE, Ray was president of United Artists, where he oversaw the release of "Bowling for Columbine," "Hotel Rwanda" and "Pieces of April." Ray also co-founded October Films, where he served as its co-president until its sale to USA Networks in 1999.

The Film Center's 17,500 square-foot venue will house two theaters, an amphitheater and a café. Both the 150-seat Francesca Beale Theater and the 90-seat Howard Gilman Theater will show new specialized film releases, with the Gilman also offering special programs. A 75-seat amphitheater, which contains a 152-inch Panasonic Plasma screen (the largest of its kind on public display in the country), will house lectures, panels and educational programs.

The Film Center plans to partner with schools for educational programs and special screenings for adults and children. The venues will be equipped with technology to facilitate "real-time participation and interaction" on an international level, according to the organization. The space was designed by David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group.

“The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center will be a major cultural destination in New York City and a symbol of tremendous growth and expansion for the Film Society,” said FSLC executive director Rose Kuo in a statement. “Our goal is to utilize the Film Center as a springboard into the future as we expand across multiple platforms – a process that has already begun with a total relaunch of our website – so that audiences can be a part of our community and connect with the Film Society at any time, from anywhere around the globe.”

The Film Society established a capital campaign to fund the construction project, which began in 2007. FSLC said that the campaign raised 90% of the $41 million construction budget, with the bulk of support coming from the Film Society’s board of directors, Lincoln Center and other private supporters. Additional funds needed are currently being raised during the campaign's public phase, which recently launched with a seat-naming initiative.

“The Film Center is now at the forefront of a nationwide renaissance of the art-house experience," said FSLC program director Richard Peña in a statement. "As this past winter has shown, there is a huge audience for intelligent film fare and this audience wants to see films in theaters. The fact that we can help provide a brand new state-of-the-art theater to New Yorkers and to everyone visiting this city is incredibly invigorating.

"Rose and I are thrilled to be able to launch the Film Center with Andrew Rossi’s fascinating film," he said. "We also are happy to have Bingham’s vast experience and impeccable taste added to our dynamic team."

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