Philippe Bonay, Rose Kuo, Charles Finch, Harvey Weinstein
Keith Tiner, Philippe Bonay, Rose Kuo, Charles Finch, Harvey Weinstein

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced early this morning that Rose Kuo is stepping down as Executive Director. Lesli Klainberg, currently Managing Director of the Film Society, will serve as the Interim Executive Director. Kuo will continue to consult with the Board through early next year.

Kuo's surprising exit comes on the heels of a changeover in the programming department of the Film Society, which presents the New York Film Festival in addition to a slew of other programs throughout the year. Just earlier this year longtime programming director Richard Pena bowed down and was replaced by Robert Koehler (as director of ongoing cinematheque programming) and Kent Jones (as director of programming for the New York Film Festival). In March, Dennis Lim took over for Koehler, who resigned due to family health issues.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to steward the Film Society through an amazing period of transformation and growth into new frontiers," said Kuo in statement. "After the successful opening of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, the milestone celebrations of the 50th New York Film Festival and Film Comment magazine, the 40th Chaplin Award Tribute and New Directors/New Films, and this year's installation of a new creative team, the organization is now in a perfect place for me to make my own transition. Leading the Film Society has been one of the most interesting, rewarding and enjoyable experiences I have ever had and it has opened many new and exciting opportunities."

Kuo came on as Executive Director in 2010, replacing Mara Manus. Prior to working for the Film Society, Kuo was artistic director of Los Angeles' AFI Fest for three years. She also co-founded the festival-consulting firm Festworks and served as co-director of the Santa Fe Film Festival.

Dan Stern, the Film Society's Board President commented, "The organization has accomplished a tremendous amount under the stewardship of Rose, and for that we are thankful. She leaves us with an exceptionally strong team, and in a position to now continue strengthening our relationships within the film community, build the profile of the organization overall and further solidify our theaters as important cultural destinations."

Klainberg has served as Managing Director for almost two years, and prior to that was Executive Director of NewFest, New York's LGBT Film Festival. An award-winning producer and director ("Beware of Mr. Baker," "A Place at the Table"), Klainberg has also worked as a Consulting Producer at the Sundance Institute's Documentary Film Program and as the Producer of IFP's Independent Film Week Forum.

More on this news as it unfolds.