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New York Film Festival

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New York Film Festival

All festivals are unique and have their particular niches and personalities. The Big Apple's NYFF is the grand daddy of American festivals. While not a "groundbreaking" or "discovery" festival like a Sundance or Toronto, the New York Film Festial, organized by NYC's Film Society of Lincoln Center, is no less prestigious. Quite honestly, there is a bit of a snob factor here. NYFF typically plays some (but not all) of the creme de la creme of work coming out of Cannes and Venice, meaning the latest and most critically acclaimed films from established international auteurs. Still, the fest has made room in its venerable halls for upstart filmmakers such as Jonathan Caouette's "Tarnation" (made for a pittance) and others. Programmed by film critics, NYFF's line up is always hotly debated, with the line up receiving praise from some, condemnation from others - but never, never ignored. This isn't really a submission festival, though it does look at titles that have not played the rounds at the world's top level events. As a highly curated event with about 30 features that has long been part of the New York film establishment, it can attract a not-so-proletariat audience (although some may argue that is true no matter how exclusive the festival). And yet, despite its decades of reputation and loyalty from NYC's cultural elite, economic realities have even pierced the veneer of the New York Film Festival. In 2009, the festival no longer hosted its traditional opening night at Tavern on the Green (affectionately called "The Prom" by younger NYFF loyalists) and showed signs of edging toward a broader audience. While not every worthy title in any given year will get NYFF play, any film lover can be assured that if they get a look at NYFF's line up, it's pretty damn close to being the perfect list of the world's best cinematic offerings.

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