With the New York Film Festival opening to the public in just a few days, S.T. VanAirsdale talks with The Film Society of Lincoln Center‘s Richard Pena about his 20 years at the festival. Pena tells VanAirsdale: “Basically, we have a lot of films to look at, and we have a very small number of slots. We know there’s a point where we have to say, “No — we can’t just keep adding on one more film.” That requires us to make choices. Because of that, hopefully the public really feels that this is a festival that is carefully selected. They might disagree violently with our selections, but they feel like somebody has selected these films — that somebody has said, “This film and not that film.” I think that’s a good thing. I think our silent relationship with the public is really important that way. The public expects that we’re an honest festival — that no one can force their way into the New York Film Festival.