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NYC’s Film Society Shake-Up Stirs More Talk

NYC's Film Society Shake-Up Stirs More Talk

“Change is really hard for everyone, and the thing about change is that you don’t do everything right,” Film Society of Lincoln Center executive director Mara Manus tells the New York Times, in a story published in today’s newspaper. “Communications is one of the areas where we could be doing better,” she adds.

The Times takes a closer look today at the changes happening at the venerable film society, from staff shifts to alterations in membership benefits, talking with Manus and a couple of former Film Society folks.

As recently reported in indieWIRE, a quarter of the group’s staffers have left (either because of layoffs or due to resignations), including the recent departure of FSLC associate director of programming and Film Comment contributing editor Kent Jones.

Just as with his recent brief conversation with indieWIRE after resigning from the Film Society, Jones declinded to elaborate on the reasons for his departure, telling The Times when pressed, “I don’t think I really want to go there.”

With the organization positioning itself for the future, including an expansion into new venues, organization board member Ann Tenenbaum voiced her support for Manus and the changes. “We were about to grow by leaps and bounds with this new film center, and that meant we had to address financial, programming and staffing issues,” she told The Times. “Many people in New York City who love movies have never heard of us, so we knew we had some challenges ahead of us.” Programming director Richard Pena also voiced his support.

But, former group head Joanne Koch offered, on the staffing changes, “I don’t presume the film society will fail because seven people hired on my watch were fired,” but told The Times, “Their loss will result in a significant diminution of the organization’s creative output and efficiency.”

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