As seems de rigueur for former film critics, David Ansen will foray once again into film festival programming. The erstwhile Newsweek critic who left his LA Film Festival Artistic Director post in 2014 will now serve as Lead Programmer for the Palm Springs International Film Festival (January 1-11), which launches many of the 2016 foreign Oscar contenders.
He will work with six other programmers under the direction of the fest’s Artistic Director, Helen du Toit, acquiring films from distribution outlets and sales companies, and looking at submissions as a member of the selection committee.
Are film festivals the next best step for film critics? After five years at LA Film Festival, Ansen was succeeded by former New York Times writer Elvis Mitchell as year-round curator of LAFF. Variety’s Scott Foundas directed programming at Lincoln Center and served on the New York Film Festival selection team (as did Ansen) before his recent move to Amazon. And Claudia Puig, who took a buyout from USA Today, is now Program Director at the Napa Valley Film Festival.
A three-time winner of the Page One Award for journalism, Ansen was the top film critic for Newsweek from 1977 to 2008, and he wrote for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Interview, Cosmopolitan and many more (including TOH!).