First posted on August 13, updated on August 27 with new additions. This year’s New York Film Festival has announced its main slate, as well as plans to begin a week earlier than originally announced to accommodate its plans for drive-in screenings. The festival will run September 17 through October 11, and will include a robust main slate of 25 feature films. That selection, announced today, includes a variety of new films from a number of established masters and rising stars.
The slate boasts a deep selection of documentaries, including Garrett Bradley’s black-and-white social justice effort “Time” and Victor Kossakovsky’s Berlin entry “Gunda” (which follows a particularly special pig), Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI” (also set for a TIFF premiere and part of the Telluride lineup), and nonagenarian documentary maverick Frederick Wiseman’s latest deep dive, “City Hall.” And non-fiction veteran Heidi Ewing offers up a hybrid approach with her Sundance-acclaimed immigration drama “I Carry You with Me.”
New films from other perennial NYFF favorites round out the list, including several films that premiered in Berlin at the start of the year: Christian Petzold’s supernatural drama “Undine”; Hong Sang-soo’s “The Woman Who Ran”; Jia Zhangke’s documentary on the Cultural Revolution, “Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue”; and Cristi Puiu’s sprawling historical drama “Malmkrog.”
As IndieWire reported last week, the 58th edition of the festival will open with Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock,” with the festival also playing home to two other features that comprise McQueen’s ambitious new “Small Axe” series in its main slate. Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” will screen as the festival’s centerpiece. On Tuesday, the festival also announced that it will close out its festivities with Azazel Jacobs’ “French Exit,” which will make its world premiere as the closing night selection of the upcoming festival.
As indicated by festival brass earlier this summer, this year’s NYFF is going to operate differently than it has in previous incarnations. The event will combine a brand-new virtual presence with carefully designed outdoor screenings, including two drive-ins. Press screenings, normally held at Film at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, will be virtual.
“The disorientation and uncertainty of this tough year had the effect of returning us to core principles,” said Dennis Lim, Director of Programming for NYFF in an official statement. “To put it simply, the Main Slate is our collective response to one central question: which films matter to us right now? Movies are neither made nor experienced in a vacuum, and while the works in our program predate the current moment of crisis, it’s striking to me just how many of them resonate with our unsettled present, or represent a means of transcending it.”
Earlier this summer, the Main Slate selection committee was expanded to five members, and this year is comprised of Hernandez, Florence Almozini, Vanity Fair critic K. Austin Collins, former SFFILM programming director Rachel Rosen, and director of programming Dennis Lim, who will serve as chair.
As part of that same announcement, the festival also shared that its offerings have been streamlined into five sections, with the Main Slate “remaining the heart and historic core of the program.” Currents, Spotlight, Revivals, and Talks will be announced in the coming weeks. Update: see new additions below, including Spotlight selections “On the Rocks,” “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” “The Human Voice,” and many more.
The 58th New York Film Festival Main Slate
Opening Night, “Lovers Rock” Dir. Steve McQueen
Centerpiece, “Nomadland” Dir. Chloé Zhao
Closing Night, “French Exit,” Dir. Azazel Jacobs
“Atarrabi and Mikelats,” Dir. Eugène Green
“Beginning,” Dir. Dea Kulumbegashvili
“The Calming,” Dir. Song Fang
“City Hall,” Dir. Frederick Wiseman
“Days,” Dir. Tsai Ming-liang
“The Disciple,” Dir. Chaitanya Tamhane
“Gunda,” Dir. Victor Kossakovsky
“I Carry You with Me (Te Llevo Conmigo),” Dir. Heidi Ewing
“Isabella,” Dir. Matías Piñeiro
“Malmkrog,” Dir. Cristi Puiu
“Mangrove,” Dir. Steve McQueen
“MLK/FBI,” Dir. Sam Pollard
“Night of the Kings (La Nuit des Rois),” Dir. Philippe Lacôte
“Notturno,” Dir. Gianfranco Rosi
“Red, White and Blue,” Dir. Steve McQueen
“The Salt of Tears (Le sel des larmes),” Dir. Philippe Garrel
“Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue,” Dir. Jia Zhangke
“Time,” Dir. Garrett Bradley
“Tragic Jungle (Selva Trágica),” Dir. Yulene Olaizola
“The Truffle Hunters,” Dir. Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw
“Undine,” Dir. Christian Petzold
“The Woman Who Ran,” Dir. Hong Sangsoo
“David Byrne’s American Utopia,” Dir. Spike Lee
“Hopper/Welles,” Dir. Orson Welles
“The Human Voice,” Dir. Pedro Almodóvar
“The Monopoly of Violence,” Dir. David Dufresne
“On the Rocks,” Dir. Sofia Coppola