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Film Society of Lincoln Center's Rose Kuo Restructures, Adds Jones and Koehler as Programmers

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 13, 2012 at 6:43PM

The Film Society of Lincoln Center executive director Rose Kuo has finally announced a new programming structure, as the opening of the New York Film Festival looms, as well as the year-end departure of 25-year program director and NYFF selection committee head Richard Pena.
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Kent Jones
Kent Jones


The Film Society of Lincoln Center executive director Rose Kuo has finally announced a new programming structure just before the opening of the New York Film Festival and the impending departure of 25-year program director and NYFF selection committee head Richard Pena.

The Film Society, which lost programmer Kent Jones under former director Mara Manus, worked hard to court his return. (He will continue to work with Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation.) But Pena's job will be split in two, with Jones as the Director of Programming of the 50-year-old New York Film Festival and LA import Robert Koehler as Director of Programming for all the many venues at the Film Society, which has become a major New York exhibitor. Peña will continue to help the Film Society with an upcoming educational initiative.

Thus Kuo has realized long-time NYFF staffer and selection committee member Jones's dream of taking over the NYFF. His close chums Gavin Smith (Film Comment), Amy Taubin (newest selection committee member) and NYT critic Manohla Dargis are all thrilled. Kuo has wisely brought continuity back to the NYFF. Film Society insiders describe Jones' return as a homecoming.

Kuo has worked with critic/programmer Koehler before, at the AFI Film Festival (pictured). "Richard Peña has played a fundamental role in defining our organization and its commitment to discovering and supporting the best and most important cinema in the world," says Kuo. "Kent Jones and Bob Koehler, whose thinking and writing about cinema I deeply respect, are the perfect team to build upon Richard's vision and carry it forward.”

While Kuo was wooing Locarno fest director Olivier Pere, he went to Arte France instead. She interviewed many candidates, including TIFF/Bell Lightbox star Noah Cowan, but opted to stick with two comfortably familiar American faces. Koehler will join critic/programmer Scott Foundas at the Film Society, who also had his sights on the Pena post. By not going with a more established fest veteran as the NYFF director, Kuo will retain more influence over the festival.

Bios of the two new FSLC programmers are below.

This article is related to: New York Film Festival , Festivals, Festivals


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.