Film Faculty Richard Peña will be honored at the 50th annual New York Film Festival as he retires as the Film Society’s Program Director and Selection Committee Chair of the New York Film Festival where he has served for the past 25 years. A gala tribute celebrating Peña will be held during the festival on October 22 at Alice Tully Hall, featuring special guest speakers and film clips, honoring Peña's devotion as an advocate of global cinema. Peña has sought to expand the horizons of international contemporary cinephilia, heralding directors like Abbas Kiarostami, Pedro Almodovar, Wong Kar-wai, Hou Chao-sheng and Edward Yang. During his tenure Peña oversaw the Film Society’s expansion from an annual festival to a year-round film exhibitor with three screens and a rapidly expanding online presence. The 50th New York Film Festival, which will be Peña's last as director and chair, will run from September 25 to October 14, presented by The Film Society at Lincoln Center.
Film Program alumnus Antonio Mendez Esparza's ('08 SOA) film Here and There, will also be featured at the New York Film Festival. The screening marks the film's North American premiere after winning the Grand Prize at La Semaine de la Critique (Critics Week) at the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Here and There, set in Guerro, Mexico, is Esparza's first feature film. It explores themes of immigrant life and the US/Mexican border experience and stars non-professional actors. The film has been praised as "a most remarkable debut" by The Film Society at Lincoln Center, and "peaceful, almost biblical" and "a masterpiece" by Indiewire. Featured at the festival's Main Slate, it will screen at Francesca Beale Theater, Alice Tully Hall September 29, and Oct 2 & 10.