Sep 17, 2020
New York Film Festival sticks to core mission despite coronavirus pandemic changes
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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The 58th New York Film Festival officially gets underway this week, but like so many other events in New York City, the pandemic has resulted in big changes for this event.
This year's diverse slate of movies will be shown on a virtual platform and in drive-ins located in three of the five boroughs.
If show business is always a balancing act between art and commerce, then the New York Film Festival comes down squarely on the side of cinema: The best movies past and present selected without regard for box office prospects.
"All of us who are part of the selection committee spent all summer watching movies and talking about movies," NYFF Director Eugene Hernandez said. "We were considering what movies made sense for our audience at this moment."
But this year, the festival can't have the traditional premieres like the one that launched "The Irishman" into the Oscar race last fall.
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One of the highlights of last year for me was watching the film and then talking about it directly afterwards with star Robert De Niro, who told me he enjoyed the experience of making it with old pal Martin Scorsese so much he "would've liked it if we shot for another six months."
The NYFF programming is always diverse, and that definitely hasn't changed.
A film from Steve McQueen's "Small Axe" anthology series opens this year's event, which will also feature "David Byrne's American Utopia," directed by Spike Lee.
Sofia Coppola's latest, "On the Rocks," reunites the director with Bill Murray, the star of the movie that won her an Oscar, "Lost in Translation."
The films aren't being shown at Lincoln Center this year, but many will be available on a virtual platform to be streamed into the homes of ticket buyers.
"It wasn't about changing the central idea, the mission, the core of the Festival, NYFF Program Director Dennis Lim said. "We still did what we do every year."
Related: New York City Fashion Week gets makeover amid coronavirus pandemic
The need for social distancing has led to a revival of drive-ins, so the NYFF is showing films outdoors in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens in partnership with the non-profit Rooftop Films.
The New York Film Festival runs through October 11.
WABC-TV is a proud media sponsor of the event,, and tickets to many events are still available.
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The first CGI Lupin III movie has two new teasers — and still no release date
Apparently New York animation distribution house GKIDS has noticed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, culture junkies have become even more patient and reasonable than usual about waiting for new releases to fill their frustrating quarantine days. So the company is once again reminding everyone, via a couple of sparkly new teaser trailers, that it has its hot little hands on the CGI Lupin III movie Lupin III: The First, and you can’t have it yet. Also, you can’t have a release date. It’s still “coming soon.”
That “soon” may depend on how the American moviegoing public continues to react to movie theaters re-opening. With attendance down due to the dire warnings about the safety of going to movies right now, some studios are experimenting with putting their high-value movies in theaters, while others are playing it safer by sending them straight to streaming, under a premium price tag. Every distributor is playing a guessing game right now, leading to endless delays for some scheduled films, while others, like Lupin III: The First , have just spent a long time in “coming soon” oblivion.
It’s clear from previous Lupin III trailers that the film was made for the big screen: it’s full of big, energetic action and vivid color. Like the decades of previous movies and shows centering on arrogant gentleman heist artist Lupin III, the new movie aims at being thrilling and funny, as Lupin, his sidekick Jigen, their samurai ally Goemon, their rival Fujiko, and their archenemy Zenigata all chase a World War II artifact that supposedly leads to a fabulous treasure. There’s a mild culture-shock element to seeing these familiar characters rendered at this level of detail — they’ve been around in one form or another since 1967, but never like this. But the characterizations and humor are as familiar and engaging as ever. Here’s hoping “soon” for GKIDS really does mean “soon.”
And for dub fans, YouTube also has the dubbed versions of the same teasers.