Film Fest Pivots for Pandemic Times

A reimagined New York Film Festival (NYFF) opens September 17 and runs thru October 11, 2020 with a an adjusted format and covid-19 protocals in place. The 58th edition will be different, yet familiar from years past with a combination of Drive-In and virtual screenings, filmmaker talks and more.

The NYFF58 will begin one week earlier than usual to expand access to the festival via drive-in screenings, which will be as directed by state and health officials. Tickets are now on sale to the public. The purchase of Festival tickets and passes benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its nonprofit mission to support the art and craft of cinema. For prices and full details click here.

Reimagined New York Film Festival
photo: Arnie Goodman

The New York Film Festival film has Socially Sparked® our lives since 1963. It is one of the longest-running and most prestigious festivals in the United States and a centerpiece of New York culture.

The reimagined Film event had already been in the works pre-pandemic with its offerings streamlined into five sections, including Main SlateCurrents, and Revivals, Spotlight & Talks. previously announced last May.

A new Spotlight section is the festival’s showcase of sneak previews, gala events, screenings with live elements, and other special evenings. This year’s festival will feature cinema’s brightest names (Spike! Pedro! Sofia! Tilda! Orson!), but also explores big topics and important ideas that our society is grappling with today: voter suppression and police brutality.

“Even though we’ll gather digitally and at drive-ins this year, rather than en masse at Lincoln Center, we hope our first Spotlight section will engage, enlighten, and entertain.” — New York Film Festival 


This year’s Main Slate showcases films from 19 different countries with new titles from renowned auteurs, exceptional work from directors making their NYFF debuts, and an especially strong slate of documentary features.

Opening Night is September 17 with the screening of Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock, the Centerpiece screening of Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland is September 26, and the Closing Night selection of Azazel Jacobs’s French Exit will screen October 10. Two other films from McQueen’s Small Axe anthology—Mangrove and Red, White and Blue—will also screen in the Main Slate.


The new Currents section includes 14 features and 45 short films (59 total), representing 28 countries, and complements the Main Slate, tracing a more complete picture of contemporary cinema with an emphasis on new and innovative forms and voices. This section presents a diverse offering of short and feature-length work by filmmakers and artists working at the vanguard of the medium.


The reshaped Revivals section for the 2020 edition showcases the relevance, the vitality, and the beauty of yesterday’s cinema with its dynamic present through an eclectic assortment of new restorations, titles selected by the festival’s filmmakers, rarities, and more.


Special Tributes of Note: The Poster

Reimagined New York Film Festival
This year’s poster was designed by filmmaker, artist, and “Pope of Trash,” John Waters

This year’s poster was designed by filmmaker, artist, and “Pope of Trash,” John Waters. NYFF posters are a yearly artistic signature of the film festival. Waters joins a stellar lineup of artists whose work has been commissioned for the poster design including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Julian Schnabel, Cindy Sherman, and last year’s artist, Pedro Almodóvar.

Socially Sparked

The New York Film Festival has been an enduring part of New York’s rich cultural and historical landscape for nearly six decades. The 58th edition of Film at Lincoln Center’s renowned festival represents just how strong and resilient New York is through the spirit of the cinema, and puts an exclamation mark on the slogan ‘New York Tough.’  – Forever #sociallysparked  Tweet us @sosparkednews & @asparks01