Wednesday, May 29, 2024

New York Film Festival Picks Steve McQueen’s Brit TV Series for “Opening Night,” Will Use Queens, Brooklyn Drive-ins


The New York Film Festival is moving ahead with their plans, but they’re not going to be in the Lincoln Center area.

Because of the pandemic, the Film Society will be using the Queens Drive-In at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the Brooklyn Drive-In at The Brooklyn Army Terminal. Very plucky, but we’ll see how that turns out.

The opening night film is Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock,” which has no stars but sounds cool. It was really made for British TV as a five-parter, and will be shown on Amazon Prime this fall.

Starting with a movie made for TV, no matter how good it is, is a concession by the Film Society that this year it’s hard to get big movies. The films all the fests want are coming later in the fall or early winter because of the new schedule, so studios can’t show their hands quite yet.

The whole McQueen project is called “Small Axe.” The other films are titled “Mangrove,” “Alex Wheatle,” “Education” and “Red, White and Blue.” It’s unclear if they will be eligible for Oscars or Emmys. “Mangrove” and “Red, White and Blue” will also show in the festival.

The series is an interesting choice for a New York Film Festival, since it is very very British.

The rest of the Main Slate will be announced later this month, as will ways of seeing the films. We have to support the Festival– they are struggling because of the pandemic. They can’t show films in theaters, and they didn’t even have their Chaplin Awards honoring Spike Lee this past spring. Indeed, all the film fests– Toronto, Telluride, New York, Hamptons– need support until they can resume normal functions. Let’s hope that’s soon!




Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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