Thursday, May 30, 2024

Exclusive: New York Film Festival Turned Down by City for Use of on Campus Damrosch Park, Screenings Will Be at Drive-Ins


The pandemic has wrecked havoc on all film festivals. Venice is going on now, but it’s much smaller and there are no Americans present because of travel bans.

The Telluride Film Festival was cancelled, and the Toronto Film Festival will be in person for Canadians and virtual for us die hards in the States.

But the New York Film Festival is really having issues. Because theaters aren’t open in New York, they can’t use Alice Tully Hall or the Walter Reade Theater for screenings or premieres.

I’m told they asked to use Damrosch Park, which on the Lincoln Center campus, for outdoor screenings. But they were turned down. The city doesn’t want large gatherings, even outside. Damrosch Park was the Film Society’s one shot at getting a venue in Manhattan.

As it stands, their screenings– including premieres– will be held at drive ins in Queens and Brooklyn.

But even those will not be glamorous. There are no red carpets, parties, interviews, or any other trimmings. No big exclusive dinner for rich patrons.

The centerpiece film is “Nomadland” starring Frances McDormand. I can bet you now she won’t be at the drive-in. Maybe can zoom in on the big screen!


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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