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The Reeler Blog

Hoberman, Foundas to Help Pick 'Em at NYFF

I'm not sure if this is what Nathan Lee had in mind last week when he encouraged the
New York Film Festival selection committee to "get funky," but nobody can argue that its recruitment of J. Hoberman and Scott Foundas isn't at least a nod toward a more intergenerational way of doing things. The pair replace Philip Lopate (whose term expired) and John Powers (too busy), joining Richard Peña, Kent Jones and Lisa Schwarzbaum in their estimable programming capacities. Some note the Film Society could be doing more to mix it up ("Oh, goodie: Two white men replace two white men on [the] prestigious NY Film Festival selection committee. How absolutely avant-garde!" a film critic from a national weekly e-mailed me this morning), and I can't disagree. Nevertheless, I suspect I'll withhold judgment until I see the program itself. At least we know that the committee will physically have the balls, anyway, to reject My Blueberry Nights if the torrent of international disapproval continues.

In other news, the committee also dropped a few programming morsels over the transom. An NYFF sidebar will honor the work of Brazilian filmmaker Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, one of the leaders of the country's Cinema Novo movement. Selections will evidently include 1960s-era fest faves The Priest and the Girl and Macunaima. Alas, de Andrade will not be around to share his work as Alejandro Jodorowsky did in '06; the filmmaker died in 1988.

Posted at May 17, 2007 8:00 AM

Comments (5)

I think this is great news... Philip Lopate and John Powers had great taste, and I know J. Hoberman and Scott Foundas do as well. My question to you and the snarky "film critic from a national weekly" is; Who would you have liked to see on the selection committee? It's always easy to play the white male card when you don't have an alternative, but certainly Foundas and Hoberman are worthy, qualified choices. I await the "spoken like a true white male" comment, but truly, someone please name the people they believe would do a better job serving the mission of the NYFF. I'm all ears.

I'll be tracking back to this soon...

I'm not the unnamed "snarky film critic," but to put my money where my mouth is, when I made my original comment about needing some fresh blood on the committee, I was thinking of people like: Dennis Lim, Wesley Morris, Ed Halter, Johnny Ray Houston, and indeed Scott Foundas. In the non white male department, Amy Taubin has, shockingly, never been on the NYFF committee. I would love to see Stephanie Zacharek or Melissa Anderson invited as well.

PS - I attempted to post the following earlier this morning but it seems to have slipped through the cybercracks:

Delighted by the news today about my colleague - my YOUNG colleague - Scott Foundas joining the committee. As for Hoberman, the man could grow older than Manoel de Oliveira and still have the sprightliest mind in contemporary film criticism. Hearty congrats to both and word up to the NYFF.

Tom-- You're absolutely right. I meant no disrespect to Foundas and Hoberman, both of whom I have deep respect for as critics and individuals. They're eminently qualified and I know they'll be superb. That said, Dennis Lim and Stephanie Zacharek are important candidates for the future, for their taste and particularly for their substantial investments in advancing perceptions of online criticism. While outreach is not necessarily part of the NYFF mandate, the preponderance of writing and discussion about the festival and its selections is found on the Web; recognizing those perspectives and their proponents can only be a good thing in the years ahead.

--STV

I don't think you meant that as a criticism of Hoberman and Foundas and I am also a big fan of Stephanie and Dennis; but your response here seems more of a critique of a refusal to embrace "new media sources" than anything to do with gender or race. I think both people you mentioned would be wonderful, but then again, the only way I ever read Hoberman and Foundas is on the web anyway, so we may be splitting hairs here... Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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