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The Museum of Modern Art and Film at Lincoln Center announce the 50th anniversary edition of New Directors/New Films (ND/NF), available April 28–May 8 via virtual cinema, with in-person screenings extending through May 14 at FLC. Throughout its rich, half-century history, the festival has celebrated filmmakers who represent the present and anticipate the future of cinema, and whose daring work pushes the envelope in unexpected ways. This year’s festival will introduce 27 features and 11 shorts to audiences nationwide in the MoMA and FLC virtual cinemas, and to New Yorkers at Film at Lincoln Center. Special to this year's festival is a free virtual retrospective celebrating 50 years of ND/NF, April 16–28.

“From intimate, personal tales to political, metaphysical, and spiritual inquiries, the films in the 50th edition of New Directors/New Films embody an inexhaustible curiosity and a fearless desire for adventure,” said La Frances Hui, Curator of Film at The Museum of Modern Art and 2021 New Directors/New Films Co-Chair. “They prove that cinema will continue to illuminate and inspire the way we live, and make art.”

Opening the festival is writer-director-star Amalia Ulman’s breakthrough El Planeta, a captivating portrait in miniature of a mother and daughter barely scraping by in Spain’s northwestern seaside town of Gijón. ND/NF will close with All Light, Everywhere, winner of a Sundance Jury Prize for Experimentation in Nonfiction. Director Theo Anthony’s follow-up to the acclaimed Rat Film, All Light, Everywhere uses U.S. law enforcement body-cam footage to anchor an ever-expanding treatise on perception, power, and policing. The rest of the lineup showcases work from a broad geographic range, with films from Iran, South Korea, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Nigeria, Australia, Greece, and Georgia; prizewinners from Rotterdam (Pebbles), Sundance (Luzzu), and Berlin (We); and many feature debuts.

For 50 years, ND/NF has not only launched careers; it’s also, time and again, given audiences that singular, cinematic experience of unearthing something new.

“We’re delighted to finally return to our cinemas with this landmark edition of New Directors/New Films,” said Florence Almozini, FLC Senior Programmer at Large and 2021 New Directors/New Films Co-Chair. “There’s something so special about walking into a theater, not knowing what to expect, and discovering your new favorite filmmaker on the big screen. For 50 years, ND/NF has not only launched careers; it’s also, time and again, given audiences that singular, cinematic experience of unearthing something new.”

To celebrate this edition’s 50-year milestone, MoMA and FLC will also present a free virtual retrospective looking back on the festival’s history. In 1972, FLC (formerly the Film Society of Lincoln Center) and MoMA’s Department of Film presented the inaugural New Directors/New Films festival: a modest but eclectic program of 11 films born from a simple desire to share the best new works by emerging international directors with New York moviegoers. Richard Roud, one of its founding programmers, reflected in the Village Voice then that the festival allows one to “sit down and find out just where, in fact, the New Cinema is going.”

The last 50 years of ND/NF prove that there is not simply one way forward, as young directors continue to blaze into the vanguard of filmmaking. Directors early in their careers who were presented to New York audiences, some for the very first time, include Hou Hsiao-hsien, Kelly Reichardt, Pedro Almódovar, Souleymane Cissé, Euzhan Palcy, Jia Zhangke, Spike Lee, Lynne Ramsay, Michael Haneke, Wong Kar Wai, Agnieszka Holland, Lino Brocka, Guillermo del Toro, Luca Guadagnino, and over a thousand others. Now in a vastly different film landscape and accessible to viewers nationwide through streaming, the program has grown in size and stature while maintaining its commitment to experimentation and sharing the gift of discovery with audiences. Presented here is a small selection of favorites from the first 30 years of the festival, showcasing early works from filmmakers such as Lee Chang-dong, Chantal Akerman, Charles Burnett, and Christopher Nolan.

For more visit: newdirectors.org

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