March 20, 2012  |  Film
New Directors/New Films: All in a Good Year’s Work

New Directors/New Films 2012 opens on March 21 with the New York premiere of Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now?, and continues through April 1 with screenings of 28 more feature films from around the world. Preparation for the annual festival, which is now in its 41st year, starts in May of each year, when curators from MoMA and programmers from the Film Society of Lincoln Center descend on the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France in search of the best new films from around the world. The six people who make up the selection committee view hundreds of films in search of the 25 to 30 selections that will make the final cut. Toronto, Sundance, Berlin, and Rotterdam are all stops on their quest for new talent.

Le Chat du Rabbin (The Rabbi's Cat). 2011. France/Austria. Directed by Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux. The first 3-D film to be included in ND/NF, The Rabbi's Cat screens March 25 at MoMA and March 27 at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater

While the committee is busy globetrotting, the marketing and development teams from MoMA and the Film Society meet throughout the fall and early winter to solidify a strategic marketing plan. This includes allocation of our paid advertising budget, coordination of social media outreach, and creating marketing materials (subway posters, trailers, online advertising, etc.).

Come early February, the committee makes its final selections and locks the slate. This is when my job as producer begins in earnest. I work with a great team here at MoMA and at the Film Society to pull in all of the necessary information, images, trailers, and film descriptions for the (award-winning!) ND/NF booklet. This process puts me in a position to learn a great deal about each film, while not allowing me any time to actually watch the films (which, hopefully, comes later). It’s a crazy couple of weeks, but the end product is worth it.

The Raid: Redemption. 2011. Indonesia/USA. Directed by Gareth Huw Evans. On March 22, The Raid will be shown at the first-ever ND/NF late-night screening (11:00 p.m. at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater)

Once the booklet is at the printer, the hard-core promotion of the festival ramps up. There are press screenings to organize, guest lists to compile, travel to coordinate, schedules upon schedules to sync together, and, above all, tickets to be sold. Thankfully there is a great team from both institutions that help make this all happen, and hopefully all of our effort results in a successful festival that pleases audiences and filmmakers alike.

Tickets to all New Directors/New Films 2012 screenings are on sale now at