New York Film Festival head director Kent Jones will be stepping down after this year’s edition to pursue a directing career, which he successfully kick-started this year with the critically-acclaimed “Diane.” The gist of the decision stems from Jones basically saying that his position as a director of movies has changed his perspective and potentially created conflicts of interest in the selection process of the lineup.
“[I’m a] filmmaker,” Jones said. “The kinds of films that I made before were about cinema, so they were pretty much in harmony with things like writing criticism and programming other people’s movies. Making ‘Diane’ changed things … I’ve always written scripts, and I’ve always shared them with friends, among them Marty [Scorsese], Arnaud Desplechin and Olivier Assayas — people I’m really close to, [and] it changes your perspective. Watching films by other people — and particularly rejecting films by other people — becomes different. After making my film, I guess that changed my perspective.”
Ironically, Jones invited both Assayas and Desplechin this year for their own respective critically maligned films.
The rumor mill suggests that the obvious candidate to replace Jones would be Dennis Lim, an important and critical figure in shaping the festival's programming this decade. With Gavin Smith, Amy Taubin, and now Jones all leaving the NYFF selection committee, there will certainly be changes in the way NYFF programming will be looking in the near future.