Creating a ‘Cannes’ in New York City

The New York City International Film Festival begins tomorrow and runs through Wednesday.

In a city as diverse as New York, it’s important that the entertainment reflects the population. That’s why the second annual New York City International Film Festival aims to bring movies from all over the world to Manhattan.

Robert Rizzo, founder and CEO of the fest, was first inspired to create the event after attending the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival.

“I created the [New York City International Film Festival] with the purpose to discover new and talented filmmakers and to promote established ones from the U.S. and around the world,” Rizzo says. “I want to give them a high-profile platform in New York to showcase their creative work to a vast and diverse audience.”

Among the films featured this year is “The Last Gamble,” a thriller centered on a gambling addict in New York City. The film’s director, Joe Goodavage — who also serves as marketing director of NYCIFF —  says the aesthetics organizers used to select the festival’s 300 films are inspired by the art and history of cinema itself.

“We go through a very vigorous screening process. The film has to have quality in sound, lighting, acting, and it has to be state of the art,” Goodavage says, using movies of the 1970s as an example. “We want the old-fashioned films of the ’70s to come back — there were great scripts and great acting. We’re trying to find hidden gems like that.”


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