The Latino Behind New York Film Festival Bids Farewell After 25 Years, Goes Out With a Bang

You're credited with helping a lot of international filmmakers break into the US through the festival. Any of them that you're particularly proud of showcasing?

I don't know if I can take total credit because there was already a bit of a cult for his work but I certainly think we launched the career of Pedro Almodóvar to another level. It's not that he was unknown in 1988 but I think after we really picked up his work and began showing it frequently in the festival, he became the most successful, certainly Spanish language, but also foreign language director of the last 25 years.

My first year of the festival we opened with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. This was the first film that crossed him over to a much larger audience and it made far more money than all the other films he had already released in the US put together.

You're known for your impeccable taste in movies, but are there some surprising films that you enjoy, like Fast and the Furious or something?

There are some films that don't fit in the context of the work I do but I still enjoy them for many different reasons. Recently, I've been sort of disappointed by some of Hollywood's big-budget blockbusters but if we went to the past, I'd say a movie like Alien or Close Encounters and I'm a great fan of the work of Steven Spielberg, not all of his films to be are the same great caliber but many are really wonderful, including Jaws.

Are you excited about Lincoln [Spielberg's upcoming film about Abraham Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis]?

Very, very excited. I'm sure it's going to be terrific.

Did you ever harbor any desires to be a filmmaker yourself?

No, I don't really have any talent in that area. I've always been someone who likes to watch, and think about, and write about, and talk about movies. That's really what I like to do.

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