Today on the Criterion Channel, we’re presenting the debut of Art-House America, an original program showcasing great venues around the country that continue to carry the torch for film culture. Each episode places the spotlight on one theater, pairing a new documentary that charts the institution’s history with films handpicked by its curators. Our first installment celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of Manhattan’s Walter Reade Theater at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which has long been home to an eclectic, forward-thinking repertory program and the venerable New York Film Festival.
The above clip, excerpted from our video on the Walter Reade, features former director of programming Richard Peña looking back on the challenges and successes his team experienced during the program’s early years, followed by rarely seen archival footage of legendary critic Andrew Sarris discussing the auteur theory and Martin Scorsese in conversation with current New York Film Festival director Kent Jones. Head over to the Channel to watch the full segment, along with a lineup of classics that have opened at the Walter Reade, chosen and introduced by Peña and two members of the Film Society’s current programming staff, director of programming Dennis Lim and associate director of programming Florence Almozini.