Richard Peņa, Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Chairman of the Selection Committee of the New York Film Festival, is a film curator and scholar whose wide-ranging knowledge of the medium includes a special expertise and interest in Latin American, Asian, and Arab cinemas. He holds the position of Assistant Professor at Columbia University's School of the Arts.
Program Director of the Film Society and Festival Selection Committee Chair since 1988, Peņa has brought a visionary zeal and enthusiasm and a remarkable variety of programs both to the Festival and to the Walter Reade Theater, the Film Society's acclaimed year-round movie house. These latter have ranged from surveys of international cinemas to retrospectives of both renowned and neglected film artists and a focus on new American independent films.
The Walter Reade Theater, which opened in 1991, reflects his strong international, comparative view of cinema. In addition to programming the Walter Reade Theater and helping to select films for the New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films, presented in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art, Peņa is a Board Member of the New York Council for the Humanities and the Independent Feature Project. Before coming to the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Peņa was director of the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where his responsibilities included programming, writing and editing, and general administration.