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New York's Film Festivals

New York's extreme diversity is also what makes it a cinephile's heaven: dozens of festivals for both niche interests and for those just wanting to be at the front end of what's out there. New releases and premieres dominate the festival scene, but the city has its share of retrospective events, especially in summer.

The city's preeminent film event is the annual New York Film Festival (www.filmlinc.com); sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, annually from late September into October. Screenings are announced more than a month in advance to often rapid sellout. Film venues are usually Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and Walter Reade Theater. In January, the Film Society joins forces with the Jewish Museum to produce the New York Jewish Film Festival, in March it joins with MoMA to present New Directors/New Films, and June brings its collaboration with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

The Tribeca Film Festival (www.tribecafilmfestival.org) takes place in mostly downtown venues for about two weeks starting in late April, and features mainstream premieres along with indie treasures, as well as a Family Festival, which attracts big crowds for its street fair and movies for ages eight and up.

Fans also flock to other noteworthy annuals like the Asian American International Film Festival (www.asiancinevision.org) in July (usually at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas); the New York International Latino Film Festival (www.nylatinofilm.com) later that same month and also screening at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas; the New York Korean Film Festival (koreanfilmfestival.org) in late September at MoMA and BAM; the Paley Center for Media's DocFest (paleycenter.org) in October; and in November at the American Museum of Natural History, the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival (www.amnh.org/programs/mead/), which presents a rich roster of international documentaries.

And for kids, the year-round programs of the New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) (www.gkids.com) peak in late February with a two-week extravaganza of about 100 new films and videos for ages 3-18.

Summer in New York sees a bonanza of alfresco film; screenings are usually free (but arrive early to secure a space; screenings begin at dusk). The HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival (212/512-5700 www.bryantpark.org) has classic films on Monday nights, June-August. The Hudson River Park (www.hudsonriverpark.org) RiverFlicks series in July and August has movies for grown-ups on Wednesday evening on Pier 54; RiverFlicks for kids are at Pier 46, on Fridays. The Upper West Side has Summer on the Hudson (www.nycgovparks.org) with Wednesday-night screenings on Pier 1. Rooftop Films' (www.rooftopfilms.com) Underground Movies Outdoors is NYC's most eclectic film series, with shows outdoors in summer on rooftops in all five boroughs. Check their schedule for off-season screenings as well.

Summer Thursday nights, check out Movies with a View in Brooklyn Bridge Park (www.brooklynbridgepark.org).

Socrates Sculpture Park (718/956-1819 www.socratessculpturepark.org) in Queens has an internationally inspired Outdoor Cinema program on Wednesday July-September; the NYC skyline serves as a backdrop.

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