Joanne Koch, executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, has died. She was 92 years old. Koch was an influential figure in New York movie culture and ran Film at Lincoln Center, as it is now known, for 32 years.
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Koch died on Tuesday, according to Film at Lincoln Center which retweeted a story posted by THR and was the first to report the story.
The film connoisseur resigned from her position at Film at Lincoln Center in 2019 after a long tenure where she helped launch the New York Film Festival/New Films Festival in 1972. She was also the editor of Film Comment magazine and co-produced 19 of the Chaplin Award galas that honored legendary film artists.
By the time she left her position at Film at Lincoln Center, she said in a press release“I am pleased to hand over the leadership of the Film Society at a time when it is flourishing like never before and am delighted that the organization is in such capable and experienced hands.”
Koch was a proponent of having year-round programming and lobbied for the launch of New Directors/New Movies in 1972.
“My predecessor Gerald Freund got a $15,000 Rockefeller Foundation grant to show movies in prisons,” Koch said. Variety in a 2019 interview. “But the city wasn’t that interested, and it never took off, so the foundation agreed to let us use it for [New Directors/New Films]. We couldn’t afford to do it in the halls of Lincoln Center, so I contacted Willard Van Dyke at MoMA, where I had worked, about a collaboration.