Film Society of Lincoln Center director was 92 – The Hollywood Reporter
Joanne Koch, longtime executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center who helped shape movie culture in New York and around the world, has died. She was 92 years old.
Koch died in New York on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Film at Lincoln Center, as the organization is now known, said. The Hollywood Reporter.
Koch, who worked at the prestigious New York Film Festival’s home from 1971 to 2003, also served as the company’s editor. Movie commentary magazine and has co-produced 19 Chaplin Award Galas, which each spring honor a major film artist as part of a major fundraising event. Her stretch started with Fred Astaire in 1973 and ended with Audrey Hepburn in 1991.
An insatiable lover of movies, Koch was born in Brooklyn on October 19, 1929. She graduated from Goddard College in Vermont with a degree in political science in 1950, then landed a job that year as a researcher in the film department of the Museum. of Modern Art.
She left MoMA in 1954 to raise a family, but returned in 1965 when she became technical director in charge of its film preservation program. However, she left again in 1967 due to a rule of nepotism, which came into effect when she married Richard Koch, in-house attorney and director of administration at MoMA.
After three years at Grove Press – she oversaw the subtitling and dubbing of films in her collection and was part of the legal team involved in the 1967 Swedish erotic film censorship trial I’m curious (yellow) – Koch joined the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 1971 as a freelancer to program its Movies in the Park series.
“I remember with amusement that in a park in the Bronx we had programmed the short film by Carroll Ballard entitled Pigs, which was a lovely movie about these animals,” she recalled. “However, many young viewers were anticipating a movie about the police and started bombarding the screen with cans of drink when they were disappointed.”
Soon she assumed the leadership of the New York Film Festival.
In 1972, she participated in the launch of the New Directors/New Films spring event and assisted Charlie Chaplin’s return to the United States after years of exile.
“Chaplin was honored [weeks later] by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and most of the coverage of his comeback assumes he came to receive his Oscar, but he actually came to see us first and at our invitation,” said noted Koch.
The event was such a success that the Film Society decided to establish a program to celebrate a film personality each year. Other laureates under his direction included Alfred Hitchcock, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, George Cukor, Barbara Stanwyck, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Claudette Colbert, Federico Fellini and Bette Davis.
Koch initiated the acquisition of Movie commentary in 1974, then was promoted to executive director of the Film Society in 1977. She also served as the organization’s chief financial officer for many years and was appointed to the board of directors in 1999.
His “passion and determination drove the organization from the early days of the New York Film Festival to the opening of the Walter Reade Theater in 1991 and the development of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, which opened its doors in 2011”, Film at Lincoln Center noted.
Koch received the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture in 1984 and was named Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the National Center for Cinematography in 2000.
In 2012, she co-edited with Laura Kem and Richard Peña “New York Film Festival Gold”, a publication which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the New York Film Festival. The longtime Greenwich Village resident was the executive director emeritus of Film at Lincoln Center at the time of her death.
Her first husband was Oscar Godbout, who became the “Wood, Field and Stream” columnist at The New York Times.
Survivors include his daughter, Andrea; step-sons Chapin, Jeremy and Stephen; and two grandsons.