NEW YORK (WABC) --It's been called one of the biggest and best events of the fall in New York City.
The New York Film Festival, which got underway last weekend, is one of the highlights of the cultural calendar, a feast for film buffs.
Long before 'diversity' became a buzzword in Hollywood, the New York Film Festival was bringing the best motion pictures from around the world to Lincoln Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side for the first time since the festival began in 1963.
The organizers decided to begin with a documentary.
The films are gathered from around the globe and brought here to the city, to be introduced to the world in a setting where they can be appreciated.
"The New York Film Festival is so important for New York City because it's basically bringing filmmakers from around the world right here to New York City to showcase their best work," said New York City Commissioner of Media and Entertainment Julie Menin.
Work that is notable for its diversity.
"To be able to shed a light on something that is of great important in our time and the fact that I am holding hands with the festival to do that feels like the right thing," said director Ava Duvernay.
When Common and Duvernay worked together on "Selma", he won an Oscar for his song.
Opening night brought them together for the premiere of her new documentary "13th" about how racism has reverberated through American history.
The title refers to the U.S. Constitution.
"The 13th Amendment says that you're allowed to still be enslaved if you're a criminal. It's kinda an eye opener," said Common.
Enlightenment comes in many forms here. Casey Affleck, who resembles his older brother Ben Affleck, makes a bid for greatness in "Manchester By the Sea", playing a janitor who unexpectedly gets appointed guardian to his nephew.
"I lived in New York for well over a decade and been up to Lincoln Center many, many times. I've never been to The New York Film Festival so it's really exciting," said Casey Affleck.
The New York Film Festival runs throughout next week, with dozens of titles yet to be show. ABC7 is an official sponsor of the event.
For more information on the New York Film Festival, visit: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2016/