Richard Peña was the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival from 1988 until 2012. At the Film Society, Richard Peña organized retrospectives of many film artists, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, King Hu, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Fei Mu, Jean Eustache, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Israeli, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Arab, Korean, Swedish, Turkish, Taiwanese and Argentine cinema.
Together with Unifrance, he created in 1995 “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema,” the leading American showcase for new French cinema.
A frequent lecturer on film internationally, he is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema. In 2015-2016 he is a Visiting Professor in Film Studies at Harvard University. He also currently hosts WNET/Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.