NewFest (www.newfest.org), New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival will soon roll out the rainbow carpet for its 24th season, from tonight, July 27th through Tuesday, July 31st. The stellar lineup includes fourteen narrative features, four documentaries and many anticipated short films. New this year, all screenings and panels will take place at Manhattan's film mecca, The Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, marking a continued relationship between the two pioneering film organizations.
Rose Kuo, Executive Director of The Film Society of Lincoln Center said, "Our new partnership with OutFest and NewFest marks an exciting time for the Film Society as we look forward to extending our reach, and support, to the LGBT community. There are a great deal of talented filmmakers and important voices to be heard. We are thrilled to be able to help bring such talent to audiences."
This year NewFest is presented as part of a recent partnership with long-running LA-based LGBT media arts organization Outfest, which programmed and will help run this year's event. The organizations intend to pursue an official merger in the months following their respective events. Outfest; the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival runs from July 12-22 in Los Angeles.
In a joint statement Steve Mendelsohn, Co-President, NewFest and Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director Outfest said, "For years we have watched and admired the work of our colleagues across the country as we both presented and nurtured some of the best LGBT films and filmmakers in the world. We intend to use this new national relationship to ensure that LGBT film continues to thrive in New York, Los Angeles and across the entire country.”
Kicking off the fest will be the East Coast premiere of Joshua Sanchez's debut feature FOUR, executive produced by Neil LaBute. Starring Wendell Pierce ("Treme" and "The Wire") and Emory Cohen ("Smash") and adapted from Christopher Shinn's hit play, FOUR follows four people as they spend a holiday encountering life changing moments, both subtle and writ large and learn to cope with the lack of honesty in their lives. FOUR is a touching and at times raw look at personal connections and the loneliness of everyday life.
Closing the event will be Marialy Rivas' acclaimed Chilean film YOUNG & WILD. Based on the life of co-screenwriter Camila Gutiérrez, the film is a sexually-charged, stunning and energetic look at family and youth culture in contemporary Chile. The film was the recipient of the World Cinema Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Among the fourteen narrative and four documentary features are three additional 2012 Sundance Film Festival favorites: Macky Alston's latest documentary LOVE FREE OR DIE about openly gay New Hampshire Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson (winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for An Agent of Change), Sally El Hosaini’s MY BROTHER THE DEVIL about two British Arab brothers in London who are forced to confront their inner demons (winner of the World Cinema Cinematography Award), and Aurora Guerrero's debut feature MOSQUITA Y MARI, featuring two breakout lead performances by Fenessa Pineda and Venecia Troncoso. Also screening is Thom Fitzgerald's latest, CLOUDBURST starring Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker and Kristin Booth.
In addition to the move to Lincoln Center, NewFest is also proud to present a screening of Eytan Fox’ acclaimed Israeli film YOSSI at the JCC Manhattan on July 30th. YOSSI is the sequel to Fox's international hit YOSSI AND JAGGER, which premiered at NewFest in 2003.
“We’re thrilled to open this year’s NewFest with a film as accomplished and affecting as FOUR made by New York-based filmmaker and NewFest alum, Joshua Sanchez,” said Kim Yutani, Director of Programming of Outfest. “We’ve also assembled an exceptional lineup of features and short films that reflect the diversity and strength of LGBT work this year.”
Other programming will include a NewDraft screenplay reading and a Screen Actors Guild panel to be announced shortly.
Tickets will go on sale for NewFest and Film Society Lincoln Center members on Thursday, June 14th and for non-members on Thursday, June 28th at www.filmlinc.com.
COMPLETE FEATURE LINEUP:
*All screenings unless otherwise noted will take place at The Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater. 165 W.65th St, New York, NY 10023 (between Broadway and Amsterdam).
FOUR (OPENING NIGHT)
A young man (Emory Cohen, “Smash”) sneaks out of his house for an encounter with Joe (Wendell Pierce, “The Wire”, “Treme”), an older African-American man he met online. Meanwhile a teenage girl in the same town is trying to resist the affections of a drug-dealing suitor. As the night rolls on, these four characters’ lives will intersect in surprising and sexy ways. Brooklyn-based director Joshua Sanchez’s film (based on the hit play by Christopher Shinn) is one of the most assured and compelling feature debuts in recent memory, anchored by Wendell Pierce’s astonishing performance as a conflicted closeted man. As all the characters struggle with connection, a portrait emerges of a suburban landscape where everyone is struggling to learn who they are.
YOUNG & WILD (CLOSING NIGHT)
Seventeen-year-old Daniela is obsessed with sex. But her self-proclaimed “pussy in flames” is in direct conflict with her well-to-do, strict evangelical family in Santiago, Chile. She finds an outlet by detailing her naughty ruminations and exploits on her blog “Young & Wild” to her eager online followers. She dates handsome and pious Tomas, but maybe Antonia, the really cute girl at work is more her speed. As she struggles to balance both relationships, Daniela learns that having it all - sex, love and eternal salvation - is more complicated than she ever imagined.
Marialy Rivas masterfully directs her first feature, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival where Rivas and co-writer Camila Gutiérrez (whose life the film is based on) picked up the World Cinema Screenwriting Award. Rooted in a fearless and unforgettable performance by Alicia Rodríguez, YOUNG & WILD is a stunning, energetic look at family and youth culture in contemporary Chile.
Taking a cue from RuPaul's famous line “We're all born naked, and the rest is drag,” 23-year-old Spanish filmmaker Andrea Esteban and her girlfriend Paula take us on a journey to Madrid, Berlin and London and into the lives of a fascinating cross-section of young lesbian and trans artists, activists, and journalists. Whether they’re coming out, falling in love, throwing punk rock festivals, or putting together art zines, they’re all unafraid to be who they are. Esteban's fun and informative film will no doubt be an important cultural document in the years to come.
A randy lesbian couple (Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker) embark on a road trip when their granddaughter (Kristin Booth) tries to break them up in this raucous, heartfelt comedy from Thom Fitzgerald ("The Event," "Beefcake").
I AM A WOMAN NOW
How fabulous are the group of 70-something transwomen featured in I AM A WOMAN NOW? Picture Catherine Deneuve, Helen Mirren, Queen Elizabeth and Judi Dench having drinks on a yacht to Casablanca and you’re halfway there, darling. Fifty years after their pioneering sex-change operations, April, Colette, Jean, Marie-Pierre and Corrine recall their cheerful lives in the world’s most luxurious locales. With great charm, wit and emotional honesty, the film offers a fresh perspective on the trans experience while paying tribute to these inspiring ladies.
I WANT YOUR LOVE
In this funny, explicit drama featuring lots of real sex and a throbbing indie dance soundtrack, a young gay artist tries to reconnect with his ex-boyfriend on the eve of his departure from San Francisco. When his friends throw him a huge going away party, everyone finds themselves in unexpected couplings – and triplings! Writer-director Travis Mathews’ debut feature celebrates love, lust, and life in the Bay Area. If you’re a fan of BUTT Magazine, WEEKEND, and SHORTBUS, you won’t want to miss this.
Few today remember the story of Jobriath, a brilliantly talented New York rocker who Elektra Records marketed to glam rock fans as an authentically gay American David Bowie. But what could have been a turning point for music instead became a cautionary tale as 1970s audiences and critics rejected the flamboyant performer. Jobriath’s music later influenced performers like Morrissey (who called Jobriath his favorite singer), Ann Magnuson, Def Leppard, Marc Almond and Okkervil River. Director Kieran Turner painstakingly traces Jobriath's fascinating life from his childhood to his untimely death, using rare archival footage and interviews with the singer's closest friends.
KISS ME is a sensual romantic drama about how love appears in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected times. Uptight Mia is about to be married, but when she meets serene Frida, her emotions are stirred. The women begin a passionate love affair, eventually leading them to painful, life-changing decisions. Set in the picturesque countryside of Sweden, KISS ME is a vibrant film that follows one woman's journey to self-discovery.
LOVE FREE OR DIE
In 2003, the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire came under fire when it became the first to elect an openly gay bishop. Director Macky Alston follows Bishop Gene Robinson into the breach in the struggle for equality. While resolute in his calling, Robinson grows increasingly critical of the central role that religious institutions have played in fostering homophobia and hatred. Winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for An Agent of Change at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.