NewFest, New York’s leading LGBTQ film and media organization and one of the world’s most respected LGBTQ film festivals, has announced its full line-up for The New York LGBTQ Film Festival’s 32nd year. The festival will kick off with the New York City premiere of Francis Lee’s highly anticipated Ammonite starring Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet and Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan. Winslet will also present Lee with the festival’s inaugural World Queer Visionary Award ahead of the special drive-in screening, taking place at the Queens Drive-In at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The festival will close with the virtual New York premiere of Faraz Shariat’s Teddy Award-winner No Hard Feelings. The announcement was made today by NewFest’s Executive Director David Hatkoff and Director of Programming Nick McCarthy.
The 32nd edition of The New York LGBTQ Film Festival will take place October 16-27, 2020, with more than 120 new films accessible to ticket holders nationwide via NewFest’s on-demand platform. Individual tickets and all-access passes are on sale now at newfest.org.
The first-ever virtual edition of NewFest will include a robust lineup of panels and conversations surrounding LGBTQ+ topics, in addition to its regular programming of new features and short film premieres, and will incorporate virtual live events as well as select drive-in screenings. Introductions to the films will be shot in front of historic LGBTQ sites, community organizations, and queer-owned businesses throughout New York City.
“With the Presidential election right around the corner and a Supreme Court seat now open, it is more urgent than ever that queer stories be told and celebrated,” said Executive Director David Hatkoff. “We have created an 11-day event that will meet and speak to this moment, delivering a thought-provoking, inspiring and joyful look at the LGBTQ community and the unique challenges it faces, while also paying homage to the incredible queer legacy that exists in NYC. We can’t wait for audiences around the country to view these incredible films, and hopefully, be inspired to raise their own voices in pride and protest on November 3rd and beyond.”
“Featuring the newest work from leading international auteurs, Academy Award winners, and emerging LGBTQ filmmakers premiering their work for the first time, this year’s line-up channels themes that inform our community and society at large while confronting the edges of democracy and celebrating our strong history of LGBTQ ancestry that broke barriers before,” said Director of Programming Nick McCarthy. “By highlighting portraits of hometown heroes and unsung global icons, celebrating the clear fact that All Black Lives Matter, standing up for the visibility of our LGBTQ siblings around the world, and encouraging intergenerational dialogue within our community, our 32nd annual program will raise human spirits by uplifting our diversity of voices.”
The full program for the festival’s 32nd edition includes three drive-in screenings, 24 narrative features in competition, 14 documentary features in competition, three full-season episodics, one global episodic showcase, and 10 shorts program screenings, including a specially-curated shorts program for LGBTQ-identified high school students in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.
Among the 41 features playing the festival, all are New York City premieres, with one world premiere (Nora Highland), one international premiere (The Flashpoint), two US premieres (Always Amber and Dating Amber) and one sneak preview (Uncle Frank).
This year at NewFest, 63% of films are directed by women and non-binary filmmakers, and 76% of content is about and/or by underrepresented voices (women, people of color, trans, bi, and differently-abled).
Just announced highlights by the festival include a special sneak drive-in preview of Academy Award winner Alan Ball’s road trip comedy Uncle Frank, which follows a teenage girl and her gay uncle who take a road trip back to their hometown. The film, which had its world premiere at Sundance this year, stars Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi and Steve Zahn.
Each night of the Festival will feature a Spotlight film. Spotlight Films include french auteur François Ozon’s drama Summer of 85, a sexy summer romance about two teenage boys who meet on the coast of Normandy, and New Zealand filmmaker Max Currie’s Rurangi, in which a trans activist returns to his hometown to reconnect with his roots and estranged father. Other Spotlight films include topical time-loop drama The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, New Zealand trans drama Rurangi, recent Toronto (TIFF 2020) favorite Shiva Baby, hometown hero doc Keith Haring: Street Art Boy, stunning supermodel portrait Kelet and celebratory lesbian documentary Ahead of the Curve. NewFest will not screen a Spotlight film on the evening of Thursday October 22 to encourage viewership of the Presidential debate.
Additional highlights include the International Premiere of The Flashpoint, a galvanizing documentary that examines political polarization and the rise of right-wing homophobia in Poland through public art and the symbolic meaning of the rainbow, and a special one-night virtual screening event for Nora Highland, a feature based on the play with the same name, shot entirely on computers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The screening of Nora Highland, which explores the casting process surrounding an iconic and seminal gay character in a new Broadway revival, will be followed by a Q&A with director Ryan Spahn and actor Michael Urie.
The Festival will also host a special 25th Legacy Anniversary screening for Kino Lorber’s Bloodsisters: Leather, Dykes, and Sadomasochism, the iconic documentary about the San Francisco leather scene, which had its New York Premiere at NewFest back in 1995.
Individual tickets for virtual films ($12 regular, $10 for members) and drive-in tickets (starting at $45 per car) are now on sale for purchase on www.newfest.org, with all-access virtual passes starting at $95. For more information, to purchase tickets/passes, or to become a member, go to www.newfest.org.
NewFest is presented by WarnerMedia, and would like to thank Signature Sponsors Hyundai and Ogilvy; Premier Sponsors Amazon Studios and Netflix; Major Sponsor Gilead; and Supporting Sponsors Amida Care, Comcast NBCUniversal, Wolfe Video, and Barefoot Wine.