NewFest, in partnership with Outfest, today announced the lineup of their 27th annual celebration of the year’s best LGBT films from around the world. The program of nearly 100 narrative features, documentaries and shorts runs October 22-27 at the newly renovated Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas, and at the recently completed screening room at The LGBT Community Center in New York City. The festival is presented by HBO.
Opening night will see the New York premiere of legendary filmmaker Peter Greenaway’s EISENSTEIN IN GUANAJUATO, a visually stunning, sexually explicit celebration of pioneering Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s gay coming of age during a trip to Mexico in the 1930s. The cinematic masterpiece, which had its world premiere to wide acclaim at the Berlinale this year, has been hailed as one of the finest films of Greenaway’s long, illustrious career. Called “outrageously unconventional and deliriously profane” by Variety, the film is sure to be the talk of the opening night party.
Closing out the festival on the 27th is Alexandra-Therese Keining’s GIRLS LOST, a thrilling story about three bullied girls who are drawn into a wild and chaotic journey when they find a magical plant whose nectar temporarily transforms them into boys. Fresh off its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it received critical acclaim, Kreining’s bold and stylish coming-of-age tale is a fascinating exploration of sexuality, identity and desire across the LGBT spectrum.
This year also features Centerpiece film CAROL, Todd Haynes’ highly-anticipated and award-winning lesbian romance starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara which won the 2015 Cannes Best Actress award for Blanchett, as well as the Queer Palm.
Other narrative highlights this year include the New York premiere of Matt Sobel’s chilling and suspenseful thriller TAKE ME TO THE RIVER (called “one of the great discoveries of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival” by Indiewire), starring Logan Miller, Robin Weigert, Richard Schiff and Josh Hamilton; the New York premiere of Mika Kaurismäki’s sumptuous period piece THE GIRL KING, about the rise and fall of Sweden’s lesbian Queen Christina; the 2015 Sundance World-Cinema Directing Award-winner THE SUMMER OF SANGAILE; and FOURTH MAN OUT, a hilarious and heartwarming twist on the coming-out genre starring Evan Todd, Chord Overstreet (GLEE) and Kate Flannery (THE OFFICE) that won the Audience Award for Dramatic Feature Film at this year’s Outfest Los Angeles.
Another major highlight of this year’s event is the world premiere of Executive Producer Eve Ensler and Katherine Fishers’ upcoming HER STORY, a web series written by transgender activist Jen Richards (I AM CAIT) and writer/actor Laura Zak (#HASHTAG) and directed by Sydney Freeland (DRUNKTOWN’S FINEST), focusing on the dating lives of Trans women in Los Angeles, followed by a panel about the series. Also featured is a SAG-AFTRA panel discussion on the evolution of transgender representation in film and television, to be moderated by trans activist Tiq Milan.
While the mainstream media seemingly embraced trans identities and lives this year, NewFest has set out to dig deeper, looking for fresh stories and unique characters. Highlights include LA VISITA (THE GUEST), a beautiful Chilean drama featuring a breakout lead performance by trans actress Daniela Vega; the documentary PEACE OF MIND about well-known transmale artist and activist Flo McGarrell’s untimely death during the 2010 Haiti Earthquake; and a TRANS SHORTS program featuring the acclaimed shorts A PLACE IN THE MIDDLE and Cheryl Dunye’s BLACK IS BLUE.
Two additional trans documentary programs, TREASURE: FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANS JUSTICE, MAPPING A DETROIT STORY, and the 25th anniversary screening of the rarely-seen documentaries THE SALT MINES and THE TRANSFORMATION offer a chance for audiences to reflect on how much work still needs to be done to protect and empower trans people of color.
“Our world is almost impossibly diverse,” said NewFest programmer Adam Baran, “and as a film festival, it is our duty to showcase that world as best we can. From people of color to youth films to more films by and about women, we want to illuminate as many aspects of the LGBTQ experience as possible.”
Another addition to the festival is an exciting new partnership with New York’s newly renovated LGBT Community Center, which will feature three days of screenings from Sunday, October 25 - Tuesday, October 27.
"We're thrilled to be back downtown this year with a far more expanded festival and on more screens than in recent years," said Robert Kushner, NewFest's Executive Director. "I couldn't be more proud of the program our team has put together in partnership with Outfest, and through our wonderful, new partnership with The LGBT Community Center, our programming is sure to reach a wider and more diverse audience."
Other special events include a can’t-miss Master Class with acclaimed filmmaker Ira Sachs (LOVE IS STRANGE, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON) who will sit for an illuminating discussion about the joys and challenges of being a queer filmmaker, as well as a panel on “The Renaissance of Women In Entertainment,” moderated by New York Women In Film & Television’s Executive Director Terry Lawler.
And because NewFest lands one week before Halloween this year, the festival will present its first ever Queer Horror Night aimed at LGBT horror fanatics, featuring three terrifying tales: Jorge Torres-Torres’ SISTERS OF THE PLAGUE, Jim Hansen’s YOU'RE KILLING ME, and Marçal Forés’ EVERLASTING LOVE, which won the Jury Award for Outstanding International Dramatic Feature at Outfest LA this year.
Olympic champion Greg Louganis will be on hand for a special screening and discussion of HBO's BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS, while other notable faces and names in this year’s festival films include: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Bette Davis, Mae West, Chord Overstreet, Kate Flannery, John Waters, Rose Troche, Stacie Passon, Harmony Santana, Robin Weigert, Josh Hamilton, Clea Duvall, Josephine Decker, Drew Droege, Jack Plotnick, Chi Chi La Rue, Jeff Stryker, Amanda Lepore, Michael Musto, Zachary Quinto, Mike McCreedy, Carrie Brownstein, Patty Schemel, Macklemore, Shirley Manson, Janet Mock, Irm Hermann, Harry Baer, Lea DeLaria, Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, Casey Legler, Jen Richards and many more.
Tickets for NewFest will go on sale Wednesday, September 30th. A pre-sale to NewFest Members begins on Thursday September 24th. Opening and Closing Night tickets, which include an after-party as well as the screening, are $50 and $40 respectively; $40 and $30 for NewFest Members. The Centerpiece Film is $20; $16 for NewFest Members. For all other screenings, tickets are $16; $12 for students and seniors (62+); $12 NewFest Members. Visit www.NewFest.org/2015 for details as well as complete film festival information.