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Mayor Pete, Passing, Madonna to be Centered at NewFest 2021

‘Mayor Pete,’ ‘Passing,’ Madonna to Highlight NewFest 2021 in NYC

NewFest has revealed the full film lineup for its 2021 New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival opening next month. A special hybrid version of the film festival will take place October 15-26 in theaters in New York City and on NewFest’s on-demand platform. The full program includes over 130 films featuring feature-length narratives, documentaries, and shorts. 

“We have created a dynamic 12-day event that will deliver our community and allies a much-needed jolt of beauty, humanity, and emotion,” David Hatkoff, executive director of NewFest, said in a statement. “Our hope is that audiences who join us safely in-person in Manhattan and Brooklyn or at home from anywhere in the United States will be moved and inspired by these incredible films, and feel a part of something bigger than themselves.”

Opening night will center the East Coast premiere of Jesse Moss’s Mayor Pete (Amazon Studios). The documentary follows the historic campaign of Pete Buttigieg as he sought to become the first out U.S. president before he dropped out of the race and endorsed the eventual winner, President Joe Biden.

‘Mayor Pete,’ ‘Passing,’ Madonna to Highlight NewFest 2021 in NYC

Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson in Passing (Photo by Eduard Grau)

The festival includes a centerpiece screening of Rebecca Hall’s Passing (Netflix) starring Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, and Alexander Skarsgård. Based on Nella Larsen’s novel of the same name, the story follows the divergent paths of two Black women in New York during the late 1920s. The film takes a nuanced look at colorism. 

Closing night will feature Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Sundance Grand Prize Award-winner Flee (Neon). The film tells the story of Amin Nawabi’s journey that began as a child refugee in war-torn Afghanistan and the emotional toll he suffered in the years since.

NewFest Announces 2021 NYC full lineup

Madonna: Truth or Dare 

For all the material girls, the festival will host a “Madge Brunch” featuring a special 30th-anniversary screening of Madonna: Truth or Dare. The Madonna-focused documentary followed the superstar during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour, revealing plenty of backstage drama and even a Warren Beatty sighting.

Representation was key in the selection process for the festival, with 58 percent of the films directed by women, nonbinary, and two-spirit filmmakers, and 68 percent of stories told by and about people traditionally marginalized or underrepresented. Hatkoff said these voices and stories serve to connect the community across the globe.

“The LGBTQ+ community thrives on connection, and queer film provides an opportunity to connect in a unique and celebratory way,” Hatkoff said. 

In Manhattan, NewFest will show films at the SVA Theatre and the LGBT Community Center. Showings will also take place in Brooklyn at Nitehawk Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The festival will center safety as well. It will follow all current New York City guidelines and require proof of vaccination for all filmmakers, staff, and audience members. NewFest also said further safety protocols will be announced.

All-access virtual and in-person passes start at $95 and are on sale now at www.newfest.org. In-person and virtual individual tickets for films go on sale to the general public as of today. For more information, to purchase tickets, or to become a member, visit www.newfest.org.

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