Karine Jean-Pierre
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NewFest to Offer Dustin Lance Black, Brandi Carlile, & More

Images courtesy of NewFest

NewFest has announced the lineup for its New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival, with a selection of documentaries and narrative features, U.S. and international films, and world premieres and anniversary screenings.

The festival will run October 13-25 with both in-person and virtual screenings of more than 130 films from 23 countries. In-person screenings will be held at the SVA Theatre and the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan and at Nitehawk Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn. Virtual screenings will be available via the fest’s on-demand platform.

The opening night film will be the world premiere of director Laurent Bouzereau’s HBO documentary film Mama’s Boy, the story of Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk). Traveling back to the places where he grew up, Black explores his childhood roots, gay identity, and close relationship with his mother, who overcame childhood polio, abusive marriages, and Mormon dogma to become Black’s emotional rock and the inspiration for his activism.

The festival will close with Oscar-winning documentarian Laura Poitras’s All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, about internationally renowned artist and activist Nan Goldin, which took home the Golden Lion at the 79th Venice International Film Festival.

Among the narrative entries are Michael Grandage’s Prime Video drama My Policeman, starring Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, David Dawson, Gina McKee, Linus Roache, and Rupert Everett in a story of forbidden passion and betrayal set in 1950s and 1990s Britain; Todd Flaherty’s dark comedy Chrissy Judy, which explores the universal pain of breaking up with your best friend; and Elegance Bratton’s drama The Inspection, which is inspired by his own story and follows a young gay Black man (Jeremy Pope), rejected by his mother (Gabrielle Union), who decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would cast him aside. Bratton will be presented with the Breakthrough Queer Visionary Award prior to the screening.

Other documentaries will include Black as U R, Micheal Rice’s exploration of homophobia in Black spaces; Magnus Gertten’s Nelly and Nadine, a story of two women falling in love in the Ravensbrück concentration camp; The Return of Tanya Tucker, Featuring Brandi Carlile, about queer icon Brandi Carlile ushering her idol back into country music stardom; Out in the Ring, about LGBTQ+ pro wrestlers past and present, and Daresha Kyi’s Mama Bears, focusing on conservative Christian mothers who have become fierce LGBTQ+ advocates after accepting their queer children.

Special events include an advance screening of the first episode of the second season of HBO’s Emmy Award-winning series The White Lotus; a sing-along screening of Xanadu, paying tribute to the late Olivia Newton-John; a 30th anniversary screening of ’90s New Queer Cinema work Swoon; the return of Women’s Night Out, a party at the Ace Hotel New York, following an evening of films by women and nonbinary creators; “The New Class: Celebrating Emerging Queer Voices,” an event in partnership with Netflix showcasing new queer voices in film and television, including the 2022 recipients of NewFest’s New Voices Filmmaker Grant and emerging queer voice actors working in animation; an exclusive virtual conversation with the cast and creator of Netflix original series Young Royals; and NewFest and Instagram’s “Reel Storytelling,” a panel conversation with established and emerging LGBTQ+ artists and activists about using new social media tools for creative storytelling. The festival will also feature the second in-person installment of Authentic Voices of Pride, presented by Chevrolet, a documentary series tackling some of the LGBTQ+ community’s most important issues featuring Shangela, Busy Phillips, Leslie Jordan, and more. Additional special events will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We believe that visibility and authentic representation can change lives and even save lives,” NewFest Executive Director David Hatkoff said in a press release. “This year’s festival, presented at a moment when legislation throughout the country is attempting to silence LGBTQ+ people, is an opportunity to loudly and proudly say gay and lesbian and queer and bi and trans and nonbinary with every film we present, every communication we put out into the world and every social event we throw. As we’ve done for 34 years, we are excited to create a space for audiences in NYC and throughout the country to say to the world ‘we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going anywhere.’”

“Featuring award-winning titles from Cannes, Locarno, and Venice film festivals alongside work being celebrated for the first time, this year’s slate reflects the vibrant energy and visionary creativity of our expansive community and city,” added NewFest Director of Programming Nick McCarthy. “We’re excited to amplify alumni Elegance Bratton’s narrative debut achievement, showcase our 2022 New Voices Filmmaker Grant recipients, and honor our community’s rich legacy with multiple stories that uncover and preserve our histories with contemporary resonance. We can’t wait to greet and connect filmmakers from around the world, and gather audiences as they discover their new favorite LGBTQ+ films at NewFest 34.”

Find out more at NewFest.org.

Top: Scenes from The Return of Tanya Tucker, Featuring Brandi Carlile; Rule 34; and Swallowed

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