Opening night film – ‘We Were Here’

Coming on the heels of Gay Pride weekend is the announcement that NewFest, the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender film festival is coming to locations across New York city, July 21-28. The festival will open and close at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and will be headquartered throughout the week at Chelsea’s SVA Theater and Cinema Village. Special satellite screenings will be held at The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, the Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side, and Harlem Stage.

Prior to the screening of NewFest’s opening night film, “We Were Here,” NewFest will honor legendary film producer Christine Vachon with the first annual NewFest Visionary Award. Vachon was instrumental in the movement B. Ruby Rich called New Queer Cinema, producing Todd Haynes’ classic “Poison” (now celebrating its 20th anniversary), Tom Kalin’s “Swoon,” and the lesbian classic “Go Fish” from NewFest board member Rose Troche. Vachon’s illustrious credits include “Velvet Goldmine,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Party Monster,” “Camp,” “A Dirty Shame,” and this year’s upcoming “Dirty Girl” by Abe Sylvia, which will screen at this year’s festival. Christine Vachon will also participate in a conversation at the Film Society’s new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center on Friday, June 22nd.

“We could not be more honored that Christine Vachon will be accepting our Visionary Award on opening night with our new partner, the Film Society Lincoln of Center” said NewFest Executive Director Lesli Klainberg. “Her body of work is not only awe inspiring, but makes her one of the most influential producers of independent film in our country.”

The complete festival lineup includes Sundance Audience Award winner “Circumstance,” and Sundance alums “Shut Up, Little Man!,” “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same,” and “A Few Days of Respite.”

On Sunday, July 24th, it’s all about the lights and the glamour of…Broadway! NewFest will screen Dori Berinstein’s “Carol Channing: Larger than Life,” a hilarious and excessively sweet documentary about the stage legend. Also on Sunday, Broadway stars Cheyenne Jackson (“Glee,” “30 Rock”) and Jason Butler Harner star in Steven Williford’s drama “The Green.” The Broadway block ends with the world premiere of Elisabeth Sperling & Trish Dalton’s “One Night Stand,” which follows various participants in last year’s 24 hour musical competition. The film features Cheyenne Jackson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family”), chanteuse Nellie McKay, Richard Kind (“Spin City,” “A Serious Man”), Rachel Dratch (“SNL”), Mandy Gonzalez (“Wicked,” “In the Heights”), and Tracie Thoms (“Rent”).

Monday night (July 25th), drag ball musical “Leave It on the Floor” will come to Harlem Stage. Screening Tuesday (July 26th) at the Museum of the Moving Image is “3” from Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”), a story of a high-profile modern love triangle. Also on Tuesday are two documentaries: Jonathan Lee’s “Paul Goodman Changed My Life” and Tomer Heymann’s “The Queen Has No Crown” at the JCC of Manhattan.

Wednesday night (July 27th) at BAM, NewFest will screen festival favorites “Old Cats” from Sebastian Silva & Pedro Peirano (Golden Globe-nominated “The Maid”) and “Hit So Hard,” the story of Hole drummer Patty Schemel, from P. David Ebersole.

The festival will host a special screening of James Belzer’s fashion week documentary “The Tents,” which features interviews with Tommy Hilfiger, Isaac Mizrahi, Donna Karan, Hal Rubenstein, Nina Garcia, Phillip Bloch, Robert Verdi, Carson Kressley, Betsey Johnson, and more.

Other notable talent that will be seen in films throughout the festival include Christine Baranski (“What’s the Name of the Dame?”), Margaret Cho (“Cho Dependent”), Ash Christian (“Mangus!”), Jennifer Coolidge (“Mangus!”), Brent Corrigan (“Judas Kiss”), Cheryl Dunye (“HOOTERS!”), Leslie Jordan (“Mangus!”), Bruce La Bruce (“The Advocate for Fagdom”), Hedda Lettuce (“What’s the Name of the Dame?”), Heather Matarazzo (“Mangus!”), Chloe Sevigny (“All Flowers in Time” short), Joe Swanberg (“Blackmail Boys”), Kathleen Turner (“The Perfect Family”), and Varla Jean (“Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads”).

“It has been an incredible year for LGBT film. NewFest audiences will see a wide variety of exciting, diverse, entertaining, and often challenging films in this year’s festival. I am elated to have such a solid lineup to show off the talent in LGBT storytelling and filmmaking and to help usher us into our new homes at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Museum of Moving Image, and Cinema Village,” commented NewFest Director of Programming Bryce J. Renninger.

The festival’s previously announced gala screenings: opening night documentary “We Were Here” from David Weissman; SXSW favorite “Weekend” from Andrew Haigh, screening as a centerpiece; Chely Wright’s documentary about coming out in country music “Wish Me Away,” another centerpiece; and Rashaad Ernesto Green’s closing night film “Gun Hill Road.”

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