Emmy Award-nominated actor Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) will be receiving NewFest’s very first Voice & Visibility Award during the festival. Burgess will be presented the award by Emmy Award-winning actress Debra Messing (“Will & Grace,” “The Mysteries of Laura,” “Smash”). The award will be given on Opening Night of the 28th Annual New York LGBT Film Festival, October 20th at 7pm, before the screening of the North American Premiere of the highly anticipated THE PASS starring Russell Tovey.
“It’s an honor to be the first recipient of this award. What a lovely reminder to us all that being yourself gives others permission to stand proudly in their own individuality,” Burgess said.
Burgess’s work as an actor, singer, stage performance and out entertainer has resonated with LGBT audiences for years, but as Titus Andromedon on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” he has been newly embraced by audiences all over the world as well as within the critical community. For his performance this past season, the New York Times called him “more than ever the heart of the show,” and he received his second Emmy Award nomination. With his performance, Burgess has created one of the most infectiously lovable characters on television and brought a multi-dimensional gay man of color into the homes of many viewers for the first time.
NewFest’s mission is to give voice and visibility to the full scope of the LGBT community by presenting films and supporting filmmakers, writers and actors whose stories entertain, educate and empower. The Voice & Visibility Award will be presented to Burgess in recognition of his contributions both on and off screen, which have resonated with LGBT audiences through his boundless positivity, presence, and wit. He will be presented the award at NewFest’s Opening Night Gala at Chelsea’s SVA Theatre on Thursday, October 20th at 7pm.
“I couldn’t be happier to have Tituss Burgess receive NewFest’s inaugural Voice & Visibility Award to kick off our 28th Annual festival,” said Robert Kushner, NewFest’s Executive Director. “NewFest is all about LGBT storytelling, and as an immensely talented actor of both stage and screen, Tituss presents his characters and his own stories with insight, strength, and heart–echoing the power and passion of the LGBT community.”
Although Burgess will be receiving NewFest’s first Voice & Visibility Award, past Visionary Award recipients from NewFest include writer-director Ira Sachs, producer Christine Vachon and LGBT rights icon Edie Windsor.