The Feels
The Feels

The 2017 NewFest, New York LGBT Film Festival wrapped earlier this week, and for the first time ever, the festival awarded prizes adjudicated by a jury. The Feels, directed by Jenée LaMarque won the Jury Award for Best US Narrative, and The City of the Future by directors Cláudio Marques and Marília Hughes Guerreiro, won the Jury Award for Best International Narrative.  The Jury Award for Best Documentary was given to Alabama Bound, directed by Lara Embry and Carolyn Sherer.

“This is first time in over 5 years that NewFest has had a jury,” says Programming and Operations Manager Nick McCarthy. “We were delighted to host a collection of esteemed and exciting colleagues that encompass the fields of filmmaking, criticism, marketing/distribution, activism, and programming to experience the varied voices of our 2017 filmmakers.”

The audience voted Hot To Trot, winner of Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature, and the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to A Date For Mad Mary.

2017 NewFest Award Winners

Jury Awards

Jury Award for Best US Narrative
The Feels, directed by Jenée LaMarque.

Two brides-to-be throw a joint bachelorette party that ends up calling their whole relationship into question.

Special Mention
Zachary Booth and David Rysdahl for their outstanding performances in The Revival.

Jury Award for Best New York Short
Ace, directed by Morgan Kahn Nichols

An unlikely pair of teenagers perform an awkward social dance in a house with no parents.

Special Mention
The Mess He Made, directed by Matthew Puccini, which takes place in the 15 anxiety-inducing minutes a gay man has to wait for the results of his Rapid HIV Test.

Jury Award for Best International Narrative
The City of the Future directed by Cláudio Marques and Marília Hughes Guerreiro

A naturalistic film about the nontraditional relationship of lovers Mila, Igor, and Gilmar that shuns convention, instead embracing love in all its dazzling iterations.

Special Mention
Manuela Guevara for her performance in The Devil’s Magnificent. Guevara co-wrote the film, in which she plays Manu, a trans immigrant who must return to her native Chile after 10 years in France. In the days leading up to her departure, Manu’s platonic friend Daniel proposes marriage with the intention of solving her visa issues. Manu strongly considers the offer, but she’s wholly disheartened at the prospect of a life without love, romance, and sex—that is, until she meets a fellow foreigner who instills in her the hope for a romantic future.

Jury Award for Best Documentary
Alabama Bound, directed by Lara Embry and Carolyn Sherer.

Exploring the legal roller-coaster ride of LGBTQ family rights in the American South, the film offers an intimate view into the lives of three lesbian families in Alabama, including the only openly-gay Alabama State Legislator Patricia Todd, as they make waves in the legal system fighting for the rights of their children. Filmed during the turning-point years when federal marriage equality was coming to a head in the courts, this riveting and powerful documentary tactfully imbues the viewer with hope and frustration as Patricia Todd leads the charge in next wave of the LGBTQ fight for equality: legal non-discrimination.

Special Mention
Abu directed byArshad Khan – a dazzling visual memoir about the complex dynamic the filmmaker has with his father, who was at once extremely modern and also rigidly traditional and unaccepting of his son’s true self.

Audience Awards

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Hot To Trot directed by Gail Freedman

Set in the swinging setting of same-sex competitive ballroom dancing, this tremendously entertaining documentary highlights the culture and art of dance as it humanistically profiles the compelling stories of four international dancers. Filmed over four years, director Gail Freedman closely follows the tight ensemble as they face global and health issues, yet they find comfort and hope as they twirl past life’s obstacles with the utmost poise and confidence. Who will take home the top prize and move closest to the rhythm? The heat is on in more ways than one.

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
A Date For Mad Mary directed by Darren Thornton

In the first feature film by director Darren Thornton, Mary has just been released from a six-month prison stint for a drunken bar fight. Her best friend Charlene is now getting married and wants to keep Mary at a distance, alienating her from their circle of friends. An encounter with a queer musician changes Mary’s perspective and awakens her romantic spirit. The film also won the Breakthrough Award at the Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards.

Audience Award for Best Documentary Short
Love Letter Rescue Squad directed by Megan Rossman

The film reflects on the Lesbian Herstory Archives, home to the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities.

Audience Award for Best Narrative Short
Pria, directed by Yudho Aditya

A young boy in Indonesia experiences the tensions between his Gay and Muslim identities all while dreaming about romance and romanticizing the freedoms of the western world.

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