NewFest, New York’s LGBTQ+ film festival announced its full lineup of 132 films from 26 countries for the 35th milestone anniversary year set for October 12 – 22 in theaters within New York, and virtually throughout the United States on NewFest’s on-demand platform through October 24. The festival’s in-person premieres will take place in Manhattan at SVA Theatre and The LGBT Community Center, and in Brooklyn at Nitehawk Prospect Park and The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
The festival will launch on October 12th with the New York City premiere of DGA Award-winning director George C. Wolfe’s film Rustin, starring Emmy Award-winner Colman Domingo in the lead role, alongside Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, Aml Ameen, Jeffrey Wright, Audra McDonald, CCH Pounder and more.
The festival will close with the romantic drama All Of Us Strangers, from Andrew Haigh (director of the beloved queer film Weekend, which was the Narrative Centerpiece at the 23rd edition of NewFest in 2011), starring Andrew Scott, Academy Award® and Paul Mescal, BAFTA Award-winner Jamie Bell, and Emmy Award-winner Claire Foy.
The U.S. Centerpiece film will be the New York City premiere of Nyad from Oscar-winning directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, which stars Annette Bening, Jodie Foster and Rhys Ifans and tells the remarkable true story of athlete Diana Nyad who, at the age of 60 and with the help of her best friend and coach, commits to achieving her life-long dream: a 110-mile open ocean swim from Cuba to Florida. Netflix will release the film in select theaters on October 20th and on Netflix November 3.
The festival’s International Centerpiece film will be the New York City premiere of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster, a nuanced multi-perspective drama set in Japan about the mystery surrounding a puzzling incident at an elementary school, which received Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
NewFest35’s Documentary Centerpiece will be the World Premiere of the long-awaited Beyond The Aggressives: 25 Years Later. Five years in the making, this powerful documentary follow-up to 2005’s groundbreaking The Aggressives revisits the lives of four queer masculine-presenting BIPOC folks as they challenge conceptions of gender identity while navigating life’s hardships and triumphs. The festival will also screen the original groundbreaking doc The Aggressives (2005) earlier in the festival to celebrate the ongoing legacy of the film, which had its New York premiere at NewFest in 2005 and was recently featured within The Criterion Channel “Masc” series.
The festival’s New York Centerpiece film will be the World Premiere of Emma Fidel’s Queen Of New York, an inspiring documentary that follows activist and drag queen Marti Cummings’ historic campaign to be the first non-binary candidate elected to New York City Council.
For its 2023 edition, the festival will present legendary filmmaker Todd Haynes with the NewFest Queer Visionary Award at the festival on October 19, followed by a special screening of Haynes’ upcoming film May December, a deliciously witty film about an actress (Natalie Portman) who heads to Savannah, Georgia to research a part for a new film about a married couple’s past (Julianne Moore, Charles Melton). The film had its world premiere at Cannes earlier this year, and Netflix will release the film in select theaters on November 17.
Narrative highlights from the 2023 festival lineup include the New York premiere of National Anthem, by director Luke Gilford starring Charlie Plummer, Eve Lindley, Mason Alexander Park and Robyn Lively, about a young man from the New Mexico plains who joins a utopian community of queer ranchers and rodeo performers; the New York City premiere of director William Oldroyd’s adaptation of Ottessa Moshfegh’s acclaimed novel Eileen, following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, about Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie), a disillusioned secretary working at a juvenile prison whose world is transformed by the arrival of Rebecca (Anne Hathaway), a new counselor from Cambridge; and the North American premiere – following its World Premiere in Locarno – of writer-director Mauricio Calderón Rico’ ALL THE FIRES about a pyromaniac teen who runs away from home in search of a girl he met online who helps him confront his grief and burgeoning sexual identity.
Additional narrative highlights include the New York premiere of acclaimed filmmaker Goran Stolevski’s Housekeeping For Beginners, a Focus Features title coming to NewFest fresh from its world premiere at Venice where it won the Queer Lion, about a queer woman who cares for her girlfriend’s kids and a group of outcasts, forging an unconventional family that must fight to stay together; the New York City premiere of Erica Tremblay’s Sundance Institute-supported indigenous narrative Fancy Dance, starring Lily Gladstone (soon to be seen in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon) as an indigenous woman who journeys with her niece from an Oklahoma reservation across the heartland to find a missing family member in time for an important powwow; the New York premiere of Babatunde Apalowo’s Berlinale Teddy Award-winning film All The Colours In The World Are Between Black And White, about two men who fall tentatively in love amid societal taboos in Lagos, Nigeria; the New York Premiere of Hannah Pearl Utt’s wry comedy Cora Bora, led by breakout star Megan Stalter as a messy millenial musician; and fresh from TIFF, the New York City premiere of director Janis Pugh’s star-crossed romance musical Chuck Chuck Baby about two working-class women (Louise Brealey, “Sherlock” and Annabel Scholey, “Being Human”) who learn to live life to the fullest after reuniting at a chicken factory in industrial North Wales.
NewFest’s documentary program highlights include Special Jury Prize and Teddy Award winner at the Berlinale, Orlando, My Political Biography by trans activist, writer, and director Paul B. Preciado who brings Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to life with an ensemble of all-trans and gender non-conforming performers, fresh off buzzy screenings at Telluride, TIFF and soon to be at NYFF; Mother Saigon, Khoa Lê’s intimate peek into a mosaic of LGBTQ+ lives in Saigon, a city as liberating as it is oppressive; the New York Premiere of Truth Be Told by Emmy Award® winner and NewFest alumna Nneka Onuorah (NewFest27 Audience Award winner, The Same Difference), which is a call of faith and resilience in the fight for safe LGBTQIA+ spaces within the Black church; as well as jury and audience award-winning films from distinguished international festivals such as Sundance (Going To Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project), Berlinale (Hummingbirds), IDFA (Blue Id), CPH:DOX (Queendom), and Venice (ANHELL69).
The full 2023 lineup selections are as follows:
OPENING NIGHT FILM & PARTY
Thursday, October 12th at 7pm (SVA Theatre)
RUSTIN, directed by George C. Wolfe. (USA)
Star-studded biopic shines a long-overdue spotlight on Bayard Rustin, the extraordinary activist and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. New York City Premiere.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM & PARTY
Sunday, October 22th at 7pm (SVA Theatre)
ALL OF US STRANGERS, directed by Andrew Haigh. (UK)
A solitary writer discovers that his dearly departed parents have reappeared at his suburban childhood home.
U.S. CENTERPIECE SCREENING
Sunday, October 15th at 7pm (SVA Theatre)
NYAD, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (USA).
A remarkable true story of tenacity, friendship, and the triumph of the human spirit, recounting a riveting chapter in the life of world-class athlete Diana Nyad (Annette Bening) who was supported by her best friend and coach Bonnie Stoll (Jodie Foster). New York City Premiere.
INTERNATIONAL CENTERPIECE SCREENING
Saturday, October 21st at 6pm (SVA Theatre)
MONSTER, directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu (Japan).
When her young son Minato starts to behave strangely, Saori begins to unravel a puzzling mystery in this multi-perspective Cannes award winner from celebrated filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-ada, featuring the final score by the late legendary composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. New York City Premiere.
DOCUMENTARY CENTERPIECE SCREENING
Wednesday, October 18th at 7pm (SVA Theatre)
BEYOND THE AGGRESSIVES: 25 YEARS LATER, directed by Daniel Peddle (USA).
Four queer, masc-presenting BIPOC protagonists reunite after 20 years in this follow-up to the groundbreaking 2005 documentary. World Premiere.
NEW YORK CENTERPIECE SCREENING
Monday, October 16th at 7:30pm (SVA Theatre)
QUEEN OF NEW YORK, directed by Emma Fidel. (USA)
Follow nonbinary drag artist Marti Cummings in their groundbreaking run for New York City Council. World Premiere.
SPECIAL EVENTS + ADVANCE SCREENINGS
NewFest35 Queer Visionary Award (Todd Haynes) + screening of MAY DECEMBER
Thursday, October 19th at 7:30pm (SVA Theatre)
Prior to the special screening of MAY DECEMBER, NewFest will host Academy Award® nominated director Todd Haynes in a conversation and present him with the NewFest35 Queer Visionary Award. NewFest will be honoring Haynes for his legacy and contributions to cinema — from New Queer Cinema and beyond, including his canonical directorial achievements such as POISON, VELVET GOLDMINE, FAR FROM HEAVEN, and CAROL (NewFest27’s Centerpiece Film).
2023 New Voices Filmmaker Grant Showcase
Tuesday, October 17th at 7:30pm (Nitehawk Cinema – Prospect Park)
Celebrate the four recipients of the 2023 New Voices Filmmaker Grant, a program NewFest launched last year in partnership with Netflix as part of the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, with a screening of their recent short films and exciting works-in-progress. Join us as we share the auspicious work from 2023 grantees Terrance Daye, Drew de Pinto, Emily May Jampel, and LaQuan Lewis, and hear what’s to come in their future projects and emerging careers.
3rd Annual Film Feast: GODS AND MONSTERS, directed by Bill Condon (USA).
Wednesday, October 18th at 6:45pm (Nitehawk Cinema – Prospect Park)
Join NewFest at Nitehawk Cinema Prospect Park for our third-annual Film Feast and enjoy a contemporary classic paired with a themed, multi-course meal. Don’t miss this chance to sip and dine along to this delirious, delicious melodrama — winner of the 1998 Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay — in its 25th-anniversary year.
FELLOW TRAVELERS, directed by Daniel Minahan (USA).
Saturday, October 21st at 8:45pm (SVA Theatre)
Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey star as two men who begin a clandestine romance in McCarthy-era Washington. In partnership with Showtime/Paramount Plus. Written for Television by Ron Nyswaner. Advance Screening.
OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH: Season 2 (USA).
Monday, October 16th at 7:30pm (Nitehawk Cinema – Prospect Park)
Season 2: Episodes 6 & 7 of the hit Max Original comedy series based (very) loosely on the true adventures of 18th century would-be pirate Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) and starring Taika Waititi as Captain Blackbeard. Season two is executive produced by Academy Award® winner Taika Waititi, alongside creator-showrunner David Jenkins. Garrett Basch, Dan Halsted, Adam Stein, and Antoine Douaihy also serve as executive producers. Season two was filmed in Auckland, New Zealand. In partnership with Max. Advance Screening. Advance Screening.
THE AGGRESSIVES (2005), directed by Daniel Peddle (USA).
Sunday, October 15th at 4pm (Brooklyn Academy of Music – BAM)
Filmed over the late ’90s and early 2000s, this observational doc provides an intimate look at masc-presenting QTBIPOC New Yorkers who are defying societal norms and embracing their inner selves in an outward statement of visibility. Initially screened at NewFest in 2005.
CHOCOLATE BABIES (1996): 4K Restoration, directed by Stephen Winter (USA).
Tuesday, October 17th at 7:30pm (Brooklyn Academy of Music – BAM)
An underground band of radical Black queer HIV+ activists and rebels take to the streets of New York City to combat conservative politicians and government apathy towards AIDS. New York Premiere of 4K Restoration. Initially screened at NewFest in 1997.
A SIMPLE MATTER OF JUSTICE: The 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights & Liberation (1993): 30th Anniversary, directed by JEB (Joan E. Biren). (USA)
Saturday, October 14th at 3pm (The LGBT Community Center)
Documentary that captures the LGBTQ+ movement for equality in the early 1990s through the historic 1993 march, which included nearly a million participants, including Urvashi Vaid, Larry Kramer, Kathy Najimy, Cybil Shepard, Jesse Jackson, Ian McKellan, RuPaul, Barney Frank, Lea Delaria, and Eartha Kitt. The 1993 feature-length doc will be preceded by the New York Premiere of the new short doc THERE ARE THINGS TO DO about the life and legacy of Urvashi Vaid. “Urvashi Vaid and the Ongoing Fight for LGBTQ+ Justice” (Screening + Conversation) will be presented in partnership with the American LGBTQ+ Museum.
YOUNG SOUL REBELS (1991): 4K Restoration, directed by Isaac Julien (UK, France, Germany, Spain).
Friday, October 13th at 7:30pm (Brooklyn Academy of Music – BAM)
New 4K restoration of Isaac Julien’s queer classic, in which two underground DJs seek community and romance in 1970s London. East Coast Premiere. Initially screened at NewFest in 1992.
ALL THE COLOURS OF THE WORLD ARE BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE, directed by Babatunde Apalowo (Nigeria).
Two men fall tentatively in love amid societal taboos in Lagos in 2023’s Berlinale Teddy Award winner. New York Premiere.
ALL THE FIRES, directed by Mauricio Calderón Rico (Mexico).
A pyromaniac teen runs away from home in search of a girl he met online who ends up helping him confront his grief and burgeoning sexual identity. North American Premiere.
ALMAMULA, directed by Juan Sebastián Torales (Argentina).
A repressed teenager and his family relocate to a remote town haunted by a mythic forest creature. New York Premiere.
BIG BOYS, directed by Corey Sherman (USA).
Jamie’s unexpected crush on his cousin’s boyfriend turns a dream camping trip into a weekend of self-discovery. New York Premiere.
CHESTNUT, directed by Jac Cron (USA).
Recent college grad Annie hesitates to leave Philadelphia for a new job across the country after falling for party girl Tyler. New York Premiere.
CHUCK CHUCK BABY, directed by Janis Pugh (UK).
Two working-class women learn to live life to the fullest after reuniting at a chicken factory in industrial north Wales in this delightful (and musical!) story of star-crossed romance. New York City Premiere.
CLASHING DIFFERENCES, by Merle Grimme (Germany).
Chaos reigns as a group of BIPOC and queer women discover the real issues that unite them at a retreat organized by white feminists. East Coast Premiere.
CORA BORA, directed by Hannah Pearl Utt (USA).
In this wry comedy, Megan Stalter stars as Cora, a messy millennial musician who heads home to salvage her rocky relationship with her girlfriend. New York Premiere.
EILEEN, directed by William Oldroyd (USA).
Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway star as two women who forge a mysterious bond in 1964 Massachusetts. New York City Premiere.
FANCY DANCE, directed by Erica Tremblay (USA).
Lily Gladstone stars as an Indigenous woman who journeys with her niece from an Oklahoma reservation across the heartland to find a missing family member in time for an important powwow. New York City Premiere.
GOLDEN DELICIOUS, directed by Jason Karman (Canada).
When an openly gay, basketball-loving teen moves in across the street, Jake tries out for the team to get his attention. New York Premiere.
HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS, directed by Goran Stolevski (North Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia, Poland, Kosovo).
Reluctant Dita cares for her girlfriend’s kids and a group of outcasts, forging an unconventional family that must fight to stay together. New York Premiere.
LIE WITH ME, directed by Olivier Peyon (France).
A celebrated novelist reminisces about his secret teenage romance during a nostalgic return home in this adaptation of Phillipe Besson’s beloved novel. New York City Premiere.
THE LOST BOYS, directed by Zeno Graton (Belgium, France).
Passion blossoms between two young men in a juvenile reform center who thought their lives had been put on hold. New York Premiere.
THE MATTACHINE FAMILY, directed by Andy Vallentine (USA).
Nico Tortorella and Emily Hampshire are among the famous faces in this story about a queer married couple whose life unravels when their foster child is returned to his birth mother. New York Premiere.
MAY DECEMBER, directed by Todd Haynes (USA).
The new work from director Todd Haynes (recipient of the NewFest35 Queer Visionary Award) stars Academy Award® winners Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore in a deliciously witty film about performance and exploitation that juggles surreal melodrama with humane perception.
NATIONAL ANTHEM, by Luke Gilford (USA).
A young man from the New Mexico plains joins a utopian community of queer ranchers and rodeo performers. New York Premiere.
A PLACE OF OUR OWN, directed by Ektara Collective. (India)
Two trans friends search for a new home after being evicted by their landlord in central India. New York Premiere.
SOMETHING YOU SAID LAST NIGHT, directed by Luis De Filippis (Canada, Switzerland).
A young trans woman’s beach vacation with her family unfolds into a journey of self-affirmation. New York Premiere.
SUMMER SOLSTICE, directed by Noah Schamus (USA).
A trans man and his cisgender, straight friend take a spontaneous weekend trip that pushes the limits of their longtime friendship New York City Premiere.
THIS PLACE, directed by V.T. Nayani (Canada).
Two young women in Toronto connect across identities as they reconcile complicated feelings about family and heritage. New York Premiere.
ACSEXYBILITY, directed by Daniel Gonçalves (Brazil).
Hear the stories of folks who explore the intersection of sexual liberation and disability within the queer space. New York Premiere.
ANHELL69, directed by Theo Montoya (Colombia, Romania, France, Germany).
Spotlights the young queer scene of Medellín, Colombia, and explores their dreams, doubts and fears as they struggle to carry on making cinema. New York Premiere.
BLUE ID, directed by Burcu Melekoglu & Vuslat Karan (Turkey).
Rüzgar Erkoçlar, a former famous Turkish actor, navigates self-realization and acceptance as a trans man while under media scrutiny in this IDFA Audience Award winner. East Coast Premiere.
COMING AROUND, directed by Sandra Itäinen (USA).
A young queer woman stands at a crossroads with her devout Muslim mother in a clash between identity and tradition. East Coast Premiere.
GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT directed by Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster (USA).
A bold and unapologetic portrait of poet and activist Nikki Giovanni’s life through pivotal decades in American history.
HIDDEN MASTER: THE LEGACY OF GEORGE PLATT LYNES, directed by Sam Shahid (USA).
Explore the life and legacy of a pioneering, openly gay American photographer ahead of his time in the early-to-mid 20th century. New York Premiere.
HUMMINGBIRDS, directed by Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Estefanía “Beba” Contreras (USA).
In this late-night summer self-portrait, Silvia and Beba make magic of everyday moments coming of age on the Texas-Mexico border. New York Premiere.
IT’S ONLY LIFE AFTER ALL, directed by Alexandria Bombach (USA).
Get ‘Closer to Fine’ with this celebrated Sundance doc about Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, the musicians and activists that make up the iconic folk-rock band Indigo Girls.
MOTHER SAIGON, directed by Khoa Lê (Canada, Vietnam).
Má Sài Gòn is a cinematic love letter – a bittersweet ode to a comforting yet disturbing mother, to a city that is as liberating as it is oppressive. U.S. Premiere.
ORLANDO, MY POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY, directed by Paul B. Preciado (France).
Trans activist Paul B. Preciado brings Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to life (over and over again) with an ensemble of gender non-conforming performers in this Teddy Award-winning film.
QUEENDOM, directed by Agniia Galdanova (USA, France).
21-year-old artist Gena stages radical, otherworldly performances on the streets of Russia in protest against Putin’s government. New York Premiere.
TRUTH BE TOLD, directed by Nneka Onuorah (USA).
A call of faith and resilience in the fight for safe LGBTQIA+ spaces within the Black church from Emmy Award® winner Nneka Onuorahl. New York Premiere.
SHORTS: AFTERNOON DELIRIUM
A genre-fluid, gender-bending program that’ll make you arise as if from a dream
SHORTS: DRAMA QUEENS
Outsized personalities, emotions, and imaginations take center stage in this heightened shorts program
SHORTS: FRISKY FRIDAY EPISODICS
Vibrant storytelling and desire are key in this scintillating showcase of binge-worthy and thirsty episodic series.
SHORTS: LOOKING FOR MISTER RIGHT NOW
Boys, men, and masculine bodies meet each other in explosive encounters that range from sexy to tender, and are as ephemeral as they are meaningful
SHORTS: MAKE ’EM LAUGH
Take a break from the stresses of life and dive into this delightful and darkly comic collection of laugh-out-loud shorts
SHORTS: POP! GOES THE CULTURE
This sensational shorts program showcases the unbreakable link between queerness and pop culture
SHORTS: QUEER TEEN MAGIC (with the NYC Department of Education)
For the sixth consecutive year, NewFest and NYC’s Department of Education present this cheerful and affirming shorts program for GSAs and LGBTQ+ high school students & staff
SHORTS: TRANS+ REALISM
This powerful program expands beyond genres, identities, and preconceptions for an augmented expression of our Trans+ (trans, non-binary and intersex) community
SHORTS: WAKE & BAKE BRUNCH
Gather your buds and sink into your seat with this canna-bliss mixtape of queer stoner shorts at our annual Brooklyn Brunch
SHORTS: WE CARRY THE LOVE
A perceptive program highlighting the ties that bind — exploring a variety of ongoing connections between parents, siblings, and partners
SHORTS: WOMEN’S NIGHT OUT REMIX
A surprising and sizzling collection of sapphic short films, all directed by women and nonbinary filmmakers — followed by our Women’s Night Out Party!