NewFest has announced the opening, closing and centerpiece films for their 29th annual celebration of the year’s best LGBTQ films, scheduled to run from October 19-24 at New York’s SVA Theatre, Cinépolis Chelsea, and The LGBT Community Center.
This year, NewFest’s programmers have chosen to showcase the glory and challenges that come with self-expression. Their selections serve in part to connect the past and present by highlighting the queer trailblazers of the ’80s and ’90s who inspired the next generation of queer artists and storytellers. These four films are some of the best of the best of this 2017 queer cinema.
Kicking off NewFest will be the New York premiere of Anthony&Alex’s highly anticipated documentary Susanne Bartsch: On Top. The film offers an inside look at the life of nightlife legend and LGBTQ advocate Susanne Bartsch, and features a vibrant cast of NYC club scene icons, including RuPaul, Amanda Lepore, Michael Musto and Bill Cunningham. Following the screening, Musto will host a talkback with Bartsch and the two directors.
Vincent Gagliostro’s After Louie will screen as the festival’s New York Centerpiece film. Starring Alan Cumming and Zachary Booth, After Louie is a touching look at the effect the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic had on individuals and their art, as well as at how that history informs and influences the current generation of queer creatives.
God’s Own Country is the award-winning feature-length debut from writer/director/actor Francis Lee and serves as the festival’s International Centerpiece film. This New York premiere introduces audiences to a bold new voice in queer filmmaking with this masterful story of longing, loneliness and love. God’s Own Country continues to rack up awards, including the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Directing Award and the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, among others.
The New York premiere of Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh’s Becks, starring Tony Award winner Lena Hall, Christine Lahti and Mena Suvari, will close the 2017 festival. Inspired by the life of singer/songwriter Alyssa Robbins, Becks brings the festival themes of uncovering unity and compassion through artistic self-expression full circle and features an extraordinary lead performance from Hall. A special live acoustic performance by Lena Hall will follow the screening of the film, which won the U.S. Fiction Award at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival.