New Yorkers will get to see Josh Sanchez’s controversial drama Four (which stars Wendell Pierce) next month; it’ll be the Opening Night Film at New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival – aka NewFest.
Mr Pierce will be present by the way, along with Four co-star Emory Cohen.
Browsing over the NewFest 2012 lineup, another feature film that I immediately noticed is Stud Life, the feature debut from award-winning Brit film-maker Campbell X, described as an “homage to Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies And Videotape.“
We profiled it on S&A in March, and it looks to make its USA debut at NewFest in NYC next month.
I’ll go over the entire lineup closely and return with any necessary profiles.
NewFest (www.newfest.org), in its 24th season, will run from July 27th through July 31st. The stellar lineup includes fourteen narrative features, four documentaries and many anticipated short films. New this year, all screenings and panels will take place at The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater.
Other programming will include a NewDraft screenplay reading and a Screen Actors Guild panel to be announced shortly.
Tickets will go on sale for NewFest and Film Society Lincoln Center members on June 14th, and for non-members on June 28th at www.filmlinc.com.
Here’s the full lineup:
FOUR (OPENING NIGHT)
A young man (Emory Cohen, “Smash”) sneaks out of his house for an encounter with Joe (Wendell Pierce, “The Wire”, “Treme”), an older African-American man he met online. Meanwhile a teenage girl in the same town is trying to resist the affections of a drug-dealing suitor. As the night rolls on, these four characters’ lives will intersect in surprising and sexy ways. Brooklyn-based director Joshua Sanchez’s film (based on the hit play by Christopher Shinn) is one of the most assured and compelling feature debuts in recent memory, anchored by Wendell Pierce’s astonishing performance as a conflicted closeted man. As all the characters struggle with connection, a portrait emerges of a suburban landscape where everyone is struggling to learn who they are.
YOUNG & WILD (CLOSING NIGHT)
Seventeen-year-old Daniela is obsessed with sex. But her self-proclaimed “pussy in flames” is in direct conflict with her well-to-do, strict evangelical family in Santiago, Chile. She finds an outlet by detailing her naughty ruminations and exploits on her blog “Young & Wild” to her eager online followers. She dates handsome and pious Tomas, but maybe Antonia, the really cute girl at work is more her speed. As she struggles to balance both relationships, Daniela learns that having it all – sex, love and eternal salvation – is more complicated than she ever imagined.
Marialy Rivas masterfully directs her first feature, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where Rivas and co-writer Camila Gutiérrez (whose life the film is based on) picked up the World Cinema Screenwriting Award. Rooted in a fearless and unforgettable performance by Alicia Rodríguez, YOUNG & WILD is a stunning, energetic look at family and youth culture in contemporary Chile.
Taking a cue from RuPaul’s famous line “We’re all born naked, and the rest is drag,” 23-year-old Spanish filmmaker Andrea Esteban and her girlfriend Paula take us on a journey to Madrid, Berlin and London and into the lives of a fascinating cross-section of young lesbian and trans artists, activists, and journalists. Whether they’re coming out, falling in love, throwing punk rock festivals, or putting together art zines, they’re all unafraid to be who they are. Esteban’s fun and informative film will no doubt be an important cultural document in the years to come.
A randy lesbian couple (Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker) embark on a road trip when their granddaughter (Kristin Booth) tries to break them up in this raucous, heartfelt comedy from Thom Fitzgerald (“The Event,” “Beefcake”).
I AM A WOMAN NOW
How fabulous are the group of 70-something transwomen featured in I AM A WOMAN NOW? Picture Catherine Deneuve, Helen Mirren, Queen Elizabeth and Judi Dench having drinks on a yacht to Casablanca and you’re halfway there, darling. Fifty years after their pioneering sex-change operations, April, Colette, Jean, Marie-Pierre and Corrine recall their cheerful lives in the world’s most luxurious locales. With great charm, wit and emotional honesty, the film offers a fresh perspective on the trans experience while paying tribute to these inspiring ladies.
I WANT YOUR LOVE
In this funny, explicit drama featuring lots of real sex and a throbbing indie dance soundtrack, a young gay artist tries to reconnect with his ex-boyfriend on the eve of his departure from San Francisco. When his friends throw him a huge going away party, everyone finds themselves in unexpected couplings – and triplings! Writer-director Travis Mathews’ debut feature celebrates love, lust, and life in the Bay Area. If you’re a fan of BUTT Magazine, WEEKEND, and SHORTBUS, you won’t want to miss this.
Few today remember the story of Jobriath, a brilliantly talented New York rocker who Elektra Records marketed to glam rock fans as an authentically gay American David Bowie. But what could have been a turning point for music instead became a cautionary tale as 1970s audiences and critics rejected the flamboyant performer. Jobriath’s music later influenced performers like Morrissey (who called Jobriath his favorite singer), Ann Magnuson, Def Leppard, Marc Almond and Okkervil River. Director Kieran Turner painstakingly traces Jobriath’s fascinating life from his childhood to his untimely death, using rare archival footage and interviews with the singer’s closest friends.
KISS ME is a sensual romantic drama about how love appears in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected times. Uptight Mia is about to be married, but when she meets serene Frida, her emotions are stirred. The women begin a passionate love affair, eventually leading them to painful, life-changing decisions. Set in the picturesque countryside of Sweden, KISS ME is a vibrant film that follows one woman’s journey to self-discovery.
LOVE FREE OR DIE
In 2003, the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire came under fire when it became the first to elect an openly gay bishop. Director Macky Alston follows Bishop Gene Robinson into the breach in the struggle for equality. While resolute in his calling, Robinson grows increasingly critical of the central role that religious institutions have played in fostering homophobia and hatred. Winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for An Agent of Change at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
MOSQUITA Y MARI
Studious, sweet-natured 15-year-old Yolanda feels the pressure to succeed under the eyes of her hard-working immigrant parents. When she meets her new neighbor, the feisty and alluring, BMX-riding Mari, Yolanda’s humdrum high school routine gets a jolt. The two girls don’t have much in common on the surface, but they become fast friends and their deep bond develops into a tension that neither one expected nor quite knows how to handle. Aurora Guerrero’s impressive feature film debut (which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival) features two breakout lead performances by Fenessa Pineda and Venecia Troncoso, who perfectly embody the awkwardness and cautious desire of two teenage girls experiencing love for the first time.
MY BEST DAY
Karen can’t believe that she has to work her receptionist gig on a gorgeous Fourth of July. Then a call comes in from her long-lost father, setting in motion a crazy chain of events that will change one small town forever. Meanwhile, her co-worker Megan must decide between the stability of her longtime girlfriend and the thrill of a new love. Filmmaker Erin Greenwell confidently juggles multiple quirky plots, serving up a charming slice of Americana that’s both subversive and sunny.
MY BROTHER THE DEVIL
This moving story about two British Arab brothers in London follows Mo, a lonely, sensitive boy who idolizes his older brother, Rashid, a charismatic, well-respected member of a local gang. Aching to be seen as a tough guy himself, Mo takes a job that unlocks a fateful turn of events and forces the brothers to confront their inner demons. Rich in beauty, humanity and authenticity, MY BROTHER THE DEVIL is an urban tale that burns with vision and passion. Winner of the World Cinema Cinematography Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
NORTH SEA TEXAS
This masterful coming-of-age story set in 1960s Belgium revolves around young Pim who loves his next-door neighbor and lifelong friend, the handsome, motorcycle-riding Mario. As the friends become older, Pim and Mario begin a passionate affair, but Pim is heartbroken when Mario takes up with a girlfriend. Does the sexy biker truly love Pim, or is he just experimenting? And what about the arrival of a handsome carnival worker, who stokes the desires of both Pim and his single mother?
Family dysfunction and sexual confusion abound in this star-filled Woody Allen-esque comedy from writer/director Ash Christian (FAT GIRLS, MANGUS). The story revolves around the Petunia family – gay celibate Charlie, sex-addict Adrian, newlywed Michael (Eddie Kaye Thomas), his cheating wife (Thora Birch) and their pot-smoking, therapist mother Felicia (Christine Lahti). Charlie’s world is turned upside down when he meets a cute gay neighbor George (Michael Urie) with a fragile wife (Brittany Snow). Will Charlie end up finding true love, or end up just like his screwed up family?
REMINGTON AND THE CURSE OF THE ZOMBADINGS
Co-Presented by the New York Asian Film Festival
The curse of an angry drag queen makes super cute ladies’ man Remington turn gay overnight. When a serial killer starts stalking the town’s gay citizens with a homemade laser gun, Remington’s got to figure out a way to break the curse or catch the killer before he winds up dead! Did we mention the army of flesh-eating drag queen zombies? They’re just the tip of the iceberg in this outrageous camp comedy that was a smash hit in its native Philippines last year.
When life with her overprotective mother becomes too much, Bethany (Ashley Rickards, “Awkward”) runs away to live with her dad and his much younger boyfriend, played with unexpected verve by former child star Haley Joel Osment (THE SIXTH SENSE). As Bethany saves up to attend the fashion school of her dreams, her mom starts scheming to get her back. Writer-director Coley Sohn’s debut is a charming and, yes, sassy teen comedy about finding your voice.
JJ, a hot black British stud and her best friend Seb, a cute white twink run around the urban London LGBT scene. JJ falls for a mysterious sexy woman and Seb is left to his own devices with online hook ups and an overly affectionate drug dealer. The grit of the city and the betrayal of sexy lovers send Seb and JJ in different directions and unlikely places where they learn how to accept the love hiding in plain sight.
SHORTS PROGRAM 1
The pursuit of love, lust, danger and desire runs wild in this program featuring some of the most compelling gay and lesbian shorts of the year. Two teens explore an abandoned German Nazi resort while a group of sexually charged friends in NYC can’t even muster up the energy to leave the house. Rounding out the program is a lesbian Godard-ian tale of a boss and a secretary, a hilarious poison pen letter to Dan Savage, and a delicate story about a young Asian man who returns home to visit his family and his past.
Relationships at a turning point take center stage in this not-to-be-missed program of dynamic and entertaining LGBT shorts from the US and around the world. A teen tries to make it home with a stash of porn in suburban New Jersey, circa 1994, while a trans man and his girlfriend travel towards a mysterious roadside attraction called “The Thing.” Matt Wolf (WILD COMBINATION: A PORTRAIT OF ARTHUR RUSSELL) returns with a stirring exploration of the life of New York poet and artist Joe Brainard. Plus couples dealing with age differences, breakups, and the most important question of all: who gets to keep the cat?
In this sequel to Eytan Fox’s international hit YOSSI AND JAGGER, Dr. Yossi Hoffman has become a valued and dedicated cardiologist, often using his work as a way to escape from dealing with his life. He lives alone, unable to break through the walls and defenses built around him since the death of his lover. His daily routine at the hospital is shaken up by the arrival of a mysterious woman whom he follows to the southern city of Eilat. Surrounded by sea and sand dunes, he meets Tom, a handsome, self-confident, openly gay man, who represents a new world, different from the one that shaped Yossi.
(YOSSI will screen at the JCC Manhattan.)