NewFest, New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Film Festival has unveiled its 18th edition lineup featuring 230 films, including 45 features, 40 docs and 145 shorts. As previously announced the festival, taking place June 1 - 11, will open with the New York premiere of Paul Dinello's "Strangers with Candy," starring Amy Sedaris and Stephen Colbert, while the New York debut of "20 Centimeters," by Ramon Salazar will close out the event. In all, NewFest will screen 25 world premieres as well as ten U.S. and 36 New York debuts. Screenings will take place at the AMC Loews 34th St. Theater in Manhattan.
Based on the Comedy Central series of the same name, "Strangers" centers on a forty-something former user, boozer, loser who is released from prison, and picks up life where she left off, and decides to move in with her father (who is a coma) and step-mother and return to high school. The film premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and will be released by ThinkFilm beginning late June in New York followed by other cities.
Locarno '05 film "20 Centimeters" is about a narcoleptic transvestite who wants to become a full-fledged transsexual. Along the way, she dreams up elaborate musical numbers starring herself.
In addition to the opening and closing films, NewFest will host two centerpiece screenings, including Todd Stephens' comedy about four gay high school friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before college in, "Another Gay Movie," and the Spanish film, "Queens," which screened last month at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, by Manuel Gomez Pereira. The film chronicles the comedy of five mothers dealing with drama of their gay sons pending weddings following the legalization of queer marriage in Spain.
Taking part in this year's NewFest are a number of other films traveling the festival circuit including Sundance '06 titles "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros" by Philippine director Auraeus Solito, "Forgiving the Franklins" by U.S. director Jay Floyd (NYC premiere) and Malcolm Ingram's "Small Town Gay Bar" (NYC premiere). Other fest favorites are "Camp Out" by Larry Grimaldi and Kirk Marcolina (NYC premiere), which debuted at the Cleveland International Film Festival, Q. Allan Brocka's "Boy Culture" (Tribeca), Barry Poltermann and Frank Anderson's doc on actor Charles Nelson Reilly, "The Life of Reilly" (SXSW Film Festival) and doc, "Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema" by Lisa Ades and Lesli Klainberg, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in Feburary.
Also slated NewFest are a variety of shorts programmed in a variety of categories as well as animation and experimental work. Additionally, NewFest will also host panels during the final weekend of the event, including topics on LGBT filmmaking in New York, the filmmaking process, capturing masculinity in the lesbian community on film (with case points utilizing titles screening in this year's NewFest line up) and more.
"Even after such a pivotal year for gay themes in mainstream cinema, many people have reached a level of complacency given the strides gay media representation has made in recent years," commented NewFest executive director Basil Tsiokos in a statement. "The importance of NewFest is that it provides filmmakers and audiences with a dedicated and visible public forum in which to enjoy and critically engage with these films as a community. This promotes an ongoing dialogue between gay and mainstream cultures about gay representation."
[For more information and a complete line up, visit the NewFest website.]
[SPECIAL NOTE: On Thursday June 8, indieWIRE: Presents will present a discussion with "Strangers With Candy" Actress Amy Sedaris and Director Paul Dinello at Apple Store - SoHo as part of our ongoing series that presents indie film professionals discussing various aspects of the filmmaking process. The event will be moderated by NewFest Director Basil Tsiokos. For more details visit indieWIRE Calendar.]