Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Peter Knegt
May 11, 2008 10:05 AM
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NEWFEST '08 | 20th Anniversary Marked With 250 Films, New Additions

A scene from NewFest Closing Night Film, Tom Gustafson's "Were the World Mine." Image courtesy of NewFest.

The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival (NewFest) announced the program of films and events for its 20th annual edition. The line-up features nearly 250 films, representing over 30 countries, and including 49 New York Premieres, 14 U.S. Premieres and 8 World Premieres. "Each year we try to make NewFest bigger and better than the last one," Basil Tsiokos, Artistic Director of NewFest in a statement. Among the new additions is NewDraft Screenplay Competition & Reading Series, which is discovering and fostering LGBT features screenwriters and their screenplays.

Also new to this year's festival is The John Outcalt NewFest Lounge. "The NewFest Lounge will serve host to filmmakers, industry, and audience members before and after screenings for happy hours and networking opportunities," said Tsiokos. The NewFest Lounge will also provide the site for the 5th Annual NewFest Filmmakers Forum on June 14-15. Six panels will cover topics from LGBT networking to the financial side of filmmaking. There will also be a panel called "Acting Out," a discussion with openly LGBT actors and filmmakers.

As for the films themselves, Tsiokos notes that a number of the films are grouped into four different focus areas of special interest to LGBT audiences. "Activism/Repression spotlights LGBT individuals fighting for LGBT rights and visibility against homophobic societies," he explained. "African American Images will focus on out and proud African Americans. The Early Years of AIDS consists of films that look back to the earliest years of the AIDS epidemic. Parenthood features films that account the struggles and triumphs of lesbian and gay parenting."

As previously announced, NewFest's Opening Night Film will be Stewart Wade's "Tru Loved," and the festival will close with Tom Gustafson's "Were the World Mine." The Centerpiece films will be Guiedo Santi and Tina Mascara's doc "Chris & Don: A Love Story," and "Steam," from director Kyle Schickner. NewFest will take place from June 5-15, 2008 at the AMC Loews 34th Street Theater. Full program, schedule, and ticketing information will be available online by May 16.

A scene from Guiedo Santi and Tina Mascara's "Chris & Don: A Love Story." Image courtesy of NewFest.

NewFest 2008 Features

2 Mums and a Dad, directed by Miranda Wills. NYC Premiere. Documentary. A lesbian couple co-parenting with a single gay man run into serious problems.

14 Degrees Eastwards, directed by Nicole Volpert, US Premiere, Documentary. Young activists attempt to stage a gay pride march in homophobic Poland.

Affinity, directed by Tom Fywell. NYC Premiere. Narrative. The latest adaptation of the work of acclaimed author Sarah Waters finds a woman falling in love with an imprisoned spiritualist.

The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela, directed by Olaf de Fleur. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Raquela is a transsexual Filipina prostitute who dreams of escaping her harsh reality for a fairy tale life in the West.

Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!, directed by Todd Stephens. Work-in-Progress. Narrative. A spring break themed follow up to the raunchy gay comedy.

Antarctica, directed by Yair Hochner. World Premiere. Narrative. A sexy romantic comedy-drama about contemporary gay life in Tel Aviv.

Ask Not, directed by Johnny Symons. Documentary. An insightful exploration of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban.

Be Like Others, directed Tanaz Eshaghian. NYC Premiere. Documentary. An examination of gay Iranian men who have sex changes to be able to survive in their country.

Before I Forget, directed by Jacques Nolot. Narrative. What happens to aging gay gigolos after their sugar daddies die?

Being Proud Black & LGBT in America, directed by Monalisa McCombs. Documentary. Openly LGBT African Americans share their stories.

The Beirut Apt, directed by Daniele Salaris, US Premiere. Documentary. A small apartment serves as a sanctuary for four LGBT Lebanese people.

Between Love & Goodbye, directed by Casper Andreas. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Two men finds their love tested when one must choose between family and relationship.

Between Something & Nothing, directed by Todd Verow. World Premiere, Narrative. A freshman art school student's relationship with a mysterious hustler leads him to work the streets himself.

Bi the Way, directed by Brittany Blockman & Josephine Decker. NYC Premiere. Documentary. Are younger people in American today embracing bisexuality?

Boystown, directed by Juan Flahn. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A murderous real estate agent's schemes are threatened by a bear couple in this black comedy.

Butch Jamie, directed by Michelle Ehlen. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Gender-bender comedy in which a butch actress is cast as a man.

Chip & Ovi, directed by Panagiotis Evangelidis. US Premiere. Documentary. A portrait of a young Romanian couple, both disabled orphans.

Ciao
, directed by Yen Tan. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Strangers, united by a mutual loss, become deeply linked over the course of a weekend.

Clandestinos, directed by Antonio Hens. US Premiere. Narrative. Juvenile delinquents have a dangerous flirtation with terrorism in this Spanish drama.

Clapham Junction, directed by Adrian Shergold. US Premiere. Narrative. A devastating and provocative portrait of modern day gay life in London.

Daddy's Love, directed by Mette Aakerholm, NYC Premiere. Documentary. A single gay man turns to surrogacy to become a father.

Devotee, directed by Remi Lange. World Premiere. Narrative. A disabled man seeks love and companionship.

Don't Go, directed by Amber Sharp. Narrative. Melrose Place meets The L Word in the smart multi-cultural ensemble drama.

Drawn Out Love, directed by Boudewijn Koole. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A man seeks out the father he's never met, a man who doesn't know he exists.

Dream Boy, directed by James Bolton. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A story of awakening adolescent desire set against the backdrop of dark family secrets and small-town repression.

Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Film Project, directed by Charles B Brack. World Premiere. Documentary. A documentary honoring the life of a 15 year old aggressive who was killed in a gay hate crime.

Drifting Flowers, directed by Zero Chou. NYC Premiere. Narrative. The interconnected stories of three Taiwanese women living in different times.

Ebony Chunky Love: Bitch Can't Get a Date!, directed by Lonnie Tristan Renteria. NYC Premiere. Documentary. The comedy of NYC-based stand-up comic and Sirius OUT Q radio personality Keith Price.

Eleven Minutes, directed by Michael Selditch & Rob Tate. NYC Premiere. Documentary. Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll prepares for his first Bryant Park show.

Equality U, directed by Dave O'Brien. NYC Premiere. Documentary. Young LGBT Christian activists confront antigay discrimination policies at conservative religious and military colleges.

Fairytale of Kathmandu, directed by Neasa Ni Chianain. NYC Premiere. Documentary. A filmmaker's portrait of a celebrated gay Irish poet on a trip to Nepal takes a sinister turn.

Fashion Victims, directed by Ingo Rasper. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A cute teen inadvertently begins sleeping with his father's business rival in this comedy.

Fatherhood Dreams, directed by Julia Ivanova. US Premiere. Documentary. Four gay men explore different options to become dads.

The Houseboy, directed by Spencer Schilly. NYC Premiere. Narrative. When a young man discovers that his threesome relationship will be ending soon, he turns to anonymous sex to cope.

In Sickness and In Health, directed by Pilar Prassas. NYC Premiere. Documentary. A lesbian couple suing for marriage rights find themselves confronting a terminal illness.

An Island Calling, directed by Annie Goldson. Documentary. A man returns to his native Fiji to investigate the complex circumstances behind his gay brother's murder.

It's STILL Elementary, directed by Debra Chasnoff. Documentary. Revisiting the origins, impact, and continued relevance of the 1996 film It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in Schools.

Japan Japan, directed by Lior Shamriz. Narrative. A young gay man moves to Tel Aviv but dreams of moving to Japan instead.

Just As We Are, directed by Judith McCray. NYC Premiere. Documentary. Candid portraits of gay, bi, and transgendered Latinos from across the US.

Karl Rove, I Love You, directed by Dan Butler & Phil Leirness. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Dan Butler finds himself identifying far too much with his "role of a lifetime," Karl Rove, in this mockumentary.

King Size, directed by Patrick Maurin. US Premiere. Narrative. A musical comedy exploring what happens when a happy couple brings in a third partner.

La Leon, directed by Santiago Otheguy. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A gay outsider is confronted by a man who is threatened by his very existence.

Looking for Romeo, directed by Arthur Ian. World Premiere. Documentary. Male prostitution, from the perspectives of hustlers and johns alike.

The Lost Coast, directed by Gabriel Fleming. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Over the course of one long night, a group of old friends confront unspoken desire and unresolved feelings from the past.

Love My Life, directed by Koji Kawano. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A romantic comedy in which college student girlfriends face pressures from school, family, and society.

Luchando, directed by Noelle Stout. Documentary. An illegally shot documentary following four charismatic hustlers who work the underground gay sex trade in Havana.

Meadowlark, directed by Taylor Greeson. NYC Premiere. Documentary. A filmmaker revisits the events that had a profound effect on his life at the age of 12 - his embrace of Mormonism, his affair with an older man, and the murder of his brother.

Mom, I Didn't Kill Your Daughter, directed by Orna Ben Dor. NYC Premiere. Documentary. A portrait of two Israeli transmen.

Mulligans, directed by Chip Hale. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A young man causes familial upheaval when he sleeps with his best friend's father.

The New World, directed by Etienne Dhaene. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A lesbian couple tries to have a baby in this charming comedy.

No End, directed by Roberto Cuzzillo. US Premiere. Narrative. A cancer scare threatens a lesbian couple's plans for motherhood.

OMG/HaHaHa, directed by Morgan Jon Fox. World Premiere. Narrative. A window into the lives of the YouTube/MySpace generation in Memphis, TN.

On the Other Hand, Death: A Donald Strachey Mystery, directed by Ron Oliver. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Extortion, kidnapping, and murder follow private investigator Chad Allen in this nail-biting thriller co-starring Margot Kidder.

Out In India: A Family's Journey, directed by Tom Keegan. World Premiere. Documentary. A gay couple and their two small children move to India for nine months to organize artists against AIDS.

Out Late, directed by Beatrice Alda & Jennifer Brooke. NYC Premiere. Documentary. Portraits of people who waited until their 50s, 60s, and even 70s to come out as LGBT.

Pageant, directed by Ron Davis & Stewart Halpern. NYC Premiere. Documentary. Five competitors attempt to win the title and crown of Miss Gay America.

Ready? OK!, directed by James Vasquez. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A stressed out single mom contends with her cheerleading obsessed nine-year-old son in this winning comedy.

Saturn in Opposition, directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. Narrative. A group of friends re-examine their lives and relationships in the wake of an unexpected tragedy in this bittersweet ensemble drama.

Searching 4 Sandeep, directed by Poppy Stockell. NYC Premiere. Documentary. An Australian lesbian begins an online relationship with a closeted British Sikh woman.

The Secrets, directed by Avi Nesher. NYC Premiere. Narrative. In a Jewish women's seminary, two women explore forbidden desires after they help a dying French woman (Fanny Ardant).

Seeds of Summer, directed by Hen Lasker. NYC Premiere. Documentary. A filmmaker returns to where she first fell in love with a woman: combat training in the Israeli army.

The Sensei, directed by D Lee Inosanto. NYC Premiere. Narrative. An ostracized gay teen learns to defend himself against prejudice and violence in this 1985-set drama.

Sex Positive, directed by Daryl Wein. NYC Premiere. Documentary. A profile of one of the most controversial figures of early AIDS activism, Richard Berkowitz, a former S/M hustler who introduced the idea of safe sex.

She's a Boy I Knew, directed by Gwen Haworth. NYC Premiere. Documentary. A transgendered woman films her wife, family, and friends as she transitions from male to female.

Simply Love, directed by Eveline van Dijck. US Premiere. Documentary. After 40 years, a woman seeks out her first boyfriend, who has since become a woman.

Solos, directed by Kan Lume & Loo Zihan. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Banned in its native Singapore, Solos explores the doomed relationship between a man, a boy, and a mother.

SqueezeBox!, directed by Zach Shaffer, Steve Saporito, & Sean Pierce. Documentary. A celebration of the infamous NYC drag punk club.

Straight, directed by Nicolas Flessa. US Premiere. Narrative. A young German Turk inadvertently sleeps with both a woman and her boyfriend.

Suddenly, Last Winter, directed by Gustav Hofer & Luca Ragazzi. US Premiere. Documentary. A gay Italian couple explores the controversy around a proposed law that would afford rights for gay and unmarried couples.

Sugar Rush, directed by Sean Grundy. US Premiere. Narrative. 15-year-old Kim has a desperate crush on her sexy and fabulous best friend, Maria Sweet, AKA Sugar.

The Taste of Nothingness, directed by Pascal Robitaille. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A meditative experimental exploration of the deliberate self-destruction of a seemingly normal teenager and his intimate friend.

This Kiss, directed by Kylie Eddy. NYC Premiere. Narrative. Former high school best friends confront old and new demons when they reunite after ten years.

U People, directed by Hanifah Walidah & Olive Demetrius. NYC Premiere. Documentary. 30 women and transmen of color, gay and straight, discuss race, gender, and sexuality in this empowering film.

The Universe of Keith Haring
, directed by Christina Clausen. Documentary. A portrait of one of the most popular artists of the late 20th century.

What Love Means, directed by Renaud Bertrand. US Premiere. Narrative. A two-part French miniseries spanning 20 years in the lives, loves, and tragedies of an extended family beginning in the early 1980s.

When I Knew, directed by Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato. Documentary. Gays and lesbians recount the moment they first realized they were different.

Whirlwind, directed by Richard LeMay. NYC Premiere. Narrative. A newcomer upsets the delicate
equilibrium of a tight-knit group of gay friends in NYC.

The World Unseen, directed by Shamim Sarif. NYC Premiere. Narrative. An unexpected love develops between two Indian women against the backdrop of the beginnings of apartheid in 1950s South Africa.

Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon, directed by Jeffrey Schwarz. World Premiere. Documentary. A profile of the most celebrated and successful gay porn star of the 1970s, who went on to become one of the biggest straight porn stars in the 1980s.

You Belong to Me, directed by Sam Zalutsky. NYC Premiere. An unsettling Hitchcockian thriller in which a man faces off against his disturbing landlady.

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