Back to IndieWire

NewFest, New York’s LGBT Film Festival, Announces Lineup; Opens with Sundance Favorite ‘Concussion’

NewFest, New York's LGBT Film Festival, Announces Lineup; Opens with Sundance Favorite 'Concussion'

The 25th annual NewFest, New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival, has announced its lineup of 15 features, four documentaries and 31 shorts. The fest is put on by OutFest and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Check out the program below.

NewFest runs September 6-11 at the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater and the JCC in Manhattan.

Stacie Passon’s “Concussion,” which premiered at Sundance to strong reviews, will open the festival. It centers on a suburban lesbian housewife who leads a double life as a high-end call girl in Manhattan. RADiUS-TWC snapped it up out of Park City for seven figures; no word yet on a stateside release.

Complete lineup:


Dir/Scr: Stacie Passon, 2012, USA, 97 min.

From executive producer Rose Troche and writer-director
Stacie Passon, this funny, sexy and compelling mix of Belle de Jour and The
Stepford Wives  follows suburban lesbian
housewife Abby (Robin Weigert, “Deadwood”, The Sessions) through an erotic
epiphany after suffering a head injury. In the immediate aftermath, she
questions whether her picture-perfect family life is enough and decides to
revive her career and renovate a loft in New York City. But the space quickly
transforms itself into a convenient location for an unexpected sexual
reawakening. CONCUSSION had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival
earlier this year.


Looking back as moving forward, this selection of recent
works and telling discoveries assembles a queer menagerie of experimentalists
and pop icons, like Pet Shop Boys, Lil’ Kim and Kristen (“call me KStew”)
Stewart. From flickering Super 8 and scratched 16mm to grainy VHS, HD video and
plasma monitors, the cutting edge never felt so queerly expanded.


Dir: Stephan Lacant, Scr: Stephan Lacant, Karsten Dahlem,
2013, Germany, subtitled, 100 min.

In his gripping and erotic feature debut, German director
Stephan Lacant chronicles the pleasures and pitfalls of a tumultuous love
affair between police officer Marc (Hanno Koffler, Summer Storm) and his
training partner, Kay. At first Marc brushes off his attraction to his
colleague as a fluke, but his feelings become evident the more time he spends
away from his pregnant girlfriend Bettina, inside motel rooms and in remote
corners of the forest with Kay. Free Fall, which had its world premiere at the
2013 Berlin International Film Festival, explores the excitement of forbidden
love as well as the consequences of secrecy and repression.


Dir: Gary Entin, Scr: Edmund Entin, 2012, USA, 83 min.

Russell (Cameron Deane Stewart, Pitch Perfect) is your
average closeted high school teen looking for love. Enter Kevin (Justin Deeley,
“90210”), the school’s hunkiest football jock. Things get complicated when both
Kevin and Russell do things they don’t want to in order to hide who they are.
Russell seeks advice from the Geography Club, actually a secret GSA filled with
a hilarious collection of misfits. As the closet grows harder to maintain,
Russell has to decide whether or not to come out – even if it means losing
Kevin. Smart, assured and stylish, with supporting performances by Ana Gasteyer
(“SNL”), Alex Newell (“Glee”), Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), the
debut feature from the Entin twins represents a big (and very hot) step forward
in the gay-teen comedy genre.


Dir/Scr: Cory Krueckeberg, 2013, USA, 91 min.

College boy Doc (Tanner Cohen, Were the World Mine) is
obsessed with a well-known NYC go-go boy (Matthew Camp). He befriends his hunky
crush with the intention of shooting a documentary about what it’s like to live
in his skin. But as they grow closer, flirtation blurs the line between subject
and filmmaker until a steamy night together solidifies deeper feelings. Cory
Krueckeberg’s explicit directorial debut explores the thrill and danger of
getting exactly what you wished for.

Q-RATING – Explicit Sexuality


Dir/Scr: Doug Spearman, 2013, USA, 110 min.

Handsome, reckless Pip gets drugged and robbed at an orgy.
Danny, his sexy but sensible ex-boyfriend, is an actor taking a private
investigator class—he’s up for a part on a cop show. There’s still a strong
sexual and emotional tension between them that builds as they investigate a
series of robberies and murders at the sex parties of rich and powerful gay
men. With the help of Jimmy, a seen-it-all PI, they play a dangerous game of
cat and mouse with a ruthless killer, finding plenty of laughs along the way.
In his debut feature, writer-director Doug Spearman, a 2009 Outfest
Screenwriting Lab fellow for the Hot Guys With Guns screenplay, deftly balances
action (both kinds) and witty comedy.


Dir: Travis Mathews, James Franco, Scr: Travis Mathews,
2012, USA, 60 min.

To avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of footage was cut from the
controversial 1980 gay slasher movie Cruising. In a provocative reimagining of
this censored material, directors Travis Mathews (I Want Your Love) and James
Franco create an explicit and steamy documentary film-within-a-film about gay
sex and masculinity. As the straight lead Val prepares to assume the Al Pacino
position, he is forced to confront his own sexual boundaries and discomforts,
which flare as he pushes deeper into this iconic gay interior. The film had its
world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Q-RATING – Explicit Sexuality


Dir: Malgoska Szumowska, Scr: Malgoska Szumowska, Michal Englert,
2013, Poland, subtitled, 102 min.

Father Adam is the talk of the small Polish town he’s
assigned to. Handsome, strong and unfazed by a violent group of local teens,
he’s idolized and occasionally hit on by local men and women alike. It’s only
when the brooding and beautiful Lukasz, an orphan and accused arsonist, falls
into his arms one hot summer day, that Father Adam feels the sudden pang of
repressed desire. Soon his feelings of lust give way to love, setting off
suspicion within the tight-knit, conservative community. Shot in glowing,
golden sunlight and set within the sprawling fields and forests of Poland,
Malgoska Szumowska’s sumptuous drama (2013 Teddy Award winner for Best Feature
Film) teems with sensuality and tension.


Dir: Christina Voros, Scr: Christina Voros, Ian Olds, 2012,
USA, 79 min.

KINK takes us into the painful but oh-so-pleasurable world
of five San Francisco–based BDSM workers as they choke, spank and scream their
way through just another day at the kink.com studios. Produced by James Franco
and directed with frank allure by Christina Voros, the film not only humanizes
the bondage and sadomasochism industry, it also uncovers a professional world
in ways the uninitiated would never expect. So strap in (or strap on!) and enjoy
this wild and surprisingly sweet dungeon-based feature, which had its world
premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

Q-RATING – Explicit Sexual Content


Dir: Antonio Hens, Scr: Abel González Melo, Antonio Hens,
2012, Cuba, subtitled, 94 min.

Reinier works as a callboy in order to support his wife and
child, but he ends up gambling most of his money away. Sex with men is strictly
business until he befriends a cute soccer player named Yosvani, who works for
his girlfriend’s father, a corrupt debt collector. When Reinier’s gambling
habit gets him in serious trouble, Yosvani tries to convince Reinier to run
away with him. Set in the bustling streets of Cuba, The Last Match offers a
visceral romance ripe with unexpected turns and dangerous temptations.


Dir/Scr: Mark Thiedeman, 2013, USA, 73 min.

For two small-town teenagers in love, this is that one last
summer they will spend together before going their separate ways. Baseball star
Luke knows that the intelligent Jonah will go off to college in the fall, and
over the course of the next few months these boyfriends will lose themselves in
nature, bicycle rides and each other while they still can. With echoes of
Terrence Malick, writer-director Mark Thiedeman offers up a debut feature that
balances haunting beauty with adolescent passion.


Dir: Gilitte Leung, Scr: Gilitte Leung, Hedy Yau, 2012,
China, subtitled, 92 min.

Aggie might be in love with her roommate Dennis. They’ve
been friends since primary school and have lived in the same Hong Kong flat for
years. But here’s the rub: Aggie’s a lesbian and Dennis is gay. The two have
never been interested in the opposite sex. But love is complicated in Gilitte
Leung’s dazzling Chinese romance, especially when Dennis gets wind of how Aggie
feels. Suddenly, a loving relationship doesn’t look so bad, even if Dennis’
friends think he’s losing his mind.


Dir: Jeff Roy; 2012, USA, 74 min.

Maya, a successful transgender Muslim woman, has not yet
undergone the sexual reassignment surgery that her family has told her they
will not accept. When she decides to journey to Thailand to take the final
step, Maya will have to deal with both the physical effects of the surgery and
her conflict over her own devout beliefs on her path to achieving the freedom
to be who she truly is. Director Jeff Roy’s accomplished debut documentary
follows Maya on her inspiring, uplifting and surprisingly funny journey.


Dir/Scr: Drew Denny, 2012, USA, 95 min.

Free-spirited young lesbian Andy (writer-director Drew
Denny) and her reserved childhood friend Liv (Sarah Hagan, “Freaks and Geeks”)
are traveling across the Southwest to disperse Andy’s father’s ashes. Starting
out building campfires, drinking, snuggling and reminiscing about the good old
days, tensions arise as the trip progresses, forcing them to examine the core
of their relationship. Are they friends or something more? Denny’s
autobiographical comedy about connection, the open road and, yes, how to have
fun with your pants on, is a joyride of sweet twists and turns.


Dir: Michael Mayer, Scr: Michael Mayer, Yael Shafrir, 2012,
Israel/Palestine/USA, subtitled, 96 min

Nimr (Nicholas Jacob), a handsome Palestinian psychology
student, is in the closet at home. But while in Tel Aviv taking a class he
meets Roy (Michael Aloni), a dashing Israeli attorney, and quickly falls in
love. But Israeli security strips Nimr of his visa, trying to blackmail him
into becoming an informant, and when his brother finds out he’s gay, Nimr is
thrown out of his family home. Nimr and Roy are left to fight desperately
against ruthless enemies for the chance to be together.


Dir: Yen Tan; Scr: Yen Tan, David Lowery, 2013, USA, 80 min.

The modest lives of two rugged Texans intertwine in Yen
Tan’s refreshingly grounded, quietly sexy Pit Stop. A 2009 Outfest
Screenwriting Lab project that blossomed into a 2013 Sundance darling, Tan’s
yarn moves through a blue-collar town and observes how a handsome contractor
named Gabe (Bill Heck), spends time with his ex-wife Shannon (Amy Seimetz,
Upstream Color) and their daughter. Across town, Ernesto (Marcus DeAnda)
ignores his flagging relationship with a much younger man and sits vigil at the
bedside of an ailing ex. When Ernesto and Gabe meet unexpectedly one day at a
local gas station, a connection forms that has the potential to alter both of
their lives for good. In his touching follow-up to CIAO, writer-director Yen
Tan provides an evocative glimpse into the everyday lives of two Southern men
seeking love and affection over aching solitude. As far from the beaten path as
its protagonists, this dreamy feature is a different kind of love story with
depth, clarity and no shortage of sexual tension. Heck and DeAnda were both
awarded Grand Jury Award for Best Actor at 2013 Outfest Los Angeles.


Dir: Scott Gracheff , 2013, USA, 90 min.

On this 12th anniversary of 9/11, we present Scott
Gracheff’s documentary, which pays tribute to one of the gay heroes of that day
– Mark Bingham. We know the story of Bingham’s heroism on flight United 93, and
we know about the international Bingham Cup rugby tournament that honors him,
but this film introduces us to the man behind the legend. Featuring extensive
interviews with Bingham’s mother, friends, family and classmates, the film
gives us a richer view of Bingham, from his teen metal-head period to his rambunctious
college years through coming out and embracing the world with enthusiasm before
his tragic demise.


Dir/Scr: Chris Mason Johnson, 2013, USA, 90 min.

This sexy, funny, poignant new film from Chris Mason Johnson
(The New Twenty) won two 2013 Outfest Los Angeles Grand Jury Prizes for its
portrayal of a Frankie (Scott Marlowe), a sexy young dancer in 1985 San
Francisco, enjoying big city life and the erotic freedom that comes with it.
But when he’s not onstage performing (in a series of stunning dance sequences)
or bringing new friends up to his apartment, Frankie debates whether or not he
should take the brand-new HIV test. Mixing unforgettable characters, sharp
writing and dazzling choreography, this exuberant period piece calls to mind
Parting Glances and other classics of queer cinema.


Dir: Marta Cunningham, 2013, USA, 83 min.

When an eighth grade boy is shot twice at point-blank range
by his Valentine crush, many, including the jurors, are quick to blame the
victim rather than the aggressor. With a remarkable degree of clarity, Marta
Cunningham’s riveting documentary investigates the roots of LGBT discrimination
and bullying as well as the inherent legal flaws that keep true justice from
being served.


Dir: Anna Margarita Albelo, Scr: Anna Margarita Albelo,
Michael Urban, 2013, USA, 83 min.

In this eccentric all-female comedy, charismatic filmmaker
Anna faces a midlife crisis. She’s just turned 40, has neither job nor
girlfriend, and lives in her friend’s garage. For the past few years, she’s had
no goals and no idea how to get what she wants. Just when she’s about to throw
in the towel, she meets the enchanting Katia (Janina Gavankar, “The L Word,”
“True Blood”) who becomes her muse and sets her on a path of self-discovery,
creativity and redemption. Vagina Wolf also stars Guinevere Turner (GO FISH) and
Carrie Preston (“True Blood,” “The Good Wife”). Turner won Grand Jury Award for
Best Actress at 2013 Outfest Los Angeles.


Dir/Scr: Yann Gonzalez, 2013, France, 91 min.

A mysterious young couple and their horny transvestite maid
throw an orgy and invite four strange participants: “Slut”, “Stud”, “Teen” and
“Star”. As the pansexual soirée progresses, the guests’ private lives (and
private parts) emerge via bawdy flashbacks and naughty John Hughes-ian monologues.
If you’ve been yearning for a dark and outrageous French sex romp since
Francois Ozon went respectable, or love Almodovar, Cocteau, and Araki, director
Yann Gonzalez’s edgy, sensuous and surprisingly poetic Cannes debut will
fulfill your every desire. Featuring an alluring score by M83 and starring
Niels Schneider (Xavier Dolan’s Heartbeats), Alain Fabien Delon (son of the
legendary actor), and Beatrice Dalle as “The Commissioner”, this is
one party you won’t want to miss!

Q-RATING – Explicit Sexuality


NewFest also features three LGBT shorts programs – two at
Film Society and one at JCC – along with a showcase of queer experimental film
and video:


NewFest shorts programs provide a humorous, incisive and
downright sexy look into stories of queer identity, love and misadventures from
all across the globe.


NewFest shorts programs provide a humorous, incisive and
downright sexy look into stories of queer identity, love and misadventures from
all across the globe.


NewFest shorts programs provide a humorous, incisive and
downright sexy look into stories of queer Jewish identity, love and
misadventures from all across the globe.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Festivals and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox