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Your Guide to NewFest35

Running from Thursday, October 12th until Tuesday, October 24th, today marks the beginning of NewFest’s thirty-fifth annual New York City LGBTQ+ Film Festival – the city’s largest presentation of LGBTQ+ film and media. Having previously screened names such as Billy Porter and Emma Seligman, the festival is known for featuring an impressive roster of both established and emerging voices. With a mission to “give voice and visibility to the wide scope of LGBTQ+ experiences through films and programs that entertain, educate & empower” and a lineup of highly accomplished local and global filmmakers, this year’s milestone anniversary promises to make an impact.


How To Attend

The festival will be maintaining its hybrid format this year, and audiences are invited to attend either in person or via NewFest’s on-demand virtual platform. Festival passes and tickets to individual showings are still available, and (since, at the moment, there is a 48-hour flash sale) tickets to many screenings are currently available at a discounted price. For those hoping to attend in person, viewers can expect screenings to take place at either the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the School of Visual Arts (SVA), the LGBT Center, and Nitehawk Cinema in Prospect Park.

The Highlights

RUSTIN (Opening Night Film & Party)

The festival will open with a biopic about the life of activist Bayard Rustin – organizer of the momentous 1963 March on Washington. The film boasts a remarkably accomplished team as it stars Emmy Award winner Colman Domingo, is produced by Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen, and is directed by Emmy Award winner George C. Wolfe. This film will only be available in person, and following the screening, attendees are invited to attend an afterparty at Slate.

The festival’s documentary centerpiece follows up on the stories of four masc BIPOC individuals – Chin, Octavio, Trevon, and Kisha. The film picks up roughly twenty-five years after they were first featured in THE AGGRESSIVES (2005), a groundbreaking documentary that was featured in NewFest17 and which will be included once again in this year’s lineup. The film will be followed by a Q+A.

This year’s international centerpiece is a Cannes Award-winning narrative from auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda. Shifting between the perspectives of mother, teacher, and child, the film tells the story of Saori’s efforts to unravel the truth behind her young son Minato’s mysterious behavior.

NYAD (U.S. Centerpiece)


The festival’s U.S. Centerpiece hails from Academy Award-winning documentary filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin as they make their narrative directorial debut. Starring Annette Bening and Jodie Foster, the film tells the true story of world-class marathon swimmer and sports journalist Diana Nyad as she reunites with her former coach in order to complete the “Mount-Everest” of swims three decades after retiring from her athletic career.

QUEEN OF NEW YORK (New York Centerpiece)

The New York Centerpiece tells the story of nonbinary drag artist Marti Cummings and their historic bid to become a New York City Councilperson. Set against the backdrop of New York City’s gradual recovery from 2020, the film features narration by Billy Porter and appearances by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilana Glazer, and nearly 20 NYC-based drag artists as it chronicles Marti Cummings’ passion to drive progress.

ALL OF US STRANGERS (Closing Night Film & Party)

The festival will close with starring performances by Emmy Award nominee Andrew Scott, Academy Award nominee Paul Mescal, BAFTA Award winner Jamie Bell, and Emmy Award winner Claire Foy. In an emotional narrative piece, solitary writer Adam encounters his mysterious neighbor, Harry. The relationship that forms between them brings old memories to the surface and prompts him to return to his suburban childhood home, where he happens to come across his parents – who appear to be going about their lives exactly as they did before they died thirty years ago.


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