7 Films We're Really Excited To See At NewFest, New York's LGBT Film Festival

This year's lineup was just announced. Here is what we are looking forward to.
September 14, 2016
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Now in its 28th year, NewFest presents New York's LGBT Film Festival from October 20 to 25 with six full days of premieres, parties and panels that include narratives, shorts, and documentaries from the U.S. and around the world that shine a light on LGBT stories.

Today, they announced this year's lineup.

Here are seven films we are really excited to see. 

THE PASS (OPENING NIGHT GALA)

North American Premiere.

Dir: Ben A. Williams, UK, 2016, 88 mins

It’s the night before a make-or-break Championship soccer match, the pressure is high, and two rising star teammates Jason (Russell Tovey) and Ade (Arinze Kene) have an encounter in their hotel room that causes irrevocable consequences. Based on the lauded play by John Donnelly, who also adapted the screenplay, debut director Ben A. Williams's taut, engrossing drama is split into three acts over the course a decade; tension and vulnerabilities intensify with each conversation, as secrets are buried deeper and lies become heavier. Themes of fame and sexuality take center field, leading to a devastating finale where the cost of denying one’s happiness is measured against protecting one’s public image. Russell Tovey (HBO’s “Looking”) originated the role of closeted athlete Jason on stage and he delivers a career-defining, powerhouse performance with top-tier assistance from co-star Arinze Kene.
 

LOVESONG (CLOSING NIGHT GALA)

New York City Premiere.

Dir: So Yong Kim, 2016, USA, 84 mins

With her fourth feature film, acclaimed director So Yong Kim (TREELESS MOUNTAIN, IN BETWEEN DAYS) delivers a tender testament to the deep, emotional bond between Mindy (Jena Malone) and Sarah (Riley Keough) as they confront their long-unspoken intimacy. Digging far beneath the surface of female friendship while avoiding clichés, this nuanced drama exposes the complexity inherent in companionship. As her relationship with her husband deteriorates, Sarah calls her college friend Mindy for an impromptu road trip. Their connection intensifies along the back roads of Upstate New York, but the two lose touch until Sarah makes another trip, several years later, for Mindy’s wedding. Grounded by powerfully naturalistic performances from Malone and Keough, LOVESONG plays on the nearly spiritual dialogue between Mindy and Sarah that keeps the love story front and center, while balancing the blurred line between friendship and desire.
 

SCRUM

New York Premiere.

Dir: Poppy Stockwell, Australia, 2015, 54 mins

A documentary practically awash in sweat, flesh, and testosterone, SCRUM tells the stories of three members of the Sydney Convicts, a predominantly gay rugby team, as they prepare to compete in the prestigious Bingham Cup. The trio consists of Brennan Bastyovanszky, the cocksure Canadian; Aki Muzutani, a Japanese powerhouse; and sweet-natured Irishman Pearse Egan, who was brutally bullied in school. Stockell's erotically charged images are skillfully linked with the inspiring journeys of her subjects. The Oct. 22 screening will be followed by a panel presented in partnership with Athlete Ally.
 

THE TRANS LIST

East Coast Premiere.

Dir: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, USA, 2016, 58 mins

The festival's Special Centerpiece Presentation includes The HBO Documentary Film THE TRANS LIST, directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and featuring interviews by trans author and advocate Janet Mock, and explores the experiences of Americans who identify as transgender. This film allows a diverse group of individuals to tell their stories in their own words, addressing identity, family, career, love, struggle and accomplishment. 
 
 

FORBIDDEN: QUEER AND UNDOCUMENTED IN RURAL AMERICA

New York Premiere.

Dir: Tiffany Rhynard, USA, 2016, 83 mins, in English and Spanish with English subtitles

Growing up in North Carolina as an undocumented gay man, Mexican-born Moises Serrano shares his story and advocates for justice and equality in this timely, inspiring documentary. When Moises Serrano was a baby, his parents risked everything to flee Mexico in search of the American Dream. The 24-year-old Serrano spent 22 years in the rural South, and yet is still forbidden to live and love in the country he calls home. Serrano sees only one option—to fight for justice and equality while activating a national movement. Driven by a deep love for his family, who have come to accept being treated as invisible, the impassioned, eloquent Serrano is proof of how one person can change the world.
 

HOLLER IF YOU HEAR ME: GAY AND BLACK IN THE CHURCH

Dir: Clay Cane, USA, 2015, 60 mins

A nominee for this year's GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism, this emotionally-charged documentary from director Clay Cane and BET.com dives into one of the most taboo topics in the black community— how to reconcile your faith and your orientation when the Black Church continues to condemn the queer community through literal interpretations of the Bible. Cane goes to the heart of Atlanta, Georgia to capture the groundbreaking stories of devout and out individuals who are confronted with homophobia within the sacred places they search for peace, love, and forgiveness. An extended post-screening panel discussion will follow.
 

PARIS 5.59: THEO & HUGO (THÉO & HUGO DANS LE MÊME BATEAU)

New York Premiere.

Dir: Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau, France, 2016, 97 mins, in French with English subtitles

SHORTBUS meets WEEKEND in this year's Audience Award winner at the Teddys, an erotic, dazzling, real-time drama from the directors of CÔTE D'AZUR. The titular characters meet at an underground Parisian sex club and have a passionate first encounter which is captured in a hypnotic and almost surreal 18-minute opening scene. Afterwards, the two spend the rest of the early morning hours wandering the streets of Paris and getting to know each other in ways that are both lyrical (bicycling through empty streets) and dramatic (waiting for HIV test results at a hospital) in this touching story of lust and love.

For more information, visit newfest.org.

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