Beginning this Friday July 27 and running through the end of the month, NewFest: The New York LGBT Film Festival returns for its 24th edition. It’s a bit of a different year for the event which I ran from 1996-2008 – a significantly leaner affair, with fewer days and significantly fewer films than usual, but, notably, the first in partnership with the just wrapped Outfest in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, the two orgs announced a strategic partnership that promises to revitalize the East Coast LGBT fest – expect bigger changes for next year’s big 25th anniversary.
This year’s event is more of a curated showcase, presenting just 19 feature length films and two programs of shorts, and providing continuity between NewFest-past and NewFest-future. Last year, the fest left its traditional early June berth for the end of July, and picked up the Film Society of Lincoln Center as a venue for its gala screenings. This year, the relationship with the Film Society expands, with the venerable spot hosting all but one of the screenings.
With a more limited line-up, there’s only room for five doc features. These include Sundance alums ABOUT FACE: SUPERMODELS THEN AND NOW (pictured), Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ interviews about beauty and aging; and special jury winner LOVE FREE OR DIE, Macky Alston’s portrait of gay bishop Gene Robinson.
The remaining docs include Kieran Turner’s JOBRIATH AD, about the influential gay glam rock performer who never managed to achieve stardom; Michiel van Erp’s I AM A WOMAN NOW (pictured), a smart portrait of five older transwomen, and the winner of an award at Outfest; and Andrea Esteban’s BORN NAKED (MLB), a multi-city profile of young lesbian and trans artists and organizers in Europe.