NewFest: The NY LGBT Film Festival turns 25 this year, celebrating beginning this Friday, September 6 and running through Wednesday, June 11. After a dozen years at its helm, I left the festival after its 20th anniversary in 2008. Since then, the event has gone through many changes, most recently beginning a welcome partnership with LA’s Outfest, and relocating to the fantastic Film Society of Lincoln Center. While NewFest has scaled back considerably over the past five years, screening only 19 features and just over 30 shorts this year, these new relationships promise a resurgence and renewed focus in future editions.
Four documentary features and one hybrid make up the nonfiction component of this year’s festival. Notably, three of these are very well-regarded Sundance alumni: Christina Voros’ KINK, an inside look at a BDSM porn company; Marta Cunningham’s VALENTINE ROAD, a heartbreaking exploration of a homophobically motivated school shooting; and Travis Mathews and James Franco’s INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR., a speculative recreation of lost scenes from CRUISING. Also screening are Scott Gracheff’s THE RUGBY PLAYER (pictured), on gay 9/11 hero Mark Bingham; and Jeff Roy’s MOHAMMED TO MAYA, following a brash woman through her MTF surgery.