Stacie Passon's Concussion, which will open the 25th NewFest.
NewFest returns to Film Society of Lincoln Center next month, in partnership with Outfest Los Angeles, and organizers have revealed details of the upcoming event, which spotlights LGBT film.
Fifteen narratives, four documentaries, and 31 shorts are on tap for the festival, with the New York premiere of Stacie Passon's debut feature Concussion kicking off the 25th edition on September 6. Closing out the silver anniversary of the festival will be Chris Mason Johnson's Test. For the third year, the event will take place in partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, with screenings and panels being held at the Walter Reade Theater and the JCC in Manhattan.
L.A.-based LGBT media arts organization Outfest programmed and will help run this year's six-day event. Outfest and NewFest will form an official national organization next year.
A premiere at Sundance earlier this year, Concussion explores a suburban lesbian's erotic reawakening from happy housewife to high-class call girl. The NewFest closer, meanwhile, is set in San Francisco in the '80s and centers on young Frankie (real-life dancer Scott Marlowe), who navigates his role in a modern dance company and his evolving relationship with fellow dancer Todd (Matthew Risch). Other highlights include Interior. Leather Bar., directed by Travis Mathews and James Franco. Franco is also a producer of fellow NewFest title Kink, a doc directed by Christina Voros about five San Francisco-based BDSM workers who are employed at the kink.com studios.
Travis Mathews and James Franco's Interior. Leather Bar.
"The Film Society is delighted to welcome back NewFest and to continue our collaboration with Outfest," said Dennis Lim, Film Society of Lincoln Center's Director of Cinematheque Programming. "LGBT cinema has come a long way since this storied festival's first edition, but as this year's program suggests, it is no less vital today, and perhaps more diverse than ever."
Added Steve Mendelsohn, Co-Chair of NewFest’s Board of Directors: "There's a lot to celebrate this year. It's our 25th anniversary, and the recent Supreme Court victory over DOMA has everybody excited. The world has changed since 1987 and we are proud that NewFest has played a role in bringing so many important stories to audiences for a quarter of a century."
The 25th NewFest takes place September 6 - 11.
Yann Gonzalez's You and the Night
In The Name Of...
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.
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.
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.
Love Me Not
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.
NewFest shorts programs provide a humorous, incisive and downright sexy look into stories of queer identity, love and misadventures from all across the globe.
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.
Interior. Leather Bar.
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
The Last Match
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.
NewFest shorts programs provide a humorous, incisive and downright sexy look into stories of queer identity, love and misadventures from all across the globe.
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.
The Most Fun I've Ever Had With My Pants On
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.
You and the Night (Les Recontres D’Apre's Minuit)
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
Getting Go: The Go Doc Project
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
Out in the Dark
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.
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.
Mohammed to Maya
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.
Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf?
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.
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
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.
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.
Hot Guys With Guns
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.
The Rugby Player
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.
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.
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.