23rd Annual NewFest Opens at Walter Reade Theater with ‘We Were Here’, Closes With ‘Gun Hill Road’

Posted by on 6.8.2011

Monday, June 6th -- New York, NY -- NewFest (www.NewFest.org), the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender film festival will soon roll out the rainbow carpet for its 23rd season, from Thursday, July 21st through Thursday, July 28th.   Marking the beginning of a new relationship between two pioneering film organizations, NewFest is partnering with the Film Society of Lincoln Center to co-present opening and closing night of the festival.  

NewFest will open July 21st at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reader Theater with David Weissman’s gripping documentary WE WERE HERE, a deep and reflective look back at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco.

 Rashaad Ernesto Green’s Bronx-set GUN HILL ROAD, a complex family drama centering on a transgendered teenager, will close the festival July 28th, also at the Walter Reade Theater.

Lesli Klainberg, the Executive Director of NewFest, said, “Our new relationship with the Film Society of Lincoln Center will not only help raise the profile of LGBT filmmakers, but it also gives our sponsors a platform on the stage of one of the world's foremost film organizations and provides our audience with a film-going experience that is second to none.”

“The Film Society of Lincoln Center is committed to supporting diverse film communities, and we look forward to joining forces with NewFest and helping to promote this wonderful film festival,” said Rose Kuo, the Executive Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

In addition to the move to Lincoln Center, NewFest is also expanding to venues across the city with select festival programming at the School of Visual Arts Theater in Chelsea and Cinema Village in Greenwich Village, plus special screenings at a variety of other respected New York cultural institutions including The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side, and Harlem Center Stage.

Also confirmed for the upcoming festival are centerpiece screenings of Andrew Haigh’s WEEKEND, a delicate, revelatory drama that won the SXSW Emerging Visions Audience Awards, and Beverly Kopf’s touching coming-out documentary about country singer Chely Wright.  

NewFest Director of Programming Bryce J. Renninger added, “As our stellar lineup of gala screenings show, we are committed to bringing a diverse program of quality films from up-and-coming talents to New York audiences all across the city.”

The full program -- including more than 50 feature-length films and 50 short films -- will be announced later this month.  For the complete schedule and ticketing information, please visit www.newfest.org.


NewFest sponsors for the upcoming festival include HBO, 42BELOW and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly.


OPENING, CLOSING NIGHT & GALA SCREENINGS

Opening Night – Thursday, July 21st 8:00pm at the Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center

WE WERE HERE directed by David Weissman

1970s. San Francisco.  A promised land for those who had enough of the closet and were looking for a real community that would support them, not disown them. David Weissman's incredibly moving portrait of a moment in time, "We Were Here," follows the story of five members of that loving and affectionate community as they recount their days enduring one of their lives' biggest challenges -- the AIDS crisis. With stories of love, loss, and brother- and sister-hood, "We Were Here", a 2011 Sundance selection, showcases one city's citizens coming together to fight for the lives and humanity of everyone they can.

 

DOCUMENTARY CENTERPIECE – Friday, July 22nd at the SVA Theater

WISH ME AWAY directed by Beverly Kopf, w/ special appearance by Chely Wright

On May 5, 2010, Howard Bragman, the publicist famous for bringing dozens of stars out of the closet and onto the front pages of newspapers and magazines, said that the world would be shocked by one celebrity's confession that they were gay. When that day came around, country star Chely Wright (singer of the #1 hit "Single White Female") got up early to go on the Today Show and told the world she is a lesbian. With unflinching sincerity, Wright proves she is not pulling off a publicity stunt, and we see the weight of the closet float off her shoulder.  Battling the overt homophobia of pockets of the country music world, Wright proves resilient as she stands strong and mounts a comeback.

 

CENTERPIECE SCREENING – Sunday, July 24th, 8pm at the SVA Theater

WEEKEND directed by Andrew Haigh

Director Andrew Haigh (Greek Pete) returns with a beautiful and uninhibited story of a one-night stand with long-lasting ramifications. Russell is an introverted twentysomething who longs for a boyfriend but spends his nights hanging out with his straight friends. Glen, on the other hand, is a sexually liberated, outspoken artist strongly opposed to fitting in with “straight culture”. The two surprisingly hit it off at a bar, and spend the weekend getting to know each other, both emotionally and physically. As the end of the weekend draws near though, the boys are forced to make a difficult decision.

 

CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING AND AWARDS CEREMONY– Thursday, July 28th, 8pm at the Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center

GUN HILL ROAD directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green

Pairing a talented cast with a nuanced script, this Sundance hit is a groundbreaking look at family, gender, and machismo in Latino culture. After a three-year stint in prison, Enrique Rodriguez ("NYPD Blue" star Esai Morales) returns to his family in the Bronx only to discover their lives have changed dramatically. Wife Angela (a dramatic turn for "Scrubs" star Judy Reyes) now seems distant, and their teenage son Michael (captivating newcomer Harmony Santana) is making a new life for himself as Vanessa.  While Vanessa is exploring her two new passions, poetry and a new boyfriend, Enrique becomes hell-bent on turning his child into a tough Nuyorican man just like himself. 

About NewFest

NewFest is dedicated to bringing together filmmakers and audiences in the building of a community that passionately supports giving greater visibility and voice to a wide range of expressions and representations of the LGBT experience. We are committed to nurturing emerging LGBT and allied filmmakers. We support those artists who are willing to take risks in telling the stories that fully reflect the diversity and complexity of our lives. And we’re committed to bringing our audience stories that transform our vision of who we are and who we can be. Through the New York LGBT film festival, presented annually since 1988, and year-round programming, NewFest celebrates fine domestic and international film and video across a host of media channels as part of our mission to break through closet doors and glass ceilings everywhere.

About the Film Society of Lincoln Center
Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, currently planning its 49th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award” —to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. The Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational programs and specialty film releases at its Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from 42BELOW, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts, WNET New York Public Media, Royal Bank of Canada and the New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit: www.FilmLinc.com

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