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Our mission is to give voice and visibility to the wide scope of LGBTQ+ experiences through films and programs that entertain, educate & empower

We believe that visibility matters, and that queer film can change the world.


33 years ago, a NYC-based queer film movement was born.

Founded in 1988 in direct response to the AIDS crisis, The New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival has been a tentpole of NYC’s queer cultural scene. In the subsequent years, NewFest has expanded into a film and media organization with year-long programs to serve all facets of the LGBTQ+ community.

Through the years, we have


  • Presented the world theatrical premiere of PARIS IS BURNING

  • Presented New York premieres of
    HEDWIG & THE ANGRY INCH, HIGH ART, BOY ERASED, GOD’S OWN COUNTRY, CELLULOID CLOSET, AND THEN WE DANCED, RAFIKI, THE WATERMELON WOMAN, TREVOR, COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT

  • Presented Advanced Screenings of
    CAROL, MOONLIGHT, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, LOVE, SIMON, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, ROCKETMAN, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, WEEKEND

Filmmakers who have screened at NewFest include

Todd Haynes
Lisa Cholodenko
Cheryl Dunye
Greg Berlanti
Rhys Ernst
John Cameron Mitchell
Luca Gudagnino
David France
Barry Jenkins
Sidra Smith

Board of Directors

Bill Berman
Co-Chair
Ogilvy
Sandy Markman
Co-Chair
The Estee Lauder Companies
Josh Schiowitz
Treasurer
Schiowitz Artists Management
Adam Natale
Secretary
SVA Theatre
Mike Balaban
Balaban Accosicates
Ann Brown
Bumble and Bumble
Thomas Dima
UWG
Michael Dinwiddie
NYU's Gallatin School
Lisa Alexis Jones
Attorney
Afua Kafi-Akua
International Center of Photography
Mathew Lasky
Spotify
Ronald Lense
Douglas Elliman
Aviva Michelman-Dumas
Attorney
Bunge Okeyo
Consultant
Isabel Sandoval
Filmmaker
Jane Sasseen
McGraw Center for Business Journalism
Ron Simons
SimonSays Entertainment
Ramon Torres
WarnerMedia
Andrew Uriarte
NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts
Ellery Washington
Author and Professor

NewFest Staff

David Hatkoff

Executive Director

David joined NewFest as Executive Director in August 2019. He has spent his career amplifying and elevating the mission and programming efforts of non-profit arts organizations, serving for 11 years in a senior leadership role at NYC’s Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre. He was an integral part of Signature’s transition to its permanent home, the 75,000 square foot, Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center, and the growth of the company, which more than tripled its budget, staff and programming during his time with the organization. David studied in the MA program at New York University’s Gallatin School, with a focus in LGTBQ Studies. He has a deep passion for queer culture and a strong desire to create spaces for queer storytelling.

Nick McCarthy

Director of Programming & Operations

Having been with NewFest since 2016, Nick curates and manages the annual New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival in addition to NewFest’s year-round programming. Nick previously served as the Film Curator at The Tank and worked in academic publishing & international media, serving as a Production Coordinator of the MENA-region talk show NIDA’A. Nick received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and Visual Arts / Media Studies from Emerson College. Nick has written about film & media for publications including Slant Magazine, Time Out New York, NBC News, and the Boston Phoenix, and has served on multiple domestic and international film festival juries, including GAZE in Dublin, Columbia University’s CUFF in New York City, and Inside Out in Toronto.

Arieta Palevic

Marketing and Communications Associate

Arieta joined NewFest as a Marketing and Communications Associate in the spring of 2022 for both the annual New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival and year-round NewFest programming. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with minors in Film, Photography, and English from St. John’s University. She’s currently pursuing an MA in Information Experience Design from Pratt Institute. 

Kayo Gorden

Events and Operations Coordinator

Kayo joined the 2020 NewFest festival team as the Exhibition / Filmmaker Relations Assistant before becoming the Events and Operations Coordinator in Spring 2021. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College.

Get in touch

Press Inquiries: contactus@newfest.org
General Inquiries: contactus@newfest.org
Ticketing & Member Benefits: boxoffice@newfest.org