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We announced today that NewFest will host a special virtual live-read event fundraiser of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN to celebrate the film’s 15th anniversary, featuring an all-star trans cast. Included in the cast are Leo Sheng (The L Word) as Ennis, Brian Michael Smith (911: Lone Star) as Jack, Jen Richards (Tales of the City) as Alma, Alexandra Grey (Empire) as Lurleen, and Sam Feder (Director of DISCLOSURE) as the narrator.

The virtual live-read event for Ang Lee’s BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN will be a part of The New York LGBTQ Film Festival on Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 6:00pm EST / 3:00pm PST. Additional cast for the event will include Mal Blum, Mars Dixon, Theo Germaine, Jordan Gonzalez, Drew Gregory, Vico Ortiz, and Jes Tom. The film, which originally featured Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead roles, tells the story of two young men – a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy – who meet in the summer of 1963, and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys, and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love.

Event proceeds will be split between The NewFest Future Fund, to benefit NewFest and its programs for LGBTQ+ youth, filmmaker resources, and year-round screening programs, as well as the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), currently celebrating its 40th anniversary. AVP empowers LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. The live event will be available to stream for free with a suggested donation, and will be available to watch on NewFest’s Facebook and YouTube channels. To register for the event please visit newfest.org/brokeback.

The event is produced in collaboration with #MakeItGay live reads, founded by Gaby Dunn during quarantine to reimagine typically white, straight, cis and male films into ones with diverse casts of various queer people. The organization has produced an all-black cast, all-queer THE BREAKFAST CLUB, a bisexual female-led OCEANS 11, and a reading of CLUE, even gayer than the original.

“Taking NewFest virtual this year has had unexpected silver linings, including allowing audiences throughout the US to participate,” said NewFest Executive Director David Hatkoff and Director of Programming Nick McCarthy. “We wanted to supplement our 120+ LGBTQ films in the Festival with special events, and this opportunity to queer a queer classic like BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN by featuring an all trans cast felt like an ideal, and completely on-mission, addition to the line-up. We’re thrilled to partner with Gaby and Karl and this absolutely incredible group of trans talent to reveal a different side of this beloved work.”

“For NewFest, we’ve chosen to look back for the 15 year anniversary of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, a very white, cis, and very masculine film, and re-do it with an all-trans cast,” said Dunn and her producing partner Karl Saint Lucy. “Every single one of these actors, such as our stars Brian Michael Smith, Leo Sheng, Alexandra Grey and Jen Richards, is immensely talented and they deserve to be the leads in many future Oscar baits to come.”

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