2018 Film Guide

Get tickets now for the 30th Annual New York LGBT Film Festival (October 24-30)

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Opening Night Film & Party

1985 (Opening Night Film & Party)

Wednesday October 24 @ 7:00 pm
SVA Theatre – 1, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, 10011 United States

New York City Premiere
Dir. Yen Tan, USA, 2018, 85 mins
Set during the early AIDS crisis, Adrian (Cory Michael Smith, GOTHAM, CAROL) returns to his Texas hometown for Christmas, keeping quiet about his sexuality and HIV status. Award-winning writer-director and NewFest alum Yen Tan (PIT STOP, CIAO) delivers a poignant period piece about a gay man tying up loose ends — whether it’s with his conservative parents (Academy Award nominee Virginia Madsen and Emmy Award winner Michael Chiklis), a high school ex-girlfriend (Jamie Chung), or his younger brother (Aidan Langford, BOSCH), who shows an interest in Madonna and may be following Adrian’s footsteps.
Q&A with filmmaker and select cast to follow
Ticket includes film and entrance to the Opening Night Party with special guest DJ Sammy Jo [Scissor Sisters]

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U.S. Centerpiece

Boy Erased (U.S. Centerpiece)

Thursday October 25 @ 8:00 pm
SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011 United States

Dir. Joel Edgerton, USA, 2018, 114 mins
Set in the uber-conservative suburbs of Arkansas, this grippingly vital drama stars Academy Award-nominee Lucas Hedges (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, LADYBIRD) as a young gay man sent to Refuge, a church-run conversion therapy program that aims to “cure” homosexuality, upon the insistence of his Baptist preacher father (Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe) and religious yet conflicted mother (Academy Award-winner Nicole Kidman). Based on the memoir by Garrard Conley and adapted for the screen by director and featured actor Joel Edgerton, this urgent drama stirs a challenging yet compassionate portrait of a family—and perhaps country—at odds with its differing ideas of empathy and identity. In addition to powerhouse performances by Hedges, Kidman, and Crowe, the ensemble includes stellar supporting turns from multitalented queer artists Troye Sivan, Xavier Dolan, and Cherry Jones. BOY ERASED is at once an evocative coming of age story about finding your voice, and a compelling tale of personal survival and family reconciliation in the face of ignorance.
Extended introduction with writer/director/star Joel Edgerton

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International Centerpiece

Rafiki (International Centerpiece)

Friday October 26 @ 6:30 pm
SVA Theatre – 1, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, 10011 United States

New York Premiere
Dir. Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya/South Africa/Germany/Netherlands/France/Norway/Lebanon, 2018, 83 mins
Fresh from its triumphant Cannes premiere, RAFIKI is a must-see film that delivers a beautifully acted, nuanced portrayal of being queer in Nairobi. This vibrant romance follows the burgeoning relationship between Ziki (Sheila Munyiva), the playful Beyonce-wannabe who lives in the city’s affluent Skyview Towers, and Kena (Samantha Mugatsia), the shy, responsible tomboy who hangs out on the overcrowded Slopes estate with the local Boda Boda (motorcycle taxi) boys. The film’s delicious pink-hued color palette is part of the African film aesthetic known as the afrobubblegum movement, and sets the joyous tone for this rare look at first love between two women in Kenya. Banned in its home country of Kenya for its positive depiction of two young women in love, RAFIKI is a global call to action that proves a work of art does not have to be explicit in order to stir resist in the face of oppression.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Centerpiece

Dykes, Camera, Action! (Documentary Centerpiece)

Saturday October 27 @ 6:00 pm
SVA Theatre – 1, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, 10011 United States

New York City Premiere
Dir. Caroline Berler, USA, 2018, 60 mins
One of the most glaring omissions in the film canon has been the work of queer women. Thankfully this once-hidden population picked up the camera and transformed the visibility of lesbians in cinema through classics such as GO FISH (1994), THE WATERMELON WOMAN (1996), HIGH ART (1998), all of which premiered in New York at NewFest. Pioneering filmmakers Barbara Hammer, Su Friedrich, Rose Troche, Yoruba Richen, Desiree Akhavan, Vicky Du, Cheryl Dunye, critic B. Ruby Rich, Jenni Olson, and others discuss with humor and depth how they’ve expressed their queer identity through film, while also revealing personal stories from their own experiences of looking for themselves on screen. First-time director Caroline Berler expertly balances films clips with candid interviews, making DYKES, CAMERA, ACTION! a joyous response to the days of the celluloid closet, culminating in a groundbreaking celebration of empowerment and visibility for the ages.

This screening will be followed by a conversation on female representation in the film industry and lesbian visibility in cinema with featured cast, moderated by Terry Lawler (Executive Director, New York Women in Film & Television).

Presented in Partnership with New York Women in Film & Television

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New York Centerpiece

Mapplethorpe (New York Centerpiece)

Saturday October 27 @ 8:30 pm
SVA Theatre – 1, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, 10011 United States

Dir. Ondi Timoner, USA, 2018, 102 mins
Emmy-nominee Matt Smith (DOCTOR WHO, THE CROWN) plays renegade queer artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Set in the gay leather communities and highbrow galleries of New York City in the 70s and 80s, Ondi Timoner’s biopic is an unflinching look at the life and career of the icon made famous for his striking black-and-white images of phalluses and flowers. From the Chelsea Hotel to Bond Street, this film takes a chronological look at the influences and practices that captured male homo-erotic desire so poignantly in the face of the devastating toll of the AIDS crisis.
Q&A to follow

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Legacy Centerpiece

High Art (1998)

Sunday October 28 @ 5:00 pm
SVA Theatre – 2, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

20th Anniversary Screening in 35mm
Dir. Lisa Cholodenko, USA, 1998, 102 mins
Twenty years ago, this intelligent and unassuming indie drama took home the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance ‘98 and quickly became anchored in the LGBTQ consciousness as a lesbian classic. The debut feature from Lisa Cholodenko (THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT) was praised by Roger Ebert upon its release as “masterful, perceptive and mature” and made countless critics Top 10 Lists. When magazine editor Syd (Radha Mitchell) moves into the same building as German actress Greta (Patricia Clarkson) and photographer Lucy (Ally Sheedy) her arrival prompts Lucy to consider leaving her reclusive drug-fueled days behind. Caught at the center of this triangle, Lucy is torn between keeping her work intimate versus venturing back into the photography business.
Q&A with filmmakers and select cast to follow

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Closing Night Film & Party

Making Montgomery Clift (Closing Night Film & Party)

Tuesday October 30 @ 7:30 pm
SVA Theatre – 1, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, 10011 United States

New York Premiere
Dir. Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon, USA, 2018, 88 mins
The iconic Hollywood actor Montgomery Clift—described in many accounts as “tragically self-destructive” and “tormented” by his sexuality—is brought to new light by his nephew Robert Clift, who uncovers never-before-seen footage and exclusive audio interviews collected by the filmmaker’s father. The viewer gains insight into a fresh portrait of the legendary actor who was unashamed of his sexuality, maintained a great sense of humor, and even defied the studio system. Robert’s access to interviews with family and close friends of Monty turn against the faulty narrative made popular by previous biographies and documentaries that considered him “the slowest suicide in Hollywood history.” Thoroughly well-researched and edited, Robert—along with co-director Hillary Demmon— brings to the surface a personal account of his uncle Monty and his father Brooks Clift that forces us to ask: Why was so much of Monty’s story left out? How were previous accounts so wrong? Who do we trust to write our history? MAKING MONTGOMERY CLIFT brings the star out of the archive, and further out of the closet.
Q&A with filmmakers to follow
Ticket includes film and entrance to the Closing Night Party

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Upcoming Events >> Documentary Feature

October 2018

Documentary Feature

Bixa Travesty

Friday October 26 @ 9:45 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 9, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

Teddy Award for Best Documentary/Essay Film, Berlinale 2018
Dir. Kiko Goifman and Claudia Priscila, Brazil, 2018, 75 mins
Black Brazilian transgender singer Linn da Quebrada weaponizes the trans body and music for political protest. Linn and childhood friend Jup do Bairro use extravagantly costumed music performances to dazzle audiences while opposing their country’s white heteronormative order. Figuring her embodied existence as resistance, Linn eschews the role of cis woman, choosing a fluid gender identity instead. Full of funny and intimate moments, the film advocates for personal choice against a society that imposes static gender identity.

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Documentary Feature

Cherry Grove Stories

Saturday October 27 @ 1:00 pm
SVA Theatre – 2, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York Premiere
Dir. Michael Fisher, USA, 2017, 74 mins
This fascinating documentary captures the unique community of Cherry Grove, Fire Island – from its early days as a center for drag culture to the present day – featuring interviews with residents, old-timers, and captivating new and archival footage. Starting in the 1950s, Cherry Grove provided gays, including the likes of Tennessee Williams, with a safe space to express themselves at a time when interactions by people of the same sex were often the target of police raids. Michael Fisher’s oral history navigates the rich history and unknown stories of this vibrant beachfront community.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Features

Cherry Grove Stories (Tuesday Encore)

Tuesday October 30 @ 4:00 pm
Screening Room at The Center, 208 West 13th Street
New York, 10011 United States

New York Premiere
Dir. Michael Fisher, USA, 2017, 74 mins
This fascinating documentary captures the unique community of Cherry Grove, Fire Island – from its early days as a center for drag culture to the present day – featuring interviews with residents, old-timers, and captivating new and archival footage. Starting in the 1950s, Cherry Grove provided gays, including the likes of Tennessee Williams, with a safe space to express themselves at a time when interactions by people of the same sex were often the target of police raids. Michael Fisher’s oral history navigates the rich history and unknown stories of this vibrant beachfront community.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

Coby

Saturday October 27 @ 2:15 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 8, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York City Premiere
Dir. Christian Sonderegger, France, 2017, 78 mins
A paramedic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Coby shares a satisfying life with his supportive girlfriend Sarah, their pack of dogs, two brothers, and his parents. Nearly a decade after transitioning, the quotidian movements of his day-to-day—from receiving a shot of testosterone from his girlfriend to escorting a toddler to the ER—are quietly yet candidly documented by Christian Sonderegger. A contender in the ACID program at Cannes, COBY revolutionizes the use of the now-ubiquitous YouTube transition video as a conduit for telling the stories that rest in the silent white space between video updates.

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Documentary Feature

Every Act of Life

Monday October 29 @ 6:00 pm
SVA Theatre – 1, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, 10011 United States

Dir. Jeff Kaufman, USA, 2018, 92 mins
Playwright Terrence McNally has redefined contemporary gay theater with an extraordinary body of work that includes The Ritz, Corpus Christi, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, and Love! Valour! Compassion!, to name just a few. But his life offstage has been just as fascinating, encompassing activism, addiction, romance, and the constant pursuit of artistic excellence. McNally shares his story onscreen with the help of friends and colleagues like Angela Lansbury, Rita Moreno, Nathan Lane, F. Murray Abraham, and many more, as captured by documentarian and NewFest alum Jeff Kaufman (THE STATE OF MARRIAGE).
Q&A with Terrence McNally to follow

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Documentary Feature

I Hate New York (10/25)

Thursday October 25 @ 9:30 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 7, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

North American Premiere
Dir. Gustavo Sánchez, Spain, 2018, 75 mins
From 2007 to 2017, Gustavo Sánchez followed seasoned transfemme artists Chloe Dzubilo, Sophia Lamar, and Amanda Lepore around Manhattan’s rapidly-changing East Village with a humble Sony Handycam, capturing hundreds of hours of footage. I Hate New York is the result of these intimate conversations between the debut filmmaker and his triptych of captivating and driven female artists. In yellow cabs, Tompkins Square Park, and impossibly small apartments, Dzubilo, Lamar, and Lepore offer their unfiltered thoughts on everything from success and rivalry to gentrification and the utter pointlessness of nostalgia. These interviews are supplemented by commentary from the women’s fellow Village characters and creatives, including Penny Arcade, Bibbe Hansen, T De Long, and iO Tillett Wright. Through patient and devoted direction, Sánchez has created a documentary that offers unprecedented access to three transwomen who not only made their mark on New York’s ephemeral underground, but lived to see middle age. Despite its name, I HATE NEW YORK is a hopeful love letter to a hostile city and the transwomen who’ve called—and continue to call—NYC home.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

I Hate New York (10/26)

Friday October 26 @ 7:00 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 9, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

North American Premiere
Dir. Gustavo Sánchez, Spain, 2018, 75 mins
From 2007 to 2017, Gustavo Sánchez followed seasoned transfemme artists Chloe Dzubilo, Sophia Lamar, and Amanda Lepore around Manhattan’s rapidly-changing East Village with a humble Sony Handycam, capturing hundreds of hours of footage. I Hate New York is the result of these intimate conversations between the debut filmmaker and his triptych of captivating and driven female artists. In yellow cabs, Tompkins Square Park, and impossibly small apartments, Dzubilo, Lamar, and Lepore offer their unfiltered thoughts on everything from success and rivalry to gentrification and the utter pointlessness of nostalgia. These interviews are supplemented by commentary from the women’s fellow Village characters and creatives, including Penny Arcade, Bibbe Hansen, T De Long, and iO Tillett Wright. Through patient and devoted direction, Sánchez has created a documentary that offers unprecedented access to three transwomen who not only made their mark on New York’s ephemeral underground, but lived to see middle age. Despite its name, I HATE NEW YORK is a hopeful love letter to a hostile city and the transwomen who’ve called—and continue to call—NYC home.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

Love, Scott (10/26)

Friday October 26 @ 4:15 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 8, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York Premiere
Dir. Laura Marie Wayne, Canada, 2018, 76 mins
After being violently attacked on the street, openly gay musician Scott Jones is left paralyzed from the waist down. Told through the eyes of Scott’s close friend, this heartbreaking and inspiring portrait of grief traces the journey from convalescence to recovery to finally forgiveness. Scott revisits the location of the attack and rebuilds his life as a choir conductor and public speaker. This poignant documentary depicts the universal struggles of LGBTQ people and the people who love them through an incredibly intimate and personal story.
Presented in Partnership with Anti-Violence Project
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

Love, Scott (10/27)

Saturday October 27 @ 4:45 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 8, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York Premiere
Dir. Laura Marie Wayne, Canada, 2018, 76 mins
After being violently attacked on the street, openly gay musician Scott Jones is left paralyzed from the waist down. Told through the eyes of Scott’s close friend, this heartbreaking and inspiring portrait of grief traces the journey from convalescence to recovery to finally forgiveness. Scott revisits the location of the attack and rebuilds his life as a choir conductor and public speaker. This poignant documentary depicts the universal struggles of LGBTQ people and the people who love them through an incredibly intimate and personal story.
Presented in Partnership with NYC Anti-Violence Project
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

Man Made

Friday October 26 @ 7:30 pm
SVA Theatre – 2, 333 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York City Premiere
Dir. T Cooper, USA, 2018, 98 mins
From surgeries and T parties to the struggles and joys of transitioning, follow four men as they prepare for Trans FitCon, the only bodybuilding competition exclusively for trans men. Glimpse the intimate relationships between these men and their partners, family, and children as they train throughout the year. This powerful documentary from director T Cooper and executive producer Tea Leoni culminates in a triumphant gesture of acceptance and an understanding of the shared struggles among them as they take the stage and embody their true selves.
Q&A to follow

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Room to Grow

Saturday October 27 @ 4:00 pm
Screening Room at The Center, 208 West 13th Street
New York, 10011 United States

East Coast Premiere
Dir. Matt Alber and Jon Garcia, USA, Canada, 2018, 87 mins
For many queer people, some of our toughest years were when we were teenagers living at home. Homophobic parents and school environments often made life unbearable. Now meet the next generation of queer youth, as they forge a path of love, with the support of their families. In the face of one of the harshest political climates, with homophobia and racism on the rise, these fearless teenagers are claiming their identities and taking the world by storm. ROOM TO GROW is an intimate look into what it means to be an LGBTQ teen today.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

Sidney & Friends (10/27)

Saturday October 27 @ 1:45 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 9, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York Premiere
Dir. Tristan Aitchison, Scotland/Kenya, 2018, 75 mins
Six people from Nairobi share their candid reality of what it’s like to live as a targeted gender minority, in a region known for the prejudice and discrimination against its LGBTI population. When his family tries to kill him, Sidney, who is intersex, flees to Nairobi where he befriends an underground community. Documentarian Tristan Aichitson discovered this network of trans and intersex people fighting to survive on the edge of Kenyan society, and spent three years capturing their voices in interviews. These are their stories.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

Sidney & Friends (10/28)

Sunday October 28 @ 11:00 am
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 9, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York Premiere
Dir. Tristan Aitchison, Scotland/Kenya, 2018, 75 mins
Six people from Nairobi share their candid reality of what it’s like to live as a targeted gender minority, in a region known for the prejudice and discrimination against its LGBTI population. When his family tries to kill him, Sidney, who is intersex, flees to Nairobi where he befriends an underground community. Documentarian Tristan Aichitson discovered this network of trans and intersex people fighting to survive on the edge of Kenyan society, and spent three years capturing their voices in interviews. These are their stories.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

Silvana (10/25)

Thursday October 25 @ 9:15 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 8, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York City Premiere
Dir. Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, and Christina Tsiobanelis, Sweden, 2017, 94 mins
Years before Hayley Kiyoko and Princess Nokia refused to apologize for being out in love and art, Silvana Imam climbs Sweden’s charts as an openly lesbian creator and one of her country’s only female rappers. Born to Lithuanian and Syrian immigrants, Imam is furiously political and playfully queer, taking her country to task for its racism while spitting verses about lesbianism. Silvana is many films in one: a travel log, a tour diary, an experimental film, and a public service announcement on one of the European Union’s flawed superpowers. Filmed from 2014 to 2016, Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, and Christina Tsiobanelis’ portrait of the artist is an intimate time capsule of the feminist artist’s meteoric rise to superstardom and the early days of her relationship with a fellow musician, the Swedish pop star Beatrice Eli.
Q&A to follow

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Documentary Feature

Silvana (10/28)

Sunday October 28 @ 4:15 pm
Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 9, 260 W 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011 United States

New York City Premiere
Dir. Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, and Christina Tsiobanelis, Sweden, 2017, 94 mins
Years before Hayley Kiyoko and Princess Nokia refused to apologize for being out in love and art, Silvana Imam climbs Sweden’s charts as an openly lesbian creator and one of her country’s only female rappers. Born to Lithuanian and Syrian immigrants, Imam is furiously political and playfully queer, taking her country to task for its racism while spitting verses about lesbianism. Silvana is many films in one: a travel log, a tour diary, an experimental film, and a public service announcement on one of the European Union’s flawed superpowers. Filmed from 2014 to 2016, Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, and Christina Tsiobanelis’ portrait of the artist is an intimate time capsule of the feminist artist’s meteoric rise to superstardom and the early days of her relationship with a fellow musician, the Swedish pop star Beatrice Eli.

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