Newfest Announces 'Newfest Pride,' A New Summer Film Series

Saturday May 15, 2021
Originally published on May 14, 2021

The following is a press release from Newfest:

NewFest, New York's leading LGBTQ+ film and media organization and one of the world's most respected LGBTQ+ film festivals, has announced programming for NewFest Pride, a new summer film series taking place this year from June 4-7. All film screenings and events will be available virtually to audiences throughout the United States. The announcement was made today by NewFest's executive director David Hatkoff and director of programming Nick McCarthy.

The new summer series, kicking off the month of Pride, will showcase six new feature films: a short film program co-presented with Vimeo, and a handful of LGBTQ-focused panels and special events, including a special virtual live-read event fundraiser of "Legally Blonde" to celebrate the film's 20th anniversary, featuring an all queer and trans cast. To celebrate the reopening of prominent LGBTQ bars/restaurants, introductions to the films will be shot in front of LGBTQ gathering spots throughout the city. Additional events will be announced in the coming weeks. Individual tickets and all-access passes to the series are on sale now at newfest.org.

The feature films screening at the festival include Marion Hill's Sundance NEXT Audience Award-winning film "Ma Belle, My Beauty," which explores the complexities of a queer polyamorous relationship; Carlos López Estrada's moving ensemble film "Summertime," executive produced by actress Kelly Marie Tran and featuring poetry and performances by 25 young Angelenos in stories that intersect and intertwine as they make their way around the city; Todd Stephen's heartfelt comedy "Swan Song," starring Udo Kier (along with Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans and Michael Urie) as a former hairdresser who escapes his nursing home to style his estranged client for her funeral; Harri Shanahan's and Siân A. Williams' "Rebel Dykes," a powerful documentary about the politically charged and artistically radical 1980s London from the eyes of the artists, performers, musicians, sex workers and activists who lived it; Daniel Sánchez López's mumblecore-inspired narrative "Boy Meets Boy," about a brief and romantic encounter between two men who fall for each other over the course of a single day; and Mari Walker's critically acclaimed drama "See You Then," which takes place over an evening as two exes meet up ten years after their break up. All features and short films playing the series will be accessible to ticket holders via NewFest's on-demand platform.

For the third consecutive year, NewFest and Vimeo are collaborating on a bold showcase of the finest contemporary LGBTQ+ short films from around the globe — from narrative to hybrid docs to animation — to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community and storytellers. The short films that are part of this program will be announced in the coming weeks.

Following the success of the festival's all-trans live-read event of "Brokeback Mountain" during NewFest's New York LGBTQ Film Festival in October, the event for "Legally Blonde" will be produced again 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. "Legally Blonde," which originally starred powerhouse Reese Witherspoon, tells the story of Elle Woods, a fashionable sorority queen, who, after being dumped by her boyfriend, decides to follow him to law school; while she is there, she figures out that there is more to her than just her looks. Event proceeds will go towards The NewFest Future Fund, to benefit the organization and its programs for LGBTQ+ youth, filmmaker resources, and year-round screening programs. 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.

"Despite a year that has seen tremendous loss, collective trauma, and a societal reckoning with systemic injustice, the LGBTQ+ community has never lost touch with its Pride-ful spirit," said NewFest executive director David Hatkoff. "We are thrilled to kick off Pride month with a virtual program that celebrates the very many things we are — rebellious, romantic, riveting and radical. And, for good measure, a queer Elle Woods!"

NewFest Pride is sponsored by Hornitos Tequila.

The full 2021 lineup for NewFest's summer film series is as follows:


Feature Films

"Rebel Dykes," directed by Harri Shanahan, Siân A. Williams. (UK / Documentary).
East Coast Premiere
A full-length documentary about the explosion that happened when punk met feminism, told through the lives of a gang of lesbians in the riotous London of the 1980s.

"Boy Meets Boy," directed by Daniel Sánchez López.
(Germany / Narrative).
New York City Premiere
Taking inspiration from the mumblecore genre, "Boy Meets Boy" is a brief but romantic encounter between two young men who fall for each other over the course of a single day.

"Ma Belle, My Beauty" directed by Marion Hill.
(USA, France / Narrative).
New York City Premiere
A surprise reunion in southern France reignites passion and jealousy between former polyamorous lovers in this Sundance NEXT Audience Award winner

"See You Then," directed by Mari Walker.
(USA / Narrative).
New York City Premiere
A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi (Lynn Chen, "Saving Face"), Kris (Pooya Mohseni) invites her to dinner to catch up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris's transition.

"Summertime" directed by Carlos López Estrada.
(USA / Narrative).
New York City Premiere
Inspired by a showcase featuring diverse high school performers, Carlos López Estrada collaborates with young poets, many of whom are LGBTQ, to develop their work into an inspiring narrative and love letter to the youth of Los Angeles.

"Swan Song," directed by Todd Stephens.
(USA / Narrative).
New York City Premiere
An aging hairdresser escapes his nursing home and embarks on an odyssey across his small town to style a dead woman's hair for her funeral, rediscovering his sparkle along the way.


Short Films

"Pride Shorts with Vimeo
Presented in Partnership with Vimeo
For the third consecutive year, NewFest and Vimeo are collaborating on a bold showcase of the finest contemporary LGBTQ+ short films from around the globe — from narrative to hybrid docs to animation — to celebrate and support our community and storytellers.


Special Events

"Legally Blonde" Live Read with All Trans & Queer Cast
A special virtual live-read event of "Legally Blonde" to celebrate the film's 20th anniversary, featuring an all-star trans and queer cast. This event is a fundraiser for The NewFest Future Fund.