The 25th annual NewFest, New York's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival, has announced its lineup of 15 features, four documentaries and 31 shorts. The fest is put on by OutFest and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Check out the program below.
NewFest runs September 6-11 at the Film Society's Walter Reade Theater and the JCC in Manhattan.
Stacie Passon's "Concussion," which premiered at Sundance to strong reviews, will open the festival. It centers on a suburban lesbian housewife who leads a double life as a high-end call girl in Manhattan. RADiUS-TWC snapped it up out of Park City for seven figures; no word yet on a stateside release.
Dir/Scr: Stacie Passon, 2012, USA, 97 min.
From executive producer Rose Troche and writer-director Stacie Passon, this funny, sexy and compelling mix of Belle de Jour and The Stepford Wives follows suburban lesbian housewife Abby (Robin Weigert, “Deadwood”, The Sessions) through an erotic epiphany after suffering a head injury. In the immediate aftermath, she questions whether her picture-perfect family life is enough and decides to revive her career and renovate a loft in New York City. But the space quickly transforms itself into a convenient location for an unexpected sexual reawakening. CONCUSSION had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Looking back as moving forward, this selection of recent works and telling discoveries assembles a queer menagerie of experimentalists and pop icons, like Pet Shop Boys, Lil’ Kim and Kristen (“call me KStew”) Stewart. From flickering Super 8 and scratched 16mm to grainy VHS, HD video and plasma monitors, the cutting edge never felt so queerly expanded.
Dir: Stephan Lacant, Scr: Stephan Lacant, Karsten Dahlem, 2013, Germany, subtitled, 100 min.
In his gripping and erotic feature debut, German director Stephan Lacant chronicles the pleasures and pitfalls of a tumultuous love affair between police officer Marc (Hanno Koffler, Summer Storm) and his training partner, Kay. At first Marc brushes off his attraction to his colleague as a fluke, but his feelings become evident the more time he spends away from his pregnant girlfriend Bettina, inside motel rooms and in remote corners of the forest with Kay. Free Fall, which had its world premiere at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, explores the excitement of forbidden love as well as the consequences of secrecy and repression.
Dir: Gary Entin, Scr: Edmund Entin, 2012, USA, 83 min.
Russell (Cameron Deane Stewart, Pitch Perfect) is your average closeted high school teen looking for love. Enter Kevin (Justin Deeley, “90210”), the school’s hunkiest football jock. Things get complicated when both Kevin and Russell do things they don’t want to in order to hide who they are. Russell seeks advice from the Geography Club, actually a secret GSA filled with a hilarious collection of misfits. As the closet grows harder to maintain, Russell has to decide whether or not to come out – even if it means losing Kevin. Smart, assured and stylish, with supporting performances by Ana Gasteyer (“SNL”), Alex Newell (“Glee”), Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), the debut feature from the Entin twins represents a big (and very hot) step forward in the gay-teen comedy genre.
GETTING GO: THE GO DOC PROJECT
Dir/Scr: Cory Krueckeberg, 2013, USA, 91 min.
College boy Doc (Tanner Cohen, Were the World Mine) is obsessed with a well-known NYC go-go boy (Matthew Camp). He befriends his hunky crush with the intention of shooting a documentary about what it’s like to live in his skin. But as they grow closer, flirtation blurs the line between subject and filmmaker until a steamy night together solidifies deeper feelings. Cory Krueckeberg’s explicit directorial debut explores the thrill and danger of getting exactly what you wished for.
Q-RATING - Explicit Sexuality
HOT GUYS WITH GUNS
Dir/Scr: Doug Spearman, 2013, USA, 110 min.
Handsome, reckless Pip gets drugged and robbed at an orgy. Danny, his sexy but sensible ex-boyfriend, is an actor taking a private investigator class—he’s up for a part on a cop show. There’s still a strong sexual and emotional tension between them that builds as they investigate a series of robberies and murders at the sex parties of rich and powerful gay men. With the help of Jimmy, a seen-it-all PI, they play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a ruthless killer, finding plenty of laughs along the way. In his debut feature, writer-director Doug Spearman, a 2009 Outfest Screenwriting Lab fellow for the Hot Guys With Guns screenplay, deftly balances action (both kinds) and witty comedy.
INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR.
Dir: Travis Mathews, James Franco, Scr: Travis Mathews, 2012, USA, 60 min.
To avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of footage was cut from the controversial 1980 gay slasher movie Cruising. In a provocative reimagining of this censored material, directors Travis Mathews (I Want Your Love) and James Franco create an explicit and steamy documentary film-within-a-film about gay sex and masculinity. As the straight lead Val prepares to assume the Al Pacino position, he is forced to confront his own sexual boundaries and discomforts, which flare as he pushes deeper into this iconic gay interior. The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Q-RATING - Explicit Sexuality
IN THE NAME OF…
Dir: Malgoska Szumowska, Scr: Malgoska Szumowska, Michal Englert, 2013, Poland, subtitled, 102 min.
Father Adam is the talk of the small Polish town he’s assigned to. Handsome, strong and unfazed by a violent group of local teens, he’s idolized and occasionally hit on by local men and women alike. It’s only when the brooding and beautiful Lukasz, an orphan and accused arsonist, falls into his arms one hot summer day, that Father Adam feels the sudden pang of repressed desire. Soon his feelings of lust give way to love, setting off suspicion within the tight-knit, conservative community. Shot in glowing, golden sunlight and set within the sprawling fields and forests of Poland, Malgoska Szumowska’s sumptuous drama (2013 Teddy Award winner for Best Feature Film) teems with sensuality and tension.
Dir: Christina Voros, Scr: Christina Voros, Ian Olds, 2012, USA, 79 min.
KINK takes us into the painful but oh-so-pleasurable world of five San Francisco–based BDSM workers as they choke, spank and scream their way through just another day at the kink.com studios. Produced by James Franco and directed with frank allure by Christina Voros, the film not only humanizes the bondage and sadomasochism industry, it also uncovers a professional world in ways the uninitiated would never expect. So strap in (or strap on!) and enjoy this wild and surprisingly sweet dungeon-based feature, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Q-RATING - Explicit Sexual Content
THE LAST MATCH
Dir: Antonio Hens, Scr: Abel González Melo, Antonio Hens, 2012, Cuba, subtitled, 94 min.
Reinier works as a callboy in order to support his wife and child, but he ends up gambling most of his money away. Sex with men is strictly business until he befriends a cute soccer player named Yosvani, who works for his girlfriend’s father, a corrupt debt collector. When Reinier’s gambling habit gets him in serious trouble, Yosvani tries to convince Reinier to run away with him. Set in the bustling streets of Cuba, The Last Match offers a visceral romance ripe with unexpected turns and dangerous temptations.
Dir/Scr: Mark Thiedeman, 2013, USA, 73 min.
For two small-town teenagers in love, this is that one last summer they will spend together before going their separate ways. Baseball star Luke knows that the intelligent Jonah will go off to college in the fall, and over the course of the next few months these boyfriends will lose themselves in nature, bicycle rides and each other while they still can. With echoes of Terrence Malick, writer-director Mark Thiedeman offers up a debut feature that balances haunting beauty with adolescent passion.
LOVE ME NOT
Dir: Gilitte Leung, Scr: Gilitte Leung, Hedy Yau, 2012, China, subtitled, 92 min.
Aggie might be in love with her roommate Dennis. They’ve been friends since primary school and have lived in the same Hong Kong flat for years. But here’s the rub: Aggie’s a lesbian and Dennis is gay. The two have never been interested in the opposite sex. But love is complicated in Gilitte Leung’s dazzling Chinese romance, especially when Dennis gets wind of how Aggie feels. Suddenly, a loving relationship doesn’t look so bad, even if Dennis’ friends think he’s losing his mind.
MOHAMMED TO MAYA
Dir: Jeff Roy; 2012, USA, 74 min.
Maya, a successful transgender Muslim woman, has not yet undergone the sexual reassignment surgery that her family has told her they will not accept. When she decides to journey to Thailand to take the final step, Maya will have to deal with both the physical effects of the surgery and her conflict over her own devout beliefs on her path to achieving the freedom to be who she truly is. Director Jeff Roy’s accomplished debut documentary follows Maya on her inspiring, uplifting and surprisingly funny journey.