NewFest Announces Opening Night Film, Yen Tan's '1985'

NewFest Announces Opening Night Film, Yen Tan's '1985'

NewFest has announced its Opening Night film to be Yen Tan's powerful AIDS drama "1985" on Wednesday, October 24th. This year will mark the highly significant 30th anniversary of NewFest, one of the world's most venerable and respected LGBT festivals. "1985" joins a history of notable NewFest Opening Night Films, including "Go Fish" (1994), "High Art" (1998), "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (2001), "But I'm a Cheerleader" (2000), and "We Were Here" (2011). The film is a return to NewFest for Tan, whose previous films "Ciao" (2008) and "Pit Stop" (2013) have screened at the fest in the past.

Written and directed by Yen Tan, "1985" follows Adrian (Cory Michael Smith, "Gotham"), a closeted advertising executive who, after having been gone for three years, returns to his Texas hometown for the holidays during the first wave of the AIDS crisis. Burdened with an unspeakable tragedy in New York City, Adrian looks to reconnect with his preteen brother Andrew (Aidan Langford) while navigating his relationship with religious parents Eileen (Academy Award Nominee Virginia Madsen) and Dale (Golden Globe Award Winner Michael Chiklis). When he reaches out to his estranged childhood friend Carly (Jamie Chung, "The Gifted"), their unresolved issues force Adrian to confront an uncertain future that will significantly alter the lives of those around him.

Shot on black-and-white super 16mm film, "1985" takes a unique look at a pivotal moment in American history through the prism of empathy, love and family.

"New York's LGBT Film Festival was born out of the height of the AIDS crisis--when there was a vital need for visibility and positive representation of the LGBTQ community," said Executive Director Robert Kushner. "So to begin the festival's 30th Anniversary with Yen Tan's poignant vision of 1980s life makes our Opening Night all the more resonant."

Speaking on the selection, NewFest's Programming & Operations Manager Nick McCarthy said, "Yen Tan's delicate, reflective, and humanistic portrait ties beautifully into the fibers of NewFest and will make for a powerful and noteworthy celebration. "1985" is a new queer classic, addressing the AIDS crisis in a sensitive, textured and, most importantly, modern light."

"It's an extreme honor to have "1985" be the Opening Night selection at NewFest this year, a festival that's been screening my works since 2008. It's especially meaningful that our lead character Adrian visits his Texas hometown in the film, but New York is where he could live his most authentic life. "1985" is a story that honors the significance of queer outsiders who moved to bigger cities to find themselves, even at dire times." said Yen Tan.

"1985" world premiered at SXSW. Wolfe Releasing will release "1985" theatrically in New York City and Los Angeles on October 26th. You can view the trailer here.

The festival will announce its full lineup for its 30th edition on September 21st. The festival runs October 24th - 30th.

Ticket redemption for Festival Passholders begins at Sept. 21st. There will be a Member Pre-Sale for tickets on Sept. 25th. Tickets go on sale to public on Sept. 28th. For more information or to become a member, go to

The festival is presented by HBO and programmed in partnership with Outfest

About NewFest
Founded in 1988, NewFest: New York's Film and Media Arts Organization presents year-round screenings and events, including the annual New York LGBT Film Festival. NewFest's mission is to give voice and visibility to the full scope of New York's LGBTQ community through films and programs that entertain, educate, and empower. In bringing diverse audiences and filmmakers together, NewFest creates spaces and conversations that have the capacity to open minds, shift cultural bias, and create positive change. NewFest is dedicated to bringing together filmmakers and audiences to build a community that encompasses the wide range of representations of the LGBTQ experience. We are committed to nurturing and presenting LGBTQ stories and emerging filmmakers. For more information, visit

About Outfest
Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is the leading organization that promotes equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen. Outfest builds community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBT lives. Over the past three plus decades, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world to audiences of nearly a million, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers and protected more than 36,000 LGBT films and videos.

About HBO
HBO® is one of the most respected and innovative entertainment brands in the world, serving iconic, award-winning programming to 142 million subscribers globally. A subsidiary of WarnerMedia, HBO is the world's most successful pay TV service with an extensive array of programming that includes some of the most notable titles to be on television including Game of Thrones®, Big Little Lies®, Westworld®, The Sopranos®, Sex and the City®, Band of Brothers®, and The Wire®. In the United States, HBO ® and sister network Cinemax® are available across multiple platforms including HBO On Demand®, Cinemax On Demand®, HBO GO® and MAX GO®, as well as HBO NOW®. Internationally, HBO branded services, including television networks and the standalone streaming product HBO GO®, are available in more than 70 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. HBO and Cinemax programming is also sold into more than 150 countries worldwide. NewFest is presented by HBO, and would like to thank the following sponsors: Room & Board (Premier Sponsor); Stoli (Major Sponsor); Ace Hotel New York, Norwegian Airlines, and Ogilvy (Official Sponsors); and Comcast NBCUniversal, AmidaCare, and SAG-AFTRA (Supporting Sponsors). NewFest is grateful to the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) for their generous support of our programs.

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