NEWFEST Announces 2017 Opening, Closing, Centerpiece Films

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NewFest today announced the Opening, Closing and Centerpiece films for their 29th annual celebration of the year's best LGBT films, scheduled to run from October 19 - 24, 2017 at New York's SVA Theatre, Cinépolis Chelsea, and The LGBT Community Center. With this year's prominently featured presentations, NewFest's programmers have chosen to showcase the GLORY and challenges that come with self-expression. The selections, in part, also provide a link between the past and present by highlighting the trails blazed by those who navigated the choppy waters of the '80s and '90s and inspired the next generation of LGBTQ artists and storytellers. Such legends of the music, fashion, and art worlds continue to impact LGBTQ lives, as the community's resistance against continued prejudice is essential in these uncertain times. These four films--from the streets of NYC to the suburbs of St. Louis to bucolic United Kingdom--are emblematic of this approach in their own singular ways, as they each look back as much as they look forward over an ever-changing LGBTQ artistic landscape.

Kicking off this year's event will be the New York premiere of Anthony&Alex's highly anticipated and acclaimed film SUSANNE BARTSCH: ON TOP. The documentary is an inside look at the legendary New York City party promoter and LGBTQ advocate Susanne Bartsch and features a who's who of NYC nightlife heroes, including RuPaul, Amanda Lepore, Michael Musto and Bill Cunningham. Following the screening, Michael Musto will moderate a special talkback with Susanne Bartsch and Anthony&Alex.

Continuing in the cross-generational vein is the New York premiere of Vincent Gagliostro's AFTER LOUIE, which will screen as the festival's New York Centerpiece film. Starring Alan Cumming and Zachary Booth (KEEP THE LIGHTS ON), AFTER LOUIE is a touching and lyrical cross-generational look at the effect the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic had on individuals and their art as well as at how that history informs and influences the most recent generation of creative LGBTQ New Yorkers.

GOD'S OWN COUNTRY is the award-winning feature-length debut from writer/director/actor Francis Lee and serves as the fest's International Centerpiece film. This New York premiere introduces audiences to a bold new voice in LGBTQ filmmaking with this masterful story of longing, loneliness and love. GOD'S OWN COUNTRY continues to rack up awards, including the Sundance Film Festival's World Cinema Directing Award and the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, among many others.

Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh's BECKS, starring Tony Award winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Oscar winner Christine Lahti (Best Live Action short film Lieberman in Love) and Mena Suvari, will bring NewFest to a close with the New York premiere of this award-winning romantic drama. Inspired by the life of singer and songwriter Alyssa Robbins, BECKS brings the festival themes of uncovering unity and compassion through artistic self-expression full circle and features an extraordinary lead performance from Hall. A special live acoustic performance by Lena Hall will follow the screening of the film, which won the US Fiction Award at this year's Los Angeles Film Festival .

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