Founded in 1988, NewFest is New York’s largest presenter of LGBTQ+ film & media and the largest convener of LGBTQ+ audiences in the city. The 33rd edition Features 130+ new films, including 30 narrative features, 14 documentary features, one global episodic showcase, and 11 shorts program screenings. It will take place Oct 15 to 26, 2021, screening in theatres throughout NYC and streaming at home anywhere in the United States.

Founded in 1988 in direct response to the AIDS crisis, The New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival has been a tentpole of NYC’s queer cultural scene. In the subsequent years, NewFest has expanded into a film and media organization with year-long programs to serve all facets of the LGBTQ+ community.

The festival kicks off on October 15th with the East Coast premiere of Jesse Moss’ (BOYS STATE) highly anticipated Amazon Original documentary MAYOR PETE, about Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg. The film is a riveting and intimate documentary about Pete Buttegieg’s campaign to be the youngest, and first openly gay, U.S. president. The festival will close with NEON’s award-winning film FLEE, directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen and produced by actors Riz Ahmed and Nikolai Coster-Waldau, which took home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year. Recounted mostly through animation to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, FLEE tells for the first time the story of Amin Nawabi’s extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan, and the painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years. 

theBUZZ Picks…what’s on our gaydar!














Narrative highlights from the 2021 festival lineup include a New York Centerpiece Screening for Rebecca Hall’s Netflix period drama PASSING, starring Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, and Alexander Skarsgård, following two black women (Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga) who can pass as white and choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York; the New York Premiere of Park Kun-Young’s A DISTANT PLACE, a wistful drama about love and family, set in the dazzling countryside of Hwacheon County in South Korea; and the New York Premiere of Wes Hurley’s autobiographical dark comedy POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA, which follows a gay boy growing up in the Soviet Union whose escapism of choice is pirated American movies.

Documentary highlights from the program include the festival’s Documentary Centerpiece screening for INVISIBLE: GAY WOMEN IN SOUTHERN MUSIC, a groundbreaking documentary that explores the individual and collective journeys of a group of LGBT women (and one trans man) who successfully navigated the male-dominated landscape of southern music – writing and performing number 1 hits for some of country music’s greatest legends including Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, and more. The in-person screening of INVISIBILE: GAY WOMEN IN SOUTHERN MUSIC will be followed by a live performance. Other documentary highlights include the World Premiere of Brian Vincent’s MAKE ME FAMOUS, a romp through the 1980s NYC art scene amid the colorful career of ambitious painter Edward Brezinski; the North American Premiere of BRING DOWN THE WALLS, a galvanizing documentary that observes an exuberant NYC community fighting the U.S. prison system while dancing for liberation to classic house tracks; and the US premiere of Eliane Raheb’s award-winning film MIGUEL’S WAR, winner of the Teddy Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, which focuses on an exiled gay person in Spain who returns to his native country of Lebanon to confront his traumatic past.

For its legacy screening selection this year, NewFest will host Oscilloscope Laboratories’ World Premiere of the 4K restoration for John Cameron Mitchell’s cult classic erotic film SHORTBUS, to celebrate the film’s 15th anniversary, which follows a group of New Yorkers caught up in their romantic-sexual milieu who converge at an underground salon infamous for its blend of art, music, politics, and carnality. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Dee Ree’s iconic film PARIAH, the festival will host a special screening of the film, which follows a Brooklyn teenager who juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression. 

Additionally, the festival will host a “Madge Brunch” to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Madonna-focused documentary MADONNA: TRUTH OR DARE, which chronicles the superstar during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour.

Individual tickets are available via links under each of the presentations on the website. A variety of virtual passes are also available, giving you access to . Check out the full Virtual Program Guide to start planning what to watch.



About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.