NewFest announces dynamic full festival lineup for 2019

New York’s leading LGBTQ film festival, NewFest, has announced the full lineup of their 31st annual celebration of the year’s best LGBTQ films from around the world. As announced earlier this week, the festival will kick off the festival’s 31st edition with the New York premiere of Mike Doyle’s Manhattan-set ensemble rom-com SELL BY, featuring an eclectic cast including Scott Evans (Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie”), Kate Walsh (ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”), Academy Award-nominee and Emmy Award-winner Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Buteau (Netflix’s “Tales of the City”) and Augustus Prew (HIGH-RISE), and will close the festival with the New York premiere of Rodrigo Bellott’s award-winning film TU ME MANQUES, which was recently announced as Bolivia’s submission for Best International Feature Film selection for the 2019 Academy Awards.

This year’s NewFest will feature several galas and special screenings, including the previously announced U.S. Centerpiece Gala of the stylized period-piece drama TO THE STARS from director Martha Stephen (co-director of the award-winning drama LAND HO!), starring Kara Hayward (MOONRISE KINGDOM), Malin Akerman (Showtime’s “Billions”), Jordana Spiro (Netflix’s “Ozark”) and Emmy Award-winner Tony Hale (HBO’s “Veep”).

Highlights announced today by NewFest Executive Director David Hatkoff and Director of Programming Nick McCarthy include the New York Centerpiece screening of Mark Blane’s 16mm quirky comedy film CUBBY, starring Golden Globe and Emmy®-nominated Patricia Richardson, and the International Centerpiece screening of Levan Akin’s AND THEN WE DANCED, which premiered to great acclaim at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and is Sweden’s submission for Best International Feature Film selection for the 2019 Academy Awards.
Patricia Clarkson, in "Sell By"
Patricia Clarkson in Sell By

Other highlights of the festival include this year’s Documentary Centerpiece screening, the U.S. premiere of Megan Wennberg’s film DRAG KIDS, which follows the lives of four young drag performers from around North America, and a spotlight screening of THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY, Martin Krejcí’s modern-day fairytale starring Jaeden Martell (IT), John Turturro, and Chloë Sevigny (LOVE & FRIENDSHIP).

NewFest will also host three world premieres at this year’s festival: Alexis Clements’ documentary ALL WE'VE GOT, which looks into what it takes in America for queer, spaces for women (bokoshops, bars, theaters) to survive and why/how they are disappearing, Viatcheslav Kopturevskiy’s SIBERIA AND HIM, a story of forbidden love in one of the most unexpected and dangerous places on earth, and Rafael Gomes’ MUSIC FOR BLEEDING HEARTS, a film based on the hit Brazilian play with the same name, about three friends living multiple romantic experiences in search of their own versions of love.

The full program of 27 narrative features, 14 documentary features, 15 episodic series, 8 centerpiece and spotlight screenings, and 100 shorts runs from October 23-29 at the SVA Theatre, Cinépolis Chelsea, as well as The LGBT Community Center in New York City.

NewFest aims every year to bring new and exciting voices to New York audiences, highlighting the emerging voices of queer cinema. With this in mind, all of the films in this year’s Narrative Features & Documentary Features sections are either New York, East Coast or World premieres, and 11 are from first-time feature filmmakers. This year’s edition continues the tradition of reaching gender parity, with 54% of films having been directed by women, trans, or non-binary filmmakers.
Tu Me Manques
Tu Me Manques

"New York is big and bold, and so is our 31st Annual LGBTQ Film Festival, which will feature over 160 films that reflect and celebrate all aspects of the queer experience," said NewFest Executive Director David Hatkoff. "Whether set in Brooklyn or Brazil, Manhattan or Manila, our brilliant programming team has selected films that are local and international, intersectional and intergenerational — just like the singular city we live in. It's an honor to offer a platform to these filmmakers, connect them to audiences, and create a joyful space for members of our community to come together and share experiences."

“Like most art, cinema is at its most powerful when it’s necessary, and this year’s selections prove the importance of giving visibility to the LGBTQ community throughout the world,” said Director of Programming Nick McCarthy. “With World Premieres of films from Brazil and remote Siberia, it’s vital to amplify queer stories from a variety of genres in the face of oppression. Creating a space to celebrate queer voices and gather diverse audiences in conversation is essential to the fabric, survival and growth of the LGBTQ community. Film always find a way to shine a light in the darkest times, and we salute both the established and emerging filmmakers represented this year for giving life to our community.”
Angelica Ross in Queering The Script
Angelica Ross in Queering The Script

In the tradition of receiving submissions from around the world, the festival features films and episodic programming coming from 32 countries. In addition, 71% of content is by and about underrepresented voices (Women, People of Color, Trans, Bi and Differently Abled). Overall, the festival will screen 48 feature-length films, 100 shorts and 15 episodic series, for a total of 163 selections. The Narrative and Documentary Feature sections will include 31 films total, with 27 international features represented, including new works from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia,  Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UK, and the United States.

In addition to the world premiere of SIBERIA & HIM, highlights from the Narrative Features selection include the New York premiere of the 2019 Berlinale Teddy Jury Prize winner A DOG BARKING AT THE MOON, James Sweeney’s romantic comedy STRAIGHT UP, starring  Sweeney, Randall Park (“Fresh Off the Boat”), Katie Findlay (“Man Seeking Woman”) and Tracie Thoms (“Rent”), the comedy in black-and-white with bursts of color SECOND STAR ON THE RIGHT, about a bisexual woman and three best friends, and the East Coast premiere of Samatha Lee’s 90s coming-of-age film BILLIE & EMMA.

In addition to the world premiere of ALL WE’VE GOT, highlights from this year’s Documentary Features section include THE ARCHIVETTES about the co-founders of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, LEONARD SOLOWAY'S BROADWAY, which delves into the archives and experiences of a legendary Broadway producer who received over 40 Tony Awards and 3 Pulitzer Prizes, and UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA, about the untold stories of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers who have fled intense persecution from their home countries.

NewFest also offers an annual frightfully scary queer program, and this year’s HalloKween lineup is no exception. This year the festival will screen BIT, the Nicole Maines (CW’s “Supergirl”) led transgender vampire film, the documentary SCREAM QUEEN: MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET about the controversial sequel of the Wes Craven classic that ended Mark Patton’s acting career, and the Spanish alien rescue mission film BRIEF STORY FROM THE GREEN PLANET, which won the coveted Teddy Award at this year’s Berlinale Film Festival.

To The Stars

Ticket redemption for Festival Passholders begins at 12PM EST on Friday, September 20th. There will be a Member Presale for tickets on Tuesday, September 24th. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, September 27th. For more information, to purchase a festival pass, or to become a member, go to

NewFest is presented by HBO, and would like to thank the following sponsors: Hyundai (Signature Sponsor), Beam Suntory (Premier Sponsor), Room & Board (Premier Sponsor); Ace Hotel New York, Norwegian Airlines, and Amida Care (Official Sponsors); and Comcast NBCUniversal, T-Mobile, and Twitter (Supporting Sponsors). 

NewFest is grateful to the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the New York City Council, and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) for their generous support of our programs.

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