NewFest—New York’s LGBT film festival, presented by HBO—shines light on the more impressive and impactful films that highlight the gay community. This year’s event is the largest ever, with more than 100 amazing movies, documentaries and shorts to view, not to mention gay-empowered events and talks with some of the filmmakers. Do yourself a favor and snag tickets to our top five picks.
Intimate relationships are never as black-and-white as plain physical sex. Yong Kim’s Lovesong does an amazing job of diving deep into this issue without alienating the viewer with almost unbelievable tales of high-school age interactions and awakenings. Sarah and Mindy are two friends who’ve never been physical with each other, but share an intimacy that alludes to sexual curiosities. A late night drinking game while on a road trip awakens something within both women, but is lost due to their already set ideas of normality. Lovesong is one film we’re excited to see, and we hope it brings light to compassion and the roads less traveled.
To many, Paragraph 175 is the clause in the 1871 German Penal Code criminalizing ‘unnatural sex acts’ between persons of the male sex (or with animals.) To others. it means more than 50 years of oppression and shame brought on by the Holocaust. Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein take a long journey with their documentary, starting with Germany’s post-war states amidst the Weimar Republic (where queer communities blossomed), and ending with the abrasive and straightforward slaughter and shame that many experienced during and after World War II. Epstein and Friedman do a magical job at creating safe spaces for those who have suppressed their stories for more than 50 years.
Where Are you Going, Habibi?
One thing that everyone can agree with is that not every love story within LGBT cinema has to end miserably (cue the Netflix gay section). Director Tor Iben makes sure to keep his awakening love story light and frivolous even through dark periods within the film. Ibrahim is a young German man who, like many other characters in films before him, lives a double life as a respectable member of a conservative society and a confident gay man working in the sex industry. Upon meeting a criminally minded albeit—the extremely attractive wrestler Ali—Ibrahim falls in love and quickly discovers that the idea of Mr. Right is not always as clean as he hoped. We’re most excited about not having to hold back our tears every five minutes.
What’s better then mixing satire, a bureaucratic snafu and separate but equal problematic characters? Pushing Dead is. Dan Schauble is a modern-day man living with HIV, but that doesn’t seem to be his biggest problem—it's his circle of friends. Director Tom E. Brown delivers an impressive view of a panicky man who struggles to refill his drug prescription and how his precarious adventures affect everyone around him.
Here comes another film that makes you wonder, ‘where the fuck are these kid’s parents?’ Outside of the clear and belligerent parental neglect, Teenage Cocktail delivers an interesting take on friendship, and sometimes blurred boundaries. Director and writer John Carchietta creates an almost Spring Break-esque aura to the film. The two main characters Annie (Nichole Bloom) and Jules (Fabianne Therese) are best friends and also demur lovers. We’re just looking forward to seeing how quickly this films turns into a murder-suicide flick.
Get tickets here!