Newfest Announces Special Events, Panels

Sunday October 11, 2020

Newfest Announces Special Events, Panels

NewFest, New York's leading LGBTQ film and media organization and one of the world's most respected LGBTQ film festivals, has announced the full lineup of Special Events and Panels as well as this year's juries. The announcement was made by NewFest's Executive Director David Hatkoff and Director of Programming Nick McCarthy.

Special events include a Queer Trivia Night hosted by "Rupaul's Drag Race" alum Jackie Cox; a Virtual Dance Party in partnership with House of Yes to close out My Girl Friday, a selection of films by and about the women, women-identifying, and non-binary members of the queer community; as well as the previously announced all trans live reading of "Brokeback Mountain" to celebrate the film's 15th anniversary. All events are free and open to the public, with more information available at

Panel highlights include an up close and personal chat with the director and cast of Netflix's "The Boys in the Band" and an exclusive chat with the directors and select cast from HBO Max's groundbreaking docuseries "Equal." Additional panels are set to tackle such issues as Global LGBTQ Advocacy, Journalism through an LGBTQ Lens, a Conversation about Elections and LGBTQ Rights, and many more. Various NewFest filmmakers, notable journalists and critics, as well as members of top advocacy groups and more are set to participate. Panels will stream for free on NewFest's YouTube and Facebook channels.

The 32nd edition of The New York LGBTQ Film Festival will take place October 16-27, 2020, with the majority of the 120+ new films accessible online to ticket holders nationwide, and drive-in screenings, including the NYC premiere of Francis Lee's "Ammonite," available to those in the New York area. Tickets and passes are on sale now at

The full lineup is as follows:


QUEER TRIVIA NIGHT - Saturday October 17 at 10 pm EST
"RuPaul's Drag Race" alum Jackie Cox joins NewFest to host a virtual queer trivia night, where folks from across the country can partner with friends to test their knowledge of all sorts of LGBTQ arcana.

A special virtual live-read event of "Brokeback Mountain" to celebrate the film's 15th anniversary, featuring an all-star trans cast. This event is a fundraiser for The NewFest Future Fund and New York City Anti-Violence Project.

NewFest partners with House of Yes to throw a virtual dance party to close out My Girl Friday, a selection of films by and about the women, women-identifying, and non-binary members of the queer community.


THE BOYS IN THE BAND: UP CLOSE & PERSONAL - Monday October 19 at 6 pm EST
Presented by Netflix
NewFest Executive Director David Hatkoff sits down with "The Boys in the Band" cast members and director for an in-depth look at the new adaptation of Mart Crowley's smash hit play.
Panelists: Joe Mantello, Brian Hutchison, Tuc Watkins

HBO Max's "Equal": An Intergenerational Celebration of LGBTQ+ Icons
Presented by WarnerMedia
Featuring the directors and select cast from HBO Max's groundbreaking docuseries "Equal," this conversation focuses on the celebration of intergenerational and intersectional approaches the show takes to making LGBTQ Icons + legacies visible.
Moderator: Adam Golub (Creative Director, The Generations Project), Stephen Kijak (director), Kimberly Reed (director), Anthony Rapp, Theo Germaine

Filmmaker Virtual Roundtable with NYWIFT (New York Women in Film & Television)
Hear from narrative, documentary, and episodic filmmakers featured at NewFest this year as they discuss their work, from funding to completion to the film festival landscape and distribution.
Moderator: Barbara Vasconez; Panelists: Hang Nguyen (director, "Sideways Smile"), Olivia Peace (director, "Tahara"), Susan Sandler (director, "Julia Scotti: Funny That Way")

Centering Black Queer + Trans Voices in Film
Join NewFest Programmer Desmond Thorne and filmmakers premiering their work at NewFest as we celebrate our favorite films by and about the Black LGBTQ+ experience on film and discuss the importance of authentic representation and industry pipeline issues, as well as what we want to see in Black Queer + Trans narratives in the future!
Moderator: Desmond Thorne; Panelists: Seyi Adebanjo, Sheldon Brown, Robin Cloud, Terrance Daye, Nyala Moon, Cai Thomas

Global LGBTQ Advocacy
As David France's recent documentary "Welcome to Chechnya" spotlighted, film is an essential storytelling medium that provides awareness of, and access to, these vital stories. Join us for a conversation with leaders in the field, who are standing up for the visibility of our LGBTQ siblings around the globe.
Moderator: Adam Eli; Panelists: Kimhali Powell (Executive Director, Rainbow Railroad), Maria Sjödin (Deputy Executive Director, OutRight International)

LGBTQ Gathering Spaces in the Time of COVID-19
The Atlantic writer Spencer Hornhaber moderates a conversation focusing on the ways community gathering spaces, historic sites, and queer-owned businesses have been affected by COVID, and the pandemic's broader impact on the queer community, including its young people.
Moderator: Spencer Hornhaber; Panelists: Glennda Testone (Executive Director, The LGBT Community Center), Eric Vaughan (Manager of LGBTQ Programs, Office of Safety and Youth Development, NYC Department of Education)

BIPOC Queer Film Canon Kiki
Be prepared to create your winter watchlist with this discussion and celebration of LGBTQ+ films that center BIPOC characters, from celebrated auteur work to hidden gems that deserve to be recognized and added to the queer canon.
Moderator: Farihah Zaman; Panelists: Jourdain Searles, Kyle Turner, and more

Speak Out: Journalism through an LGBTQ Lens
NBC OUT's Editorial Director Brooke Sopelsa ?hosts this conversation around the importance of LGBTQ+ journalists in media and the vital critical lens that LGBTQ+ journalists contribute to the national and global news cycle.
Moderator: Brooke Sopelsa; Panelists: Kate Sosin, and more

Queer the Vote: A Conversation about Elections and LGBTQ Rights
A conversation with New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and candidate Marti Gould Cummings, the first non-binary candidate for NYC City Council, around the importance of LGBTQ candidacy, advocacy, and leadership in elections and elected office.
Moderator: Panelists: City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Marti Gould Cummings


New York Short Jury:
River Gallo (filmmaker, "Ponyboi"); Jeremy O. Harris (Playwright/Filmmaker); Julio Torres (Writer/Comedian/Actor)

US Narrative Feature Jury:
Rhys Ernst (filmmaker, "Adam"); Dino-Ray Ramos (Deadline); Isabel Sandoval (filmmaker, "Lingua Franca")

International Feature Jury:
Ed Gonzalez (Co-Founder & Film Editor, Slant Magazine); Jazz Tangcay (Variety); Kathy Tu (The New York Times)

Documentary Feature Jury:
Tre'vell Anderson (journalist); Whembley A. Sewell (Editor-In-Chief, them); Barbara Vasconez (Programs Manager, NYWIFT; Documentary Programmer, New York Latino Film Festival)

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