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NewFest Kicks Off Gay Pride Celebrations In New York



Friday, May 25-----June is the traditional month for celebration of Gay Pride in New York (and around the country, for that matter). It was on a hot and steamy night in June of 1969 that gay men and women, and several decorous drag queens, openly rioted against police harassment during a periodic police raid of the Stonewall, a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village. The Stonewall Riots became the touchstone for the modern gay rights movement that continues to battle for expanded privileges and protections against harassment and unequal treatment on the job, on the street and even in the bedroom.

The movement has also spawned an international flowering of the arts by and for the gay and lesbian community, in no area more prolific than the visual media. Gay-themed films now can translate into wide audience appeal and big business, and are no longer relegated to its core audience. Gay and lesbian film festivals have blossomed over the years and serve as a medium for uniting an often diverse community who share a unique sensibility on life and love. NewFest: The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Film Festival (May 31-June 10), celebrating its 19th anniversary starting next week, is one of the largest in the world, showcasing nearly 250 films, including 34 New York Premieres, 24 United States Premieres and 8 World Premieres, with over 30 countries represented. The Festival launches a month-long series of Gay Pride events which culminates with New York's legendary and infamous Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, June 24.

The Opening Night Film on May 31 is the New York Premiere of THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (film website: http://pictureofdoriangraymovie.com), a modern interpretation by director Duncan Roy of the Oscar Wilde classic. The film stars David Gallagher of television's 7TH HEAVEN in a modern twist on Wilde's tale of vanitty, narcissism and moral corruption set in New York City.

Closing the Festival on June 10 is the New York Premiere of Robert Cary’s drama SAVE ME, one of the most talked-about titles at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film stars Chad Allen, Robert Gant and Judith Light in a provocative drama about a confused gay addict who turns to an ex-gay ministry to be cured, but finds himself drawn to another man.

Centerpiece films of NewFest 2007 include the New York premiere of the Casper Andreas film A FOUR LETTER WORD, which is a NYC-set comedy about a man who unwittingly falls in love with a rentboy and the New York premiere of the new film from feminist director Jamie Babbit, the provocative ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTEEMelonie Diaz stars as an LA Latina who is drawn into a feminist guerilla group committed to  defacing commercial icons that degrade women. The film also stars Nicole Vicius, Carly Pope, Daniela Sea, Melanie Mayron and Leslie Grossman

NewFest is excited to present these exceptional films to New York audiences for the first time. As we approach the second decade of the festival, I am thrilled to present one of our best line-ups to date,” said Basil Tsiokos, the longtime Artistic Director of the Festival. Tsiokos, a highly visible figure on the international film festival circuit, has combed some of the major film events to compile a provocative and thought-provoking program that illustrates all stripes of the gay community. The Festival boasts a strong line-up of documentary films, which bring into sharp focus the political and social challenges of a worldwide community that still must remain vocal and vigilant nearly 40 years after the events of the Stonewall Riots. In addition, the Festival will present several illuminating and provocative filmmaker forums and seminars to compliment its film slate.

NewFest will take place from May 31-June 10 and will be hosted by AMC Loews 34th Street Theater (312 W 34th St. at 8th Ave). The full program, schedule, and ticketing information is currently online at the Festival's official website: www.newfest.org. So whatever your gender or sexual orientation, it's time to think pink and get your gay groove on (it's Gay Pride month, dahling).

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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