10 Lesbian and Queer Films You Can Catch At NewFest This Weekend

For lesbian and queer women in particular, representation in cinema has grown rapidly in 20GayTeen.

In its 30th year, NewFest, New York’s largest LGBTQ film festival, is celebrating with its most impressive lineup to date. While amplifying our voices and bringing enthusiasts of queer cinema together, NewFest also excels in showcasing diverse creators and narratives; no letter in our community is ever invisible in their program.

For lesbian and queer women in particular, representation in cinema has grown rapidly in 20GayTeen, which is certainly reflected in this year’s NewFest bill (not to mention, they’re doing 20th anniversary screenings of lesbian classics High Art and Gia). If you’re attending this amazing festival — or just need more media about LGBTQ women to keep on your radar — here are the 10 movies you need to know about.

Dykes, Camera, Action!

Photo by Caroline Berler

If you’re interested in learning about the radical beginnings of lesbian cinema, then Dykes, Camera, Action! is exactly what you need. Exclusively focusing on lesbian visibility in film from the 1970s to now, this documentary made by Caroline Berler features in-depth discussions with the genre’s biggest innovators, including Barbara Hammer, Su Friedrich, Cheryl Dunye and Rose Troche. While we look forward to the future of lesbian cinema, it’s always essential to acknowledge and celebrate its roots.

Location: SVA Theater
Date: Saturday, Oct 27
Time: 6PM
Tickets

Rafiki

Photo by Film Movement

After making a splash at Cannes, all eyes are on Wanuri Kahiu’s groundbreaking lesbian film in anticipation. Taking place in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi, Rafiki centers the love that blossoms between teenagers Kena and Ziki. As their vibrant relationship grows, the two girls will come face to face with the difficulties of being gay while living in a conservative society. Originally banned in Kenya for “promoting lesbianism” (the ban was recently lifted for a week and screened for Kenyan audiences), Rafiki has the ability to open up the conversation about LGBTQ acceptance in a nation that is typically unwelcoming.

Location: SVA Theater
Date: Friday, Oct 26
Time: 6:30PM
Tickets

Fish Bones

Photo by Joanne Mony Park

The debut feature by Joanne Mony Park weaves a beautiful exploration of love alongside ethereal cinematography. During her winter break from university, Hana instantly becomes attracted to charming music producer Nico, who has the self-assurance that Hana longs to grasp. While falling in love with Nico, Hana is torn between the traditional expectations of her Korean family and embracing who she truly is.

Location: SVA Theater
Date: Saturday, Oct 27
Time: 8PM
Tickets

Eva + Candela

Photo by Ovella Blava Films

NewFest’s website describes Eva + Candela as “South America’s evocative answer to Blue Is the Warmest Color,” which easily makes it a must-watch. Ruth Caudeli’s film captures romance between two women working in the movie business: a director and the lead of her debut. Their common dreams to take on cinema drives the evolution — and ups and downs — of their deep, intimate connection.

Location: Cinépolis Chelsea
Date: Saturday, Oct 27
Time: 6:45PM
Tickets 

Jules of Light and Dark

Photo by Artless Media

Daniel Laab’s coming-of-age feature examines loneliness and uncertainty that queer individuals often experience. When on again, off again girlfriends Jules and Maya total their car after a wild night raving, the two are rescued by a divorced oil worker named Freddy. While Jules recovers, Maya and Freddy develop a rapport and encourage each other to chase their biggest dreams.

Location: Cinépolis Chelsea
Date: Monday, Oct 29
Time: 6:45PM
Tickets 

Lez Bomb

Photo by Gravitas Ventures

With a rom-com renaissance in full force, Lez Bomb couldn’t arrive at a better time. Directed by Jenna Laurenzo, a closeted young woman Lauren brings her girlfriend home for Thanksgiving, but her attempts to come out are derailed when her male roommate arrives unexpectedly. If you can’t catch Lez Bomb at NewFest this year, the film will be released in theaters and on-demand November 9.

Location: Cinépolis Chelsea
Date: Monday, Oct 29
Time: 9:30PM
Tickets 

Silvana

Photo by TriArt Film

With fearless lyrics about sexual identity, feminism and politics, lesbian rapper Silvana Imam has gained a massive following in her native country of Sweden. This documentary, directed by Mika Gustafson, chronicles the early years of her musical career and rise to become an icon, as well as her romantic relationship with Swedish pop artist Beatrice Eli.

Location: Cinépolis Chelsea
Date: Thursday, Oct 25
Time: 9:15PM
Tickets 

Until Rainbow Dawn

Photo by JSLTime

Featuring a deaf cast and crew, Mika Imai’s Until Rainbow Dawn centers on Hana and Ayumi, two deaf girls who meet in their sign language group and eventually embark on a romantic relationship. After Hana experiences rejection from her parents after coming out, Ayumi takes her to a deaf LGBTQ gathering in Tokyo, where Hana meets like-minded people for the first time, and eventually realizes the beauty of being who she is.

Location: Screening Room at The Center
Date: Monday, Oct 29
Time: 7:30PM
Tickets

Bixa Travesty

Photo by Canal Brasil

A Teddy Award winner for Best Documentary/Essay Film, Bixa Travesty documents the musical career of Brazilian transgender artist Linn da Quebrada. With their extravagant costumes and performances, Linn not only captivates audiences but also resists the rigid gender expectations of their country.

Location: Cinépolis Chelsea
Date: Friday, Oct 26
Time: 9:45PM
Tickets

For Izzy

Photo by Who What Where Industries

With an all-Asian cast, Alex Chu’s drama delivers an impactful narrative about the bonds of family. For Izzy tracks four neighbors whose lives quickly intertwine: retired divorcee Anna, her lesbian daughter Dede, widowed father Peter and his millennial daughter Laura, who is on the autism spectrum. Together, these characters assist each other in overcoming adversities like addiction and loneliness, eventually making them grow closer.

Location: Cinépolis Chelsea
Date: Saturday, Oct 27
Time: 9:45PM
Tickets

NewFest will feature more than 140 features, documentaries, episodic series, and shorts, and runs October 24 to 30. For more information and tickets, make sure to visit their website.