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Newark LGBTQ Film Festival 2024

April 28

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on April 27, 2024 at 4:00 am

One event on April 28, 2024 at 4:00 am

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Queer film festival in Newark, New Jersey that focuses on BIPOC films and filmmakers.

Organized by Newark LGBTQ Community Center Board of Directors and Volunteers

Schedule and details about each film:

Pre-Festival Screening Event – The Aggressives

FRIDAY, 4/19 @ 7:00 pm – Newark Local Beer, 538 Broad St.

Free w/RSVP



Opening Night

The Newark Museum of Art

49 Washington Street, Newark



Opening Night Reception

Friday, 4/26 @ 5:00-7:00 pm – Newark Museum of Art

We’re kicking off our weekend-long event at the historic Newark Museum of Art! This opening reception is a free event for the community, but you must register to attend. Hosted by the inimitable Harmonica Sunbeam, enjoy a refreshing libation and yummy bites while DJ NoRequests spins the beats.


Opening Night Film

Friday, 4/26 @ 7:15 pm – Newark Museum of Art

The Stroll + panel discussion

When Director Kristen Lovell moved to New York City in the 1990s and began to transition, she was fired from her job. With so few options to earn money to survive, Kristen, like many transgender women of color during this era, began sex work in an area known as “The Stroll” in the Meatpacking District of lower Manhattan, where trans women congregated and forged a deep camaraderie to protect each other from harassment and violence.


Reuniting her sisters to tell this essential New York story from their first-hand experiences, Kristen’s intimate narration and interviews bring an astonishing array of archival material of bygone New York from the 1970s through the early 2000s to life.

Directed by Kristen Lovell and Zachary Drucker, USA, 84 minutes.

Producer Matt Wolf; executive producers, Carlos King, Scott Shatsky; for HBO, executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, and Sara Rodriguez.


preceded by


An exuberant portrait of chosen sisters Mermaid and Milan, two emerging runway divas in the drag ballroom community. Celebrating their joy, siblinghood, and unapologetic personas, the film explores the power and beauty of being nonbinary in a community that can be both liberating and compartmentalized around gender.

Directed by Twiggy Pucci Garçon, USA, 16 minutes.

Producers: Colleen Cassingham and Jessica Devaney



Express Newark

54 Halsey Street, Second Floor


Filmmaker Meet & Greet Luncheon

Sat 4/27 @ 12:00 – Newark Express

Join some of the festival filmmakers for lunch and engaging conversation.

Free with advance registration.


Local Shorts

Sat 4/27 @ 1:00 – Express Newark / Lecture Hall

A collection of varied works by New Jersey and NYC filmmakers.



Brandon has resigned himself to a life unfulfilled until a single click of his camera forever changes his life.

Samantha Baptiste, USA, 3 minutes. Stars Reginald Keith Jackson, Jovel Roystan, Joyia D. Bradley, Don Comas.

Writers: Samantha Baptiste, Erby Beauvil, Mika Carten

Producers: Erby Beauvil, Samantha Baptiste, Mika Carten, Matt Lyons


Portrait on the Wall

When a spiritually-inclined artist is selected to showcase her art piece at an auction, she is left to walk the thin line between trauma and nostalgia, while her past and present lovers bid for her heart.

Directed by Opoku Boateng, USA, 16 minutes. Stars Kyra Lee, Enette Fremont, Brooke Christina Fraser.

Writer/Producer: Marilyn Ojo


Hold On to Me

A documentary celebrating Mother LaTravious, a Black Trans matriarch in her journey from caterpillar to butterfly.

Directed by Te Shima Anusha Brennen and Rajvi Desai, USA, 5 minutes.

Producers: Te Shima Anusha Brennen, Rajvi Desai


Girl Blunt

Two young women decide to use their newly found drug-dealing business to get revenge against a conniving man from their past.

Directed by Clementine Narcisse, USA, 11 minutes. Stars Angel and Aisha Robinson.

Writer: Clementine Narcisse


Dear Vanessa

Amidst a night of heartache and longing, two Asian girls, Lucy and Vanessa, seize an opportunity to get closer through laughter, tears, and shared dreams.

Directed by Roku Jingwen Long, USA, 15 minutes. Stars Jueun Kang, Isabel Yun-ru Chen.

Writers: Liz Shaodan Ji, Roku Jingwen Long

Producer Emily Xiaoyue Ruan


Spells for Safety

This poetic film delves into the idea of emotional safety, and the process director and narrator, River 瑩瑩 Dandelion, goes through to re-establish inner safety in the wake of emotional turbulence he lives through as a trans person of color.

Directed by River 瑩瑩 Dandelion, USA, 8 minutes.

Writer/Producer River 瑩瑩 Dandelion



Living in a world with clearly defined gender roles, a young black male exploring his gender expression must overcome his own phobias to live in his truth.

Directed by Roshawn T Bell, USA, 15 minutes. Stars Jerone Darden, Mariam Kamara, Chris Terrell, Shawn Dickerson, Brittany Barthelemy.

Writer: Roshawn T. Bell

Producers: Danielle Vauters, Maya Mesola, Third World Newsreel



Saturday Matinee Feature

Sat 4/27 @ 2:45 – Express Newark / Lecture Hall

Barrio Boy

Quique, a Nuyorican barber living in Brooklyn, embarks on an erotically charged odyssey of self-discovery. A chance encounter sparks an instant attraction between Quique and a handsome Irish stranger, but soon his friends grow suspicious.

Directed by Dennis Shinners, USA, 80 minutes. Stars Dennis Garcia, James Physick, Keet Davis, Manny Ureña, Pierre Jean Gonzalez, Michael Borrelli, Caitlin Mehner.

Producers: Crystal McIntosh, Dennis Shinners


preceded by


In the face of machismo, a father confronts that his son may be different from the other boys.

Directed by Adriana González-Vega, Puerto Rico, 12 minutes. Stars Gabriel Leyva, Jianna Pagán, Ricardo Alvarez Santiago.

Writer/Producer: Adriana González-Vega


New Jersey Symphony Chamber Players

Featuring the opera film ‘Opulent’

Sat 4/27 @ 5:00 – Express Newark / Lobby Space

Free – Live Performance!


Dreams Resurrected: The Other Lives of Sakia Gunn

Sat 4/27 @ 6:00 – Express Newark / Lobby Space

Premiere screening of two short films inspired by Sakia Gunn


Saturday Night Feature

Sat 4/27 @ 7:00 – Express Newark / Lecture Hall

Beyond the Aggressives: 25 Years Later

Revisits four of the original subjects from the groundbreaking 2005 film THE AGGRESSIVES — a seminal documentary centering masculine-presenting people of color assigned female at birth. The now iconic Kisha, Trevon, Octavio and Chin are back, sharing an array of their triumphs and challenges. And, through the voices of today’s queer BIPOC, the new film also delves into how much the language, culture and visibility of the transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming community has evolved, and grapples with the many complexities of gender identity, expectations and expression. All combined, these intimate stories and diverse testimonials reveal compelling insights into the queer experience and paint a deeply moving portrait of four trailblazing heroes.

Directed by Daniel Peddle, USA, 78 minutes. Features Kisha Batista, Octavio Sanders, Trevon Haynes and Chin Tsui.

Producers: Wellington Love; executive producers Robert A. Maylor, Tiq Milan, Stephen Friedman, Jacqueline Woodson, Kristen Wolf, Gerald Herman.


preceded by

2 Dollars

A troubled office worker finds the courage to leave their working life behind and pursue their dreams.

Directed by Robin Cloud, USA, 15 minutes. Stars Gabrielle Maiden, Karissa Lee Staples, Naomi Mack.

Writer: Robin Cloud

Producers: Tara Donovan, Jordan Tyner, Rutina Wesley


Date Night (shorts program)

Sat 4/27 @ 9:10 – Express Newark / Lecture Hall

An assortment of loves lost and loves found… and all the points in between.



Brandon has resigned himself to a life unfulfilled until a single click of his camera forever changes his life.

Samantha Baptiste, USA, 3 minutes. Stars Reginald Keith Jackson, Jovel Roystan, Joyia D. Bradley, Don Comas.

Writers: Samantha Baptiste, Erby Beauvil, Mika Carten

Producers: Erby Beauvil, Samantha Baptiste, Mika Carten, Matt Lyons


Across the Street

The sparks that come with falling in love at first sight… and the agonizing long nights that come with unrequited love.

Directed by Georgina Frias Juarez, Canada, 15 minutes. Stars Georgina Frias Juarez, Seána O’Hanlon.

Writer/Producer: Georgina Frias Juarez


A Suit We Wear

A young woman must choose between the date of her dreams and opening up to her mother about who she really is.

Directed by Meera Joshi, New Zealand, 13 minutes. Stars Shama Shaheen, Sudeepta Vyas, Nara Toktoshova.

Writer: Meera Joshi

Producer: Eric Mann


Cab Ride

Two queer lovers bolt out of a house party and into a waiting cab, where they have one eventful journey to figure out whether they are truly a match.

Directed by Ola Jones and Femi Tiwo, United Kingdom, 12 minutes. Stars Femi Tiwo, Michelle Nantuwa, Merch Husey.

Writers: Ola Jones, Femi Tiwo

Producers: Caro Ohemaa, Ola Jones


Dilating For Maximum Results

A whack, irreverent comedy about a black trans woman who tries to dilate, after four years of not dilating, to hook-up IRL with her online boyfriend.

Directed by Nyla Moon, USA, 14 minutes. Stars Nyala Moon, Alexandria Benford, Anders Geipel.

Writer: Nyla Moon

Producers: Sam Scolarici Moon, Eileen Malak



In this surrealist black comedy, a woman’s curiosity about her ex-crush’s new girlfriend complicates their cosmic meet-cute at a Brooklyn rooftop party.

Directed by Miranda Haymon, USA, 13 minutes. Stars Kara Young, Michelle Kariuki, Juliana Canfield.

Writer: Miranda Haymon

Producer: Candice Kuwahara


Only the Lovers

Amidst the imminent collision of Earth with a colossal planet, Amy, a closeted lesbian in her 70s, attends her friends’ wedding ceremony, reuniting with a secret love from her youth.

Directed by Jocelyn Jihyun Koo, USA, 15 minutes. Stars Sarah Lilly, Lauren of Southern Peterson.

Writer: Duc Anh Nguyen, Shubhi Sahni

Producers: Duc Anh Nguyen, Shubhi Sahni


Emerald City

Two young men cross paths on the back roads of the American Southwest and, despite their different backgrounds, find common ground along the Border.

Directed by Josef Steiff, USA, 21 minutes. Stars Alan Vasquez, Havon Baraka, Arasha Lalani, Rob Riordan.

Writer: David Bobrow

Producers: David Bobrow, Josef Steiff




Rutgers Paul Robeson Center

350 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Newark


Sunday Screening (Free for Students!)

Sun 4/28 @ noon – Rutgers Paul Robeson Center / theater #1

Egghead & Twinkie

Bursting with colorful animation and comic book flourishes, a comedic coming-of-age story about embracing your identity, and the ups and downs of best friendship. After awkwardly coming out to her conservative parents, Asian-American teen, Twinkie, convinces her BFF, Egghead, to come along on a cross-country road trip to meet her online crush at “Lez Dance,” a big lesbian dance party in Texas. Unfortunately, Egghead has no idea what he’s being roped into…and he just confessed his long-hidden feelings for Twinkie, with disastrous results.

Directed by Sarah Kambe Holland, USA, 87 minutes. Stars Sabrina Jie-A-Fa, Louis Tomeo, Asahi Hirano, Ayden Lee.

Writer: Sarah Kambe Holl

Producers: Danielle Fountaine, Sarah Kambe Holland, Valerie Starks


preceded by

Cover Up

After a disheartening encounter with other students, a young transwoman regains confidence with the help of her kind-hearted crush.

Directed by Abigail Espinal, USA, 7 minutes. Stars Abigail Espinal, Venus Scantlebury.

Writer: Abigail Espinal


Be-Longing (shorts program)

Sun 4/28 @ 12:15- Rutgers Paul Robeson Center / theater #2

A collection of works chronicling the queer immigrant experience.



Intending to figure out the root cause of her fractured relationship with her son, Tunde, Mrs. Abiodun arrives from Africa for a surprise visit in the US… only to find him shacked up with Nadir.

Directed by Lionel Onyekwere, USA, 19 minutes. Stars Ebenezer Alasi, Tosin Taiwo, Maurizio Bandi.

Writer: Lionel Onyekwere

Producer: Ajay Mohamed


Breaking the Fourth Wall

Defying censorship, three LGBTQ+ playwrights from Kenya and Uganda navigate acceptance and resistance as their plays are staged at the Criminal Queerness Festival in NYC, an event that highlights works from countries where being gay is illegal.

Directed by Achiro P. Olwoch, USA, 17 minutes.

Producers: Lillian Isabella, Sara Mermelstein, Andrea Munger


Belonging: A Trans Immigrant Story

Anjali Rimi shares her gender journey as a trans, immigrant woman, and the challenges she faces in leading the United States’ first and only Transgender-led South Asian Organization called Parivar (Family). But Anjali’s fight for acceptance and equal opportunity is not confined to the US and, by following her work across 24 cities and communities in India, during and after the pandemic, we are given a glimpse of the struggles of the culturally diverse trans, hijra, and kinnar identities within them.

Directed by Amir Jaffer, USA, 40 minutes.



Being & Becoming (shorts program)

Sun 4/28 @ 2:00 – Rutgers Paul Robeson Center / theater #1

A range of short films that explore gender, identity, and the ways in which queer people present themselves to each other and to the world.



A quiet and obedient boy tries to please his strict and opinionated father as best he can. Now as a young man, he realizes that his sexuality places his relationship with his father in jeopardy.

Directed by Mya Breyana Morton, USA, 10 minutes. Stars Chris June, Ryan Ashley

Writer: Chris June

Producer: Rufaro Musosvi


Who Am I Becoming

A documentary short chronicling Payton Royce’s early stages of gender transition through to gender affirming surgery, including footage shot at the time as well as current reflections on his journey.

Directed by Payton Royce, USA, 12 minutes.

Writer: Payton Royce

Producers: Odu Adamu, Payton Royce.


He They

Ronnie, a documentary filmmaker, confronts his upbringing to reinterpret the influences that shaped their perception of boyhood.

Directed by Ronnie Braithwaite, USA, 15 minutes. Stars Aiden Berry, Ayden Payne, Ronnie Braithwaite.

Writer/Producer: Ronnie Braithwaite


RAM (Like the Verb)

During the casting process for a reality series, an openly gay Asian actor reconciles his sexuality with his career struggles.

Directed by Chance Calloway, USA, 8 minutes. Stars Charlit Dae, Kyle Rezzarday, Yoshi Sudarso.

Writer: C.S.R. Calloway

Producers: Elton Keung, Matthew Elam


Code Switch

Follows a Black trans person as they navigate the barbershop, illuminating the complexity and dynamism of gender expression.

Directed by Micha Lyric Borneo, USA, 5 minutes. Stars Tiph Browne.

Writer: Micha Lyric Borneo

Producers: Micha Lyric Borneo, Davis Alexander James, Malcolm Thorndike Nicholson.



Living in a world with clearly defined gender roles, a young black male exploring his gender expression must overcome his own phobias to live in his truth.

Directed by Roshawn T Bell, USA, 15 minutes. Stars Jerone Darden, Mariam Kamara, Chris Terrell, Shawn Dickerson, Brittany Barthelemy.

Writer: Roshawn T. Bell

Producers: Danielle Vauters, Maya Mesola, Third World Newsreel


Workshop – (Free!)

Sun 4/28 @ 2:15 – Rutgers Paul Robeson Center / theater #2

From Idea to Impact: The Essentials of Content Creation

In this hour-long workshop, experienced content creator Diandra Marie will teach you how to create engaging content. Learn about storytelling, effective techniques for the digital age, and using your unique voice to make an impact. Whether you’re a teen or an adult, this workshop will elevate your content creation skills to a new level!

Diandra Marie, the visionary behind “Limitless Visions,” is a self-taught videographer, cinematographer, and content creator. She’s a powerhouse advocate for mental health, amplifying Black, queer, and transgender voices through her captivating work.


Closing Film

Sun 4/28 @ 3:45 – Rutgers Paul Robeson Center / theater #1

Our Son

Married for 13 years, same-sex couple Gabriel and Nicky appear to have the perfect life together. However, when growing stress and anxiety leads to divorce, each man finds himself fighting for custody of their young son.

Directed by Bill Oliver, USA, 104 minutes. Stars Luke Evans, Billy Porter, Phylicia Rashad, Robin Weigert, Andrew Rannells, Kate Burton.

Writers: Bill Oliver, Peter Nickowitz

Producers: Fernando Loureiro, Eric Binns, Guilherme Coelh, Jennifer 8. Lee, Christopher Lin.


preceded by


In this animated musical, a lonely widower gets another chance at love by opening his heart and accepting his grandson’s identity.

Directed by Brian Vincent Rhodes, Christopher Lennertz, United Kingdom, 9 minutes. Stars Alex Newell, Phillip Lawrence.

Writer: Christopher Lennertz

Producers: Magdiela Hermida Duhamel, Darlene Caamaño Loquet, Alex Bedford, Ben Parkin, ND Stevenson





Express Newark

54 Halsey Street

Newark, NJ 07102


The Newark Museum of Art

49 Washington Street

Newark, NJ 07102


Rutgers Paul Robeson Center

350 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd

Newark, NJ 07102



Our mission is to amplify the voices, vision and works of film that would otherwise struggle to find a mainstream audience but have a significant impact in raising awareness around lives and issues of queer people and queer communities of color. This event will bring people together while celebrating the rich history and bright future of artistic contributions from the LGBTQIA+ BIPOC community in Newark and beyond.