The Grand Jury prizes included Erica Tremblay’s Fancy Dance for Narrative Feature, Goran Stolevski’s Housekeeping For Beginners for International Feature, Daniel Goncalves’s Acsexybility for Documentary Feature, and Nyala Moon’s Dilating For Maximum Results for New York Short.
The announcement, which included a number of other grantees and award winners, was made today at the festival’s award ceremony in Brooklyn by NewFest Executive Director David Hatkoff, Director of Programming Nick McCarthy, and Programmer & Jury Coordinator Murtada Elfadl.
“This year’s 35th edition of The New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival has demonstrated that queer cinema is stronger than ever,” said Hatkoff and McCarthy. “The awards recipients prove the breadth of our community’s stories as well as the highest caliber of cinema. We are thankful to our esteemed juries and sponsors of these awards for their diligence and expert insights, and congratulate the award recipients and all of our filmmakers at NewFest35.”
As a part of NewFest’s Black Filmmakers Initiative, the festival presents three jury-selected filmmakers, who each have short-form work programmed in the festival that features Black LGTBQ+ leads, with the Emerging Black LGBTQ+ Filmmaker Grant.
This juried award goes to filmmakers that show an outstanding quality of capturing the Black LGBTQ+ experience with authenticity, insightful expression, innovation, and auspicious command of the language of cinema. The three filmmakers who received the Emerging Black LGBTQ+ Filmmaker Award, which is accompanied by a $1,500 cash prize, were directors Tramaine Raphael Gray for Becoming, Clementine Narcisse for Girl Blunt and Miranda Haymon for Sis.
In addition to the juried awards, NewFest also announced the award recipients for the NewFest + NYWIFT Emerging Filmmaker Award and NewFest + Vimeo First-Time Filmmaker Award. The 2023 recipient of NewFest + NYWIFT Emerging Filmmaker Award was Daisy Friedman, director of As You Are. The NewFest + Vimeo award for First-Time Filmmaker goes to Brielle Leblanc, director of The Year Long Boulder.
Earlier this week, NewFest awarded Academy Award and Emmy Award nominated filmmaker Todd Haynes this year’s Queer Visionary Award for his legacy and outstanding contributions to cinema. Haynes was presented with the award during a special in-conversation event prior to the screening of May December on Thursday, October 19.
The audience awards for the festival, which will include Best Documentary, Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Short and Best Narrative Short, will be announced after the festival on Tuesday, October 24.
The full winners and awards:
U.S. Narrative Feature Jury Awards
The NewFest 2023 U.S. Narrative Features jurors were Tribeca programmer Casey Baron, filmmaker/actor Pooya Mohseni, and publicist Curtis Russell.
Grand Jury Prize winner: Fancy Dance, directed by Erica Tremblay
Jury statement: “Fancy Dance explores issues of family and legacy in the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma without tokenization or exoticization. Anchored by the precise lead performances of Lily Gladstone and Isabel Deroy-Olson and crackling with a particular sense of place and culture, director Erica Tremblay’s domestic thriller builds toward a tender and powerful catharsis that rewrites the rules of the genre. At once an indictment of broken systems and a celebration of queer worldmaking, Fancy Dance is a fierce whisper that speaks volumes.”
Special Mention: Cora Bora
Jury statement: “Cora Bora maintains a dizzying high-wire balance of cringe comedy and pathos thanks to the light touch of skilled craftspeople on both sides of the camera. Director Hannah Pearl Utt shepherds a game ensemble through the chaos that Megan Stalter’s wounded Cora leaves in her wake, while Senda Bonnet’s humanist cinematography and Kent Kincannon’s razor-sharp editing augment the laughs in RhianonJones’ perceptive script. The awkward pansexual horse ranch orgy is icing on the cake.”
International Narrative Feature Jury Awards
The NewFest 2023 International Narrative Features jurors were editor-in-chief at them. Sarah Burke, Cleveland + Trinidad & Tobago programmer Ivonne Cotorruelo, and New York Times writer/critic Juan A. Ramirez.
Grand Jury Prize winner: Housekeeping For Beginners, directed by Goran Stolevski
Jury statement: “His third feature in two years, Goran Stolevski’s Housekeeping For Beginners – which the Macedonian filmmaker wrote, directed, and edited – extends a tender embrace outwards even as it holds its characters close. This ode to queer kinship frenetically introduces us to the biological, chosen, and wayward members of a fly-by-night family assembling itself in North Macedonia’s capital against a backdrop of settler colonialism, “passing,” unfriendly healthcare, and the universal clashing of personalities. The excellent ensemble animates Stolevski’s lively sense of atmosphere, tone, and pace, creating a group portrait that is equal parts considered, cacophonous, compassionate, and current.”
Special Mention: Carmen Madonia, lead performer in Something You Said Last Night
Jury Statement:.”Carmen Madonia’s lead performance in the touching road trip movie, Something You Said Last Night, is the kind of breakout an actor, and their audience, dreams of, let alone as their screen debut. Madonia creates a character whose witty demeanor makes us desperately want to hang out with her, with a depth beckoning deep wells of feeling, and heralding a strong new talent.”
Documentary Feature Jury Awards
The NewFest 2023 Documentary Features jurors were Coordinator, Documentary Fund at the Sundance Institute Evan Neff and Author/JEOPARDY! Champ Amy Schneider.
Grand Jury Prize winner: Acsexibility, directed by Daniel Goncalves
Jury statement: “Sensual and spirited testimonies are laid bare in this ode to the intersection of sexual life and disability. The film holds its participants in whimsical reverence while expanding the contours of Queer desire and joy. Unconscious biases are unmasked as the viewer is invited to embody the weird, wild, and wonderful.”
Special Mention: Má Sài Gòn (Mother Saigon), directed by Khoa Lê
Jury statement: “A Special Mention is given to Má Sài Gòn (Mother Saigon) for Khoa Lê’s lyrical direction which illuminates the grace in buoyant Queer lives and the enduring care with which we hold our communities.”
New York Short Jury Awards
The NewFest 2023 New York Shorts jurors were filmmaker Frances Arpaia, writer/critic at INTO Joshua Mackey, and SNL writer Celeste Yim.
Grand Jury Prize winner: Dilating For Maximum Results, directed by Nyala Moon
Jury statement: “Moon’s short is a detailed comedic depiction of one trans woman’s challenges with IRL intimacy. The jury was very impressed with Moon’s unique form, which combines the rhythm of animation with the emotional reality of live action. This exciting and touching film also succeeds at a very difficult task: making a situation funny for both audiences who have and haven’t experienced it. The jury unanimously agreed that Nyala Moon needs a TV show… Now!!!”
Special Mention: The Dalles, directed by Angalis Field
Jury statement: “With its subtle dialogue and lingering nature shots, Field’s short is a beautiful coming-of-age story for one young trans man. This compelling short conveys the weight of one small moment with intense empathy for its protagonist and a comforting combination of levity, lust, and longing. (And binder representation!).”
Emerging Black LGBTQ+ Filmmaker Grants (part of NewFest’s Black Filmmakers Initiative)
The NewFest 2023 Black Filmmakers Initiative jurors were filmmakers Elegance Bratton and Michael Rice and producer, model, actor and activist, Jari Jones.
Prize: $1,500 per film + 1-year Vimeo Subscription
Becoming, directed by Tramaine Raphael Gray
Jury Statement: “Becoming is a beautiful mesmerizing cinematic short that defies traditional storytelling conventions and takes audiences on a introspective journey of self-discovery with the lead character Shawn, a young black queer man who finds himself battling toxic masculinity in his community all while balancing his relationship with his brother Rashad. Directed by Tremaine Rapheal Gray, this film weaves together themes of identity, brotherhood, and the power of dreams with a touch of magic and realism, resulting in a thought-provoking narrative. Becoming is a skillful blend of surrealism and grounded reality that should get people in and out of the LGBTQIA community to have conversations regarding family dynamics, self-realizations, homophobia, bullying and a concurring theme of loving one’s self through adversity.”
Girl Blunt, directed by Clementine Narcisse
Jury statement: “Girl Blunt represents the emergence of a wonderfully idiosyncratic new voice in queer cinema. Clementine Narcisse’s film is full of promise. From its incredible sense of style through its strong performances by its two leads, and its unexpected visual storytelling choices, Girl Blunt gave us the munchies! The jury is happy to award the prize and can’t wait to see what this filmmaker makes next.”
Sis, directed by Miranda Haymon
Jury statement: “Sis is a love letter to the ever so familiar queer moment of spontaneity and chance, the Black Queer “YOLO” we’ve been waiting for. With its phenomenal leads, Sisstrategically and with much complexity gives us a romantic narrative that subverts the hetero, male and white rom-com default we are used to, leaving this NewFest audience with an efficacious hunger of what’s next, not only for the characters Michelle & Sadie but for Director Miranda Haymon as well !!! This year’s jury is honored not only to award this grant but honored to witness black queer excellence in cinema.”
NewFest + NYWIFT Emerging Filmmaker Award
Presented in partnership with New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) to recognize the work of an outstanding emerging filmmaker at this year’s festival.
Prize: $1,000 and 1-year membership to NYWIFT
As You Are, directed by Daisy Friedman
NewFest + Vimeo Award for First Time Filmmaker
Presented in partnership with Vimeo to recognize a first-timeshort filmmaker.
Prize: $1,000 and 1-year Vimeo Subscription
The Year Long Boulder, directed by Brielle Leblanc
Queer Visionary Award
Awarded on October 19th
Academy Award and Emmy Award nominated filmmaker Todd Haynes (May December)
NewFest’s New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival wraps its runs in person on Oct. 22 and will run virtually at home nationally through October 24. Screenings are accessible to ticket holders nationwide via NewFest’s on-demand platform, as well as locally in NY theaters.