This October, NYFA was an official sponsor of two major New York City film festivals, the 61st annual New York Film Festival and the 35th annual NewFest. Through our sponsorship, NYFA was able to provide two free screenings at the NYFF for students in the New York City area and support the longest-running LGBTQ+ film festival in New York, NewFest, providing support to keep their festival as large and wide-ranging as it is. NYFA students also received free tickets to screenings at both festivals, as well as discount codes, special access, and chances to speak directly to filmmakers.
NYFA and New York Film Festival
The New York Film Festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious festivals in the United States, running every fall in Lincoln Center, showcasing a worldwide selection of film, mixing together highly anticipated releases, like Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, and smaller, independent films that don’t get a wide release in the U.S. As a Contributing Sponsor of the NYFF, NYFA is able to help ensure that this valuable New York tradition continues in its best form.
NYFF is known for its incredible, diverse documentaries, and that’s why we were thrilled to sponsor screenings of two of the documentaries this year for high school students across the city. Going To Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project is a documentary about the life of poet Nikki Giovanni and the periods of time in which she wrote, from the Civil Rights Movement to the Black Lives Matter movement. Image via People.
The film won the Grand Jury Prize in the Sundance U.S. Documentary Competition this year, and directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson arrived after the screening to conduct a Q&A with the students, later joined by a special guest: Nikki Giovanni herself! The following day, NYFF screened Orlando, My Political Biography, a visual reading of Virginia Woolf’s famous 1928 novel Orlando, read by 26 trans and non-binary people as different versions and evocations of the titular character. Reserved strictly for high school seniors and college students, director Paul B. Preciado took questions after the screening and gave NYFA attendees a unique opportunity to learn more about the documentary and filmmaking processes.
Although the New York Film Festival doesn’t do awards, all of the films shown have either won at earlier festivals, will win during awards season, or are at the least worthy of recognition. Some of the highlights of the festival included Todd Haynes’s film May December, starring Natalie Portman and frequency Haynes collaborator Julianne Moore, which opened to rave reviews at the festival’s opening night, director Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli’s final film, The Boy and the Heron, and Ferrari, Michael Mann’s new film, starring NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver.
NewFest is the largest film festival in New York dedicated to showcasing films of LGBTQ+ themes. Founded during the height of the AIDS epidemic in 1988, NewFest has always been about hosting a safe space for members of the community to come together and see themselves on screen. Hosting films from all over the world, just like NYFF, NewFest puts priority on showcasing films by women, trans filmmakers, and queer filmmakers both nationally and internationally. Although the festival is NewFest’s biggest program, they host events all throughout the year, including during Pride Month, where they showed the comedic smash-hit of the summer, Bottoms, two months before it was released in theaters. By partnering with NewFest as an Official Sponsor, NYFA helps keep that space alive and amplifies Queer voices while providing our students the opportunity to see these films as well.
Among the free and discounted tickets provided to NYFA students for the festival, NYFA and NewFest partnered to send an alumni ambassador to the festival to document their time at the festival! Filmmaking degree graduate Marian Fragoso was given the opportunity to see ten films at NewFest. Originally from Mexico and attending NYFA from 2021-2023, Marian had attended NewFest in the past and loved the festival. This year, they represented NYFA on Instagram, taking followers along on their journey from film to film. Marian’s favorite film of the festival is Big Boys, directed by Corey Sherman, a coming-of-age story about a chubby fourteen-year-old finding himself developing a crush on his cousin’s boyfriend on a camping trip.
Other highlights from the festival included Rustin, a Netflix film starring Colman Domingo, a biopic set during the Civil Rights Movement, and All of Us Strangers, starring Andrew Scott of Fleabag and Paul Mescal of Normal People, both sure to be hits this Oscar season. Another big hit of the festival was photographer Luke Gilford’s feature film debut, National Anthem, a beautifully shot film starring Charlie Plummer as a construction worker in Texas who joins a community of queer ranchers.
NYFA was thrilled to be a sponsor at these two essential New York-based festivals this year, and supporting these environments is an important goal of our academy.
The film festival director at NYFA, Crickett Rumley, said regarding the festivals, “In the film festival world, fall is peak season, and New York Film Festival and NewFest are two of the most prominent around. Not only did our students get to experience the festivals’ inspiring and beautifully curated programs, they also had the opportunity to network, level up by attending panels and masterclasses, and engage in the unique communities that festivals create to celebrate the art of cinema.”
We were very happy to provide students with tickets to some of the most highly anticipated films of the rest of the year months in advance and keep our students at the forefront of the industry.