N.Y. fest does ‘Mambo’

Event to close with 'Merci Docteur Rey'

French-Canadian comedy hit “Mambo Italiano” will open NewFest, the 15th annual New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, the lineup for which spotlights four principal themes: Camp, Gender Outlaws, Politics and Middle Eastern Sexuality.

Running Thursday through June 15, the event will kick off with Emile Gaudreault’s tale of coming out in an Italian family, which was acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films for the U.S.; it will close with Andrew Litvack’s contempo French farce “Merci Docteur Rey,” from Merchant Ivory Prods.

“Rey” stars Dianne Wiest, Stanislas Merhar, Jane Birkin and Bulle Ogier, with cameos by Vanessa Redgrave, Simon Callow and Jerry Hall.

Room for ‘Madame’

Centerpiece screenings are Karim Ainouz’s “Madame Sata,” a biopic of the Afro-Brazilian folk hero due for release via Wellspring, and Argentine helmer Diego Lerman’s story of three young women’s search for love, “Suddenly,” which Empire Pictures is distributing.

Other key titles include Anne Misawa’s early ’70s coming-of-age drama “Eden’s Curve”; Damion Dietz’s “Neverland,” a dark reimagining of “Peter Pan”; Alain Gsponer’s “Kiki and Tiger,” about the friendship and underlying attraction between a Serb and an Albanian in Germany at the start of the Kosovo war; and French director Jacques Nolot’s tender hardcore hardtop tale “Porn Theater,” opening this year through Strand Releasing.

Pitching Camp

Features screening under the Camp banner include Brit comedy “9 Dead Gay Guys”; Dutch candy-colored musical “Yes Nurse! No Nurse!”; and U.S. feature “Showboy,” which mixes fact and fiction in chronicling the exploits of a TV drama writer who gets fired and pursues a Vegas stage career.

Norwegian docu “All About My Father,” which examines the impact of transgenderism on a family, screens in the Gender Outlaw section, with “The Opposite Sex,” U.S. documaker Josh Aronson’s twin features dealing with female-to-male and male-to-female gender transitioning.

Strand’s Israeli army drama “Yossi and Jagger” will play in the Middle East focus, while the Politics section includes docs on social crusader Bayard Rustin; lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde; and the founders of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first public organization for lesbians in the U.S.

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