New York LGBTQ Film Festival Sets ‘Brokeback Mountain’ Live Read With All-Trans Cast; AFI Summit Program Lineup; Montclair Slate Finalized – Festival Briefs

NewFest is hosting a reading of Ang Lee’s groundbreaking Brokeback Mountain at its New York LGBTQ Film Festival on October 18, employing an all-trans cast for the event that commemorates the film’s 15th anniversary.

The cast features Leo Sheng (The L Word) as Ennis, Brian Michael Smith (911: Lone Star) as Jack, Jen Richards (Tales of the City) as Alma, Alexandra Grey (Empire) as Lurleen and Disclosure director Sam Feder as the narrator.

The original film starred Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as Ennis and Jack, respectively, cowboys who meet in the summer of 1963 and forge an unexpected lifelong connection full of joy, complication and tragedy. It scored eight Oscar nominations and won three, including for Lee’s directing and Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana’s script.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to The NewFest Future Fund, to benefit the organization and its programs for LGBTQ+ youth, filmmaker resources, and year-round screening programs; and the NYC Anti-Violence Project.

The virtual table read will be available on NewFest’s Facebook and YouTube channels at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on October 18.


The AFI Summit that will take place during next month’s AFI Fest will include conversations with Ava DuVernay, a documentary roundtable, a panel led by USC’s Dr. Stacy L. Smith on the portrayal of characters with mental health conditions in film and TV and a discussion with the team behind the Riz Ahmed movie Sound of Metal with members of the deaf community.

DuVernay will discuss the upcoming 10th anniversary of her Array collective, which has been commited to amplifying and advocating for independent films by Black artists, filmmakers of color and women directors. The docu roundtable includes a discussion with Ramona S. Diaz (A Thousand Cuts), David France (Welcome to Chechnya), Liz Garbus (All In: The Fight For Democracy), Ron Howard (Rebuilding Paradise), Kirsten Johnson (Dick Johnson Is Dead), Bao Nguyen (Be Water), Dawn Porter (The Way I See It) and Elyse Steinberg (The Fight).

The virtual AFI Fest runs October 15-22 and opens with Julia Hart’s I’m Your Woman and closes with Errol Morris’ My Psychedelic Love Story. Special presentations include the world premieres of Pink Skies Ahead, The Reagans and Really Love, and this year’s tributes will honor Sofia Coppola, Kirby Dick, Rita Moreno and Mira Nair.


The Montclair (NJ) Film Festival has unveiled the full slate for its ninth annual edition, which opens October 16 with Nomadland and runs through October 25 when One Night in Miami closes it.

Joining the already announced A Thousand Cuts in competition are Alexander Nanau’s Collective, Alex Gibney’s Crazy, Not Insane and Kim Snyder’s US Kids (Documentary Feature Competition); Mohammad Rasoulof’s There Is No Evil, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection and Christian Petzold’s Undine (Fiction Feature Competition); Mario Furloni and Kate McLean’s Freeland, Casimir Nozkowski’s The Outside Story and Jake Mahaffy’s Reunion (Future/Now Competition); and Kahane Cooperman’s The Antidote, Katrine Philp’s Beautiful Something Left Behind and Zeshawn Ali’s Two Gods (Documentary Feature Competition).

Each film in the MFF Virtual Cinema lineup will be available either only to residents of New Jersey or nationwide, some on demand and others with certain dates and times. More info here.

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