"At NewFest, an LGBTQ film festival becomes a form of resistance" --Entertainment Weekly

Submissions for NewFest's 33rd edition of The New York LGBTQ Film Festival (October 15 - 26, 2021*) will open on February 12th, 2021.

To see event listings for our year-round virtual programming and receive updates on the festival, please visit our website, sign up for our mailing list, and follow us on social media. Take care, be well, and we look forward to hearing your story.

As part of NewFest’s Black Filmmakers Initiative, we are currently waiving festival submission fees for Black filmmakers with LGBTQ stories centering Black characters & voices. To request a waiver code, please email submissions@newfest.org with information on your completed and eligible project.


Founded in 1988, The New York LGBTQ Film Festival is one of the world's largest and most respected annual celebrations of the year’s best queer films from the U.S. and abroad--featuring over 160 films from more than 30 countries, as well as special events that bring together filmmakers, celebrities, movie lovers, industry professionals, and the LGBTQ community.

Following its breakthrough hybrid festival, which took place virtually and at Drive-Ins from October 16 - 27th, 2020, NewFest will celebrate its 33rd annual edition of The New York LGBTQ Film Festival in October 2021 with multiple days of premieres, panels, and parties that attract audiences, filmmakers, tastemakers, and leaders in both media and the LGBTQ community. NewFest's collection of narratives, documentaries and shorts portrays the diverse and compelling stories from across the LGBTQ spectrum.

As one of the world’s most venerable and respected LGBTQ festivals, NewFest's impact in terms of propelling and fostering filmmakers while celebrating their stories is historic and global. NewFest is distinctive among LGBTQ film festivals for the high quality programming, outstanding press coverage, community engagement, savvy audiences, and sensational parties, as well as how the festival channels the creative energy of New York City to celebrate queer stories. NewFest is a festival that is not to be missed!

The New York LGBTQ Film Festival is produced annually by NewFest, New York’s LGBTQ Film and Media Arts Organization. NewFest gives voice and visibility to the full spectrum of the LGBTQ experience by championing films, supporting storytellers, and engaging audiences in order to inspire dialogue, shift cultural bias and empower our diverse community.

*(due to ongoing regulations around COVID-19, exact dates within October 2021 are subject to change)

Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature
Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature
Grand Jury Award for Best New York Short Film

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Audience Award for Best Documentary Short
Audience Award for Best Narrative Short

Feature Directorial Debut from a Black LGBTQ+ Filmmaker Award
Emerging Black LGBTQ+ Filmmaker Award

Films should be of interest to, and inclusive of, the LGBTQ community. We are seeking narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated films (both features and shorts) in 35mm, 16mm, or DCP (upon acceptance, NewFest will provide projection options for the specific venue in which the film will screen—IF THE FILMMAKER CANNOT PROVIDE THE CORRECT PROJECTION FORMAT, THE FILM WILL NOT BE SCREENED).

Rough cuts and works-in-progress are eligible for submission if the completed film will be ready for QC by September 1st, 2021. Please label the screener “Rough Cut” and specify what is missing (i.e. temp sound, needs color correction, etc).

By submitting your work to NewFest, you grant to NewFest a non-exclusive license to use an excerpt of your submission of up to two minutes in length, for promotional purposes only.

Still photos from your work are requested with your submission and are required for all films selected for the festival. Good stills make a difference in film placement and press coverage, particularly for short films. Even the shortest short can get press coverage or festival prominence with a captivating still. Stills must be in TIFF or JPEG format and 300dpi (dots per inch).

You are also encouraged to enclose a synopsis, production credits, press information, and other collateral regarding your film.

I have read and agree to the festival submission and participation requirements and certify that I am authorized to submit this film NewFest. I hold NewFest harmless from damage to or loss of the print en route or otherwise during the course of the festival’s possession of the film.

Overall Rating
  • Sarah Holland

    Despite going virtual this year due to Covid-19, NewFest continues to be a grand event with an amazing lineup. Communication was excellent from start to finish. Also thoroughly enjoyed the Zoom mixers with the other filmmakers and industry professionals. Many thanks!

    January 2021
  • Seth Hauer

    NewFest delivered a fantastic filmmaker experience, even in the difficult times of Covid-19. From LA, we felt very connected to the festival, were given multiple opportunities to network (virtually), and were able to watch all of the films. I hope to have a film here in the future and attend in-person, but this was the next best thing. Thank you!

    November 2020
  • Such a wonderful festival to be a part of! Great communication, promotional efforts, and thoughtful Q&As on the part of the festival.

    They were lovely to work with and I would happily submit another film in the future.

    November 2020
  • Solomon Amadiume

    Loved being a part of NewFest this year. Even with a whole pandemic afoot, the staff and programmers at Newfest really made the festival a wonderful experience with their drive-in series and going out of their way to make the filmmakers feel special.

    10/10 would recommend.

    November 2020
  • Ashlei Hardenburg

    I attended during 2020 - the year of our lord pandemic - and I have to say they had the BEST virtual experience. They were extremely communicative, they provided networking opportunities, and there countless ways to watch their incredible shorts programs, features, episodics, etc. They were the most accommodating and went out of their way to make filmmakers feel a part of the process. I loved this festival, highly recommend.

    November 2020