NewFest – the Film and Media Arts organization that will present its annual festival of LGBT cinema from October 20 to October 25 in partnership with Outfest and sponsored by HBO – announced today that Emmy Award-nominated actor Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) will be receiving NewFest’s very first Voice & Visibility Award during the festival. Burgess will be presented the award by Emmy Award-winning actress Debra Messing (“Will & Grace,” “The Mysteries of Laura,” “Smash”). The award will be given on Opening Night of the 28th Annual New York LGBT Film Festival, October 20th at 7pm, before the screening of the North American Premiere of the highly anticipated THE PASS starring Russell Tovey.
“It’s an honor to be the first recipient of this award. What a lovely reminder to us all that being yourself gives others permission to stand proudly in their own individuality,” Burgess said.
“I couldn’t be happier to have Tituss Burgess receive NewFest’s inaugural Voice & Visibility Award to kick off our 28th Annual festival,” said Robert Kushner, NewFest’s Executive Director. “NewFest is all about LGBT storytelling, and as an immensely talented actor of both stage and screen, Tituss presents his characters and his own stories with insight, strength, and heart–echoing the power and passion of the LGBT community.”
NewFest’s mission is to give voice and visibility to the full scope of the LGBT community by presenting films and supporting filmmakers, writers and actors whose stories entertain, educate and empower. The Voice & Visibility Award will be presented to Burgess in recognition of his contributions both on and off screen, which have resonated with LGBT audiences through his boundless positivity, presence, and wit. He will be presented the award at NewFest’s Opening Night Gala at Chelsea’s SVA Theatre on Thursday, October 20th at 7pm.
Although Burgess will be receiving NewFest’s first Voice & Visibility Award, past Visionary Award recipients from NewFest include writer-director Ira Sachs, producer Christine Vachon and LGBT rights icon Edie Windsor.
The 2016 NewFest full program, which was announced last week on Sept. 14th, is currently available online at newfest.org/2016.