3 Extraordinary Documentaries with NYC Premieres at NewFest 30th

Montgomery Clift, Fire Island's Cherry Grove and LGBTQ Youth lead the Pack

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Never did the truth looks so good...or entertaining!  That is the truth about these 3 extraordinary and diverse documentaries having their NYC premieres at the 30th Annual NewFest opening this Wednesday, Oct. 23rd through to Oct. 30th.    NewFest closes it's dynamic LGBTQ festival with the critically acclaimed gala film MAKING MONTGOMERY CLIFT,  a fascinating exploration that demystifies false narratives plaguing the legend and his family - revealing a Monty the public has never known all through a familial lens directed by Monty’s nephew, Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon. (Trailer: https://vimeo.com/289897587/88900b6e8f  Tickets: https://newfest.org/film/making-montgomery-clift-closing-night-film-party/). For the quintessential NYC documentary, catch CHERRY GROVE STORIES, and endearing NYC love letter to Fire Island and its incredible queer evolution spanning the 1940’s to today.  The film entertainingly recounts time in Cherry Grove including queer origins, Tennessee Williams and Liza Minnelli visits, decadent parties, sexual liberation, HIV alienation and the continual swinging of indecency law enforcement…all with a treasure trove of fabulous, unseen archival footage of the beloved haven.  This deligtfully fun doc got sold out early, but a new encore screening has been added.   (Trailer: https://vimeo.com/217248692  Tickets: https://newfest.org/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-date=2018-10-01&tribe-bar-search=cherry+grove+stories).  And finally, for those looking to be inspired and moved beyond measure about our LGBTQ youth, check out the acclaimed, heartwarming Revry Original ROOM TO GROW which chronicles the lives of seven heroic LGBTQ+ teens and their families in cities across the country, offering an intimate glimpse into their lives as they endeavor to find an identity that fits and a place in their communities.  The film includes the enchanting Savannah, featured in the HBO/Live Nation documentary feature BELIEVER.  (Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrtOyjZ3VuI&feature=youtu.be.  Tickets: https://newfest.org/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-date=2018-10-01&tribe-bar-search=room+to+grow)


Synopsis for all films below:


Montgomery Clift was one of the most influential actors in the history of cinema, bucking traditions on and off screen, but countless biographies have reduced him to labels like “tragically self-destructive” and “tormented.” Now, nephew Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon rigorously examine the flawed narratives that have come to define Monty’s legacy. Drawing on interviews with family and loved ones and a rich collection of unreleased archival materials from Monty and his brother, Brooks Clift, this fresh portrait of the actor’s passions, contributions and commitment to living and working in his own way gives one of Hollywood’s underappreciated legends his due.


In an era when it was illegal for two men to hold hands in public, the pristine beachfront hamlet of Cherry Grove on Fire Island, N.Y., was a safe haven for gays who were often targeted for arrest and prosecution. Through interviews with residents and new and archival footage, Michael Fisher’s oral history of the enclave uncovers long-hidden secrets and exposes little-known stories that are more relevant than ever today.

Fisher, who has been going to Cherry Grove for 32 years, was inspired to make the film by long-time resident Michael Delisio. “Michael was one of the first men to go to Cherry Grove in the 1950s,” Fisher says. “He is a great storyteller, and his tales of the early days of Cherry Grove inspired me to capture the many anecdotes about the community before all the old timers are gone.”

In Cherry Grove Stories, residents recount the history of the hamlet, starting in the 1940s when gay men first began congregating in a place that offered a rare refuge from the pervasive homophobia of the time. They tell many funny, even outrageous tales: the first drag parties, when attendees had to hide their dresses and heels under the floorboards of their hosts’ house for fear of being arrested for wearing women’s clothes; escapades in the infamous Meat Rack, and how some escaped police raids by hiding in the bay; and the first drag flotilla on the Fourth of July in 1976, when drag queens “invaded” the nearby Pines. 

Fisher believes the current anti-LGBT climate makes Cherry Grove Stories more important than ever“Men were still being arrested in the Meat Rack in the 1970s, which is not that long ago, and there has been heightened harassment there today,” he points out. 


Revry Original ROOM TO GROW chronicles the lives and stories of seven LGBTQ+ teens and families in cities across the country, offering an up-close and intimate glimpse into their daily lives as they endeavor to find an identity that fits and a place in  their communities.  ROOM TO GROW shows just how important it is for LGBTQ+ teenagers to receive the support they need at home, at school, at church, and in the world to reach their full potential.  Kids grow up fast, and it’s amazing how much these teenagers changed within 12 months.  The Bridging Voices Queer Youth Chorus is a Portland singing group that provides a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ+ youth.  The teens and families of Bridging Voices were the inspiration and catalyst for the beginnings of the documentary we would go on to create with them.  The film includes the enchanting Savannah, featured in the HBO/Live Nation documentary feature BELIEVER.