By Nicole Breskin
CHELSEA — Fashion designer Marc Jacobs is rolling out the rainbow carpet Thursday for NewFest, the city’s annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival.
Jacobs, an activist for gay rights issues including the legalization of same-sex marriage — he designed t-shirts last year featuring a lesbian couple and the phrase, "I pay my taxes, I want my RIGHTS!" — is the festival's main sponsor.
“The creative energy Marc Jacobs brings to the world of fashion has also inspired and influenced the world of art and culture, not to mention LGBT activism,” said Larry Burnett, co-president of NewFest’s board.
The topics of the films being screened range from a controversial romantic relationship that develops between two Brazilian half-brothers ("From Beginnning to End") to the true story of how twin yodeling lesbian farm girls became superstar activists in New Zealand ("Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls"). Joan Rivers will screen and answer questions about her award-winning Sundance film “Joan Rivers, a Piece of Work” at the festival on June 9.
The festival closes with “Violet Tendencies,” a film about gay life in New York City featuring cameos from local nightlife celebs including Michael Musto, Hedda Lettuce and Jack Mackenroth.
"The opportunity to help foster creativity and support images and the stories of the GLBT community that might not be heard otherwise is very important to us," said Robert Duffy, vice president and chairman of Marc Jacobs.
More than 100 films from some 20 countries will be shown at various Manhattan locations through June 13.
The festival opens Thursday at 8 p.m. with a screening of Peruvian flick “The Undertow” at the School of Visual Arts at 233 W. 23rd St.
For a full list of screenings and to buy tickets, visit NewFest's website.