U.S. Narrative Jury Special Mention | Emerging New York talent Matthew Fifer co-directs, co-writes, produces, and stars in this powerfully intimate, sexy, and tragicomic debut feature, based on his own real experiences and those of his co-star/co-writer Sheldon D. Brown. When the philandering Ben (Fifer) meets Sam (Brown) outside of The Strand bookstore, it seems the two may have finally found the elusive perfect gay New York romance. As they grow closer, however, Ben’s childhood traumas begin to bubble to the surface while Sam’s own PTSD is revealed, testing the waters of their strengthening bond. An essential examination of love, interracial relationships, and reconciling the past, CICADA surprises with its strong sense of heart, humor, and humanity — not to mention its beautiful exterior cinematography that reminds us of why we continue to call NYC home. The film also features lovely comedic work from local familiar faces such as Scott Adsit (30 ROCK), Colbie Smulders (HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER), Jo Firestone (HIGH MAINTENANCE), and SNL’s Bowen Yang.