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Queens World Film Festival 2018 To Begin

The Queens World Film Festival Comes to the Museum of the Moving Image Astoria

queens world film festival 2018March 12, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Film in Queens / Queens World Film Festival / Queens Buzz NYC.

The 8th annual Queens World Film Festival begins on Thursday, March 15th at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. This year the festival will run eleven days, present 189 films, from 36 countries, in three screening rooms at the Museum of the Moving Image and the Zukor Screening Room at KAS in Astoria.

Tickets cost $15 per show, which you can obtain online at http://www.queensworldfilmfestival.com, and you may obtain a discount of $3 [$12 per ticket] by inputting the promo code qwff8.

The photo at right shows a scene from one of the films, entitled Lilly Riggs, by Brooklyn filmmaker Naman Gupta, which I'll tell you about later in this report while providing highlights about several films in the eleven day event. The information contained in this report was collected from the Queens World Film Festival website and in an interview with the Queens World Film Festival Artistic Director, Don Cato, and the Executive Director, Katha Cato.

Click here for an overview of the schedule and films for the Queens World Film Festival 2018.


Queens World Film Festival 2018 To Begin

The Queens World Film Festival Comes to the Museum of the Moving Image Astoria

queens world film festival 2018March 12, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film in Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC. Continued.

Queens World Film Festival Founders in 2018

The first thing I’m going to do is provide a bit of an update about the Queens World Film Festival and its founders, and then briefly describe a few of the films that caught my interest that were highlighted in the trailer on the Queens World website and that I briefly discussed with Don Kato who curates the films shown in the event.

Don and Katha Cato are a husband and wife team, where the boundaries between their roles oftentimes blurs, as they interact and act as a holistic unit that’s driven by their ‘baby’ the Queens World Film Festival. But that said, Executive Director Katha Cato handles a lot of the organizational and marketing aspects of the festival; while Artistic Director, Don Cato, curates the films and oversees some of the video production aspects related to the marketing. And both interact with the film makers.

Depth and Breadth of Local Films Shown at the Queens World Film Festival

queens world film festival 2018Katha told me that 31 of the films were made by folks from Queens and another 30 of the films were made by people living in three of the other four boroughs – Manhattan 18 / Brooklyn 14 and the Bronx 2.

Now in top 2% of film festivals rated by film makers. 6,000 film festivals. # 4 destination film festivals in America. Hamptons – for nightlife and QWFF – for food and curation.

Queens World Film Festival App & After Parties / Best Overview & Great Chance to Meet People

The Queens World Film Festival has also created an App which may be downloaded from their site. There will be an after party Thursday, March 15th, opening night at nearby Studio Square at 35-33 36th Street in Astoria, which is only a block away.

Queens World Film Festival – QWFF Kids Film Programs

queens world film festival 2018Katha embarked upon a new venture a couple of years ago to give life to the Queens World Film Festival year round, by presenting some of the films in educational, community and social forums where the content of the films was relevant to the groups to which they were presented. She also began working with a few of the local schools – to date in Queens and Manhattan only – teaching school children about filmmaking.

Some of the films made by the kids involved in these programs will be presented on Friday night, March 16th in the Kids Corner block of films. That night is the only night they are ‘going to roll out the red carpet’ for the contestants.

QWFF Provides Film Packages Covering Assortment of LGBT Themes

Also on Friday night, March 16th, in the Zucker Theater at Kaufman Astoria Studios a block away they will be showcasing three LGBT themed film blocks throughout the evening entitled Coming Out, Living Out and Older & Out. I inquired if this was a sort of lifecycle approach to LGBT themed films, and Katha replied in the affirmative.

On Saturday & Sunday, March 17th and 18th, there will be a whole host of films covering a breadth of themes and issues and from – as Katha & Don like to say – “Around the World and Around the Corner”.

queens world film festival 2018On Monday, March 19th there will be a film making workshop beginning at 5 or 6 pm that will show folks how to use the infrastructure in New York City and New York State to make films [Governor’s Office]. And from 7 pm to 9 pm there’s a workshop on how to crowd fund a film project [private company – Seed & Spark].

On Tuesday, March 20th there will be a presentation of the film Thank You & Good Night by Jan Oxenberg who is one of the Spirit of Queens Honorees. The film is a 4K restoration of her 1991 genre bending Sundance Film Festival documentary about death and dying.

On Wednesday, March 21st there’s the presentation of After Louie which is a film by another Spirit of Queens Honoree, Vincent Gagliostro, and starring Alan Cumming who plays an aging AIDS activist struggling to find new meaning in the post gay rights world.

Katy Honen, who organized the DNA Info reporters union, shortly before DNA Info was closed will also be there and be honored.

queens world film festival 2018On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 22nd through 24th there will be a variety of films shown with themes addressing immigration, use of the internet and freedom of speech. People involved in the making of these films will be present for conversations / Q&A after the films.

On Sunday night, March 25th, they will end the festival by showing a film block entitled Queens Korner, which includes eight of the 31 films made in Queens. This will be in the Redstone Theater beginning at 5.30 pm and many of the film makers, actors and participants are expected to be there. There will also be an after party / awards presentation at the Astor Room beginning at 8 pm, following the last screening previously mentioned on Sunday, March 25th.

Don Cato – Curator / Artistic Director for QWFF

After Katha and I discussed the general outline of the eleven day long festival, I started talking to Don about some of the specific films. As mentioned previously, Don is the Artistic Director or curator of the films, which he selects with the help of a dedicated committee [members names forthcoming]. It’s also worth mentioning that Don teaches film at the Digital Film Academy in Manhattan.

Film Blocks Arranged in Themes

queens world film festival 2018I had developed a list of films that caught my interest after scanning through the Queens World Film Festival website. I began by asking Don about them and what follows is a summary of our discussion. We started discussing the films and filmmakers, and the Queens World Film Festival website also does a nice job of providing viewers with relevant info.

For your convenience we included in which film blocks and on what dates you may view these films, and a few are also shown individually, which is more likely when those makers of the film will be present. So let’s begin with the film featured in the first photo shown in the introduction to this story.

Narrative / Documentary / Animation / LGBT / Feature Lengths & Shorts / Females

I. Black Cop – is a film about a black cop struggling with the issues of being an African American cop today. Not trusted by colleagues, nor his community and harassed by a radio talk show host, I’m told that BLACK COP rises to the occasion. queens world film festival 2018PG13 for strong language.
a. This film is being shown individually at 7:30 PM | Sunday March 18 | KAS Zukor. The film is included in one of the film blocks on Sunday, March 25th.
b. Don told me that last year the filmmaker ran a short in the Queens World Film Festival called Black Cop, which ran 10 minutes. This year the same director made the film into a feature so it now runs 91 minutes. Don also said the filmmaker has a distribution deal for the film. Toronto.

II. AFTER LOUIE - is a film about a former gay activist who’s confronted with generational differences of gay men today, versus the gay civil rights battles of the 1980’s and 1990’s when he was coming of age.
a. This film is being shown individually at 7 PM | Wednesday March 21 | MoMI – Redstone. The filmmaker Gagliostro will be at the Wednesday screening.
b. Don said this was a well-acted film by Alan Cumming about personal turmoil and recaptures the angst of a prior age. 100 minutes. NYC?

III. Lilly Riggs – A very cinematic film with good visuals, characterizations and music. Its about an ex-con, who upon getting out, plans one last job to set himself up for life … will things go as planned?
a. This film is being shown in the QWFF Film Block - Suspense & Neo Noir. At 9:30 PM | Thursday March 22 | Zukor.
b. Don said that Lilly Riggs was directed by Naman Gupta who lives here, and that it’s in the Neo Noir film block, which contains four films. All four films were nominated for awards, and Lilly Riggs was nominated for best narrative short and actor Paul Arthaud was nominated for best male actor. About 30 minutes. Brooklyn.

IV. Dalia – is a story about a post middle aged [50 to 60 years old] woman who is depressed and has a vengeful heart, because her husband left her for a younger woman. The film showcases her turmoil, emotional roller coaster and at times there’s humor via interactions with her maid who keeps here anchored. Pacing, acting, writing, cinematography, score all fit together well. The filmmakers of this feature won best feature at the Queens World Film Festival six years ago.
a. The film is being shown by itself at 3:45 PM | Saturday March 24 | Zukor.
b. Don told me that the filmmaker Rafael Escolar and one of the actresses are coming from Argentina. 84 minutes. Argentina.

queens world film festival 2018V. Light – is a documentary film about famous photographer – Gjon Mili – a guy from Europe came to MIT studied strobe light photography. He’s been featured in MoMA. Music and visuals are beautiful. Built a relationship w/ Spanish distributor of short films including American filmmakers.
a. Being shown in Queens World Film Block – Shadows & Light on Saturday, March 24th at 1 pm in the Bartos at MoMI.
b. 54 minutes by Yilka Cjellecha and Suela Bako, two European women who are coming for the screening. Albanian.

VI. Silver Bangles – is based on true incident. A barren Asian woman has married someone below her caste and becomes untouchable. Her husband wants to “be a man” and thus wants a child. He can take second wife or adopt. This discusses how they deal with the issue, as they live in poverty in an area that has Maoist rebels.
a. Silver Bangles is a film short in the Repercussions film block, which contains stories about people trying to pursue a better life. The film block is being shown on Sunday, March 25th in the Bartos at MoMI from 3 to 5 PM.
b. The filmmakers will be there. 14 minutes. Nepal.

Queens World Film Festival in Astoria March 15 – 25, 2018

I commented to Don and Katha that the Queens World Film Festival was looking more and more like a foreign film festival. They didn’t disagree and in fact went on to say that Queens is home to folks who come from around the world.

All in all it appears to be a pretty amazing line up for film lovers. Eleven days, 189 films from 36 nations, in three screening rooms in Astoria. Tickets are $12 with the discount code qwff8. You might want to order early as the festival has been growing in popularity over its eight years of existence.

Break a leg.


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