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Queens World Film Festival

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You Might See The Next Oscar Film Here

queens world film festivalFebruary 29, 2012 / Jackson Heights / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. I visited the home of Don and Katha Cato this past weekend. Don and Katha are the duo that are organizing the second annual Queens World Film Festival, which opens Thursday night, March 1st at the Museum of the Moving Image – and then returns to its home in Jackson Heights for the remainder of the weekend.

I spent hours talking to Don mostly about the films, and talking to Katha about film as well as various aspects of planning and organizing the film festival [they are shown in the photo to the right]. The following report includes a general overview of the Queens World Film Festival logistics, as well as many previews of the films that will be shown. The festival includes about twenty films by Queens based film makers. And who knows, perhaps one day one of them will be receiving their Oscar from the Academy in Hollywood.

Click here to read our report about the Queens World Film Festival 2012.


Queens World Film Festival

Film Festivals In Queens 2012

queens world film festival logoContinued. February 29, 2012 / Jackson Heights / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. For those that are looking for a quick overview of the film festival, scroll down to the end of the story for event schedule links, ticket prices and locations.

fun film events in queensWhen I arrived at the Queens World Film Festival HQ things seemed pretty calm, given it was the weekend before the big event. The troops were busy helping organize the tickets, the schedules, the films and so forth. Greg Stowell was there, helping Don organize the films, Keara of Astoria was there helping Katha organize many of the logistics and details, Jay and Regina were working on various projects and Jordan Mattos is the Associate Programmer for the festival.

Film Festivals In Queens – History I

film festivals in jackson heights 2012I learned that Don’s passion has long been film. It led him to meet, Katha, in Oregon while both of them were working on a film project quite a while ago. Eventually they both ended up here in New York Queens, where they eventually tied the knot.

Fast forward to 2007 when both of them volunteered to work on the Queens International Film Festival. For the next two years they volunteered to help with the Queens International Film Festival because they loved film, and loved interacting with all of the people involved in creating film works. The Queens International Film Festival ended its run in 2009.

Film Festivals in Queens History II

In 2010, Don and Katha began working on the first annual Queens World Film Festival, which opened in the Spring of 2011. We attended the festival and enjoyed watching several flicks including Maggie Marvel. Use the search function to find reports on prior and related film festivals in Queens.

Queens World 2012 – Film Festivals in Queens

film festivals in astoria jackson heights sunnyside licThis year Don and Katha began to hit their stride, making the Queens World Film Festival a year long labor of love. They screened nearly 200 films and will be showing about 130 of them. Many are shorts of only a few minutes, many more run about twenty minutes and there are also a number of feature length films.

The stories run the gamut from documentaries, to comedy, to drama and romance, animation and at least one musical. Don and Katha organized the films into film blocks, so that one interested in a certain theme might be able to see others like it. You can browse through the theme categories to find one or more that suits your interests, but the following will give you a small sample of the thirty or so category themes: a) Don’t Stop The Music, b) Murder, Neat, c) Absolutely Beautiful, d) LGBT, e) Remembrance and f) Occupy This.

Queens World Film Festival Organized Into Viewing Blocks

Don Cato has been teaching film at the Digital Film Academy in NYC. Katha also has a passion for film, which as mentioned above, is the medium through which they met. Katha told me that Don has produced nearly 200 different films about various subjects and spanning various film categories from shorts to drama to features.

As I sat down to talk film with Don, I wasn’t prepared to become so deeply immersed in the Queens World Film Festival, and by association, into Don’s appreciation for the digital arts. But I remembered how much I enjoyed Maggie Marvel last year, and so I listened attentively and here is what I learned.

Don informed me that there were about 30 blocks, which encompassed about 130 movies. The following will give you a solid sampling of the blocks and the movies contained within. You can click the link at the bottom of this story to visit their website where you can read even more than I’ve published here, as well as buy tickets.

Don't Stop The Music - Film Festivals in Queens in 2012

Can’t Dance is part of the Don’t Stop The Music block of films that is being shown on Saturday at PS69 at 8 pm. The romantic comedy, by Richard Uhlig, is set in Jackson Heights. The film is about a retired widower, who following his wife’s death, becomes engrossed in his train hobby. His wife, now a ghost, isn’t pleased with the situation and enlists the help of a neighbor.

The other two films in the Can’t Stop The Music block are Tenant, which is a fast moving, guitar strumming, short film about a girl talking to a guy about renting an apartment from him. And another film, entitled One Night Stand, is about writing, casting, rehearsing and performing a show within a 24 hour period.

Murder, Neat At Film Festival In Queens 2012

film festivals in queens 2012I met Conrad Stojak of Woodhaven Queens in 2009 at my first experience with the Queens International Film Festival. At the time Conrad was showing Woodhaven Pause, which was a very interesting and intelligent peek into a number of different social issues surrounding aging parents and caring for them. Not uplifting mind you, but very well written and acted. Click here to view our review of Conrad Stojak’s A Woodhaven Pause.

Fast forward to 2012 and Conrad is back as the Director of 100 Proof, a story written by Douglas Russo, also of Woodhaven. In this film a young’ish man “must deal with his mother’s death and face the darker side of his humanity, where violence and murder become common, and justified.” Sounds like fun … not. But I hear that there is some gallows humor included in the show. This film is part of the Murder, Neat block which shows at 5 pm at the 82nd Street Cinema. China Doll is also included in this block which is the story about Little Italy and Chinatown doing battle over a symbolic sword.

Mr. Bricks is described as a ‘heavy metal murder musical’ and is not included in any category as the film runs 87 minutes on its own. It’s about a crook who is wounded and seeks revenge on the policeman who shot him, and took his girl. After he kills the policeman, he goes berserk. Not for the kids and it’s full of blood and gore. Produced by Justin Martell and directed by Travis Campbell and starts at 10.30 pm on Friday, March 2nd at the 82nd Street Cinema.

Occupy This - Film Blocks At Queens World Film Festival

queens world film festival showtimes and locationsOccupy This is a block of films being shown on Friday evening starting at 6.30 pm at the Jackson Heights Cinema. The block includes a mix of intermediate and short films about social issues. Don and I watched one of the shorts entitled Gak Gak which is an animated film about chickens working in what seems to be a Wall Street office. The animation was beautiful and the storyline disturbing, but isn’t that the nature of a lot of realities in the world today?

Another film in the block is entitled GREEN The AmeriCan Dream which was directed by Robert Sarnoff. It’s a ten minute documentary about the people who pick up and recycle cans to make a living.

While We Watch is a documentary film about the Occupy Wall Street movement. It chronicles the efforts made those who made the un-institutionalized movement into a statement, “We are the 99%” because of their staying power and use of the social media.

Reconciliation Films at Queens World Film Festival 2012

The Reconciliation block is scheduled for 1 pm on Sunday at PS 69 in Jackson Heights. There are two movies in this block. One is about a Japanese woman who flies to NYC, after her boyfriend tells her “he’s living with god”. What ensues is a triangular relationship of Mariko [the Japanese woman], Tesuji [the boyfriend] and his god. Directed by Haruhito Naka of Queens.

The Reconciliation block also contains a film about the civil war in Sierra Leone, Africa entitled Fambul Tok [Family Talk]. It’s about tribal rites where forgiveness and truth telling go hand in hand. Apparently there’s a grass roots effort going on there which has met with some success.

Self Preservation & Absolutely Beautiful - Film Blocks QWFF

David Dixon Is Dead is included in the Self Preservation Block which is being shown at 5.30 pm on Saturday at the Jackson Heights 82nd Street Cinema. Director David Dixon wants his skull to be cleaned and transformed into an art piece after he dies. This is a mix of documentary – working through the issues with having this request fulfilled – and fiction – pretending David Dixon actually died.

Absolutely Beautiful is a block of films being shown at 3.45 pm on Saturday at the Jackson Heights 82nd Street Cinema. Don told me that the cinema, storytelling, animation and narratives were ‘beautiful’.

Aging - Film Block At Queens World Film Festival

One of the last two blocks we discussed including one on aging which is entitled Old Spice which begins at 11.30 am at the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights. This program will be moderated by a woman, Marlyn Mason, who acted in a 1972 film, The Trouble With Girls, starring Elvis Presley. Marlyn has a film in the program entitled The Bag about a middle aged woman who learns of her parents death pact to administer all of the drugs they’ve been hoarding when the time comes for them to die.

queens world film festival jackson heightsAnother film in this block is directed by Leslye Abbey and is about long time Flushing resident [since 1916] Catherine Papell. Ms. Papell talks about the process of aging through the lens of someone who has.

LGBT Films In Jackson Heights

The LGBT film block begins at 7.30 pm on Saturday at the Jackson Heights Cinema. There are eight films in this block most of which run in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 minutes. The following is a brief synopsis of a few of them. Uniformidas [Uniforms – as in school uniforms] is about a young eight year old girl in Spain who first realizes that she’s gay [English subtitles]. Queen is about a drag queen who documents the trials and tribulations of trying to adopt a baby when you’re a drag queen. And Rites Of Passage is about a Muslim who travels to Thailand to have a sex change operation.

Special Mentions - Queens World Film Festival

queens world film festivalOne of the films mentioned by Katha, which was produced by a Queens resident is entitled Hello Bambi, which is being shown at 12 noon on Saturday at PS 69 in the block entitled Alternate Styles. It’s about the Disney cartoon character Snow White and her hallucinogenic dream on her way to the emergency room. It’s an exploration of Jungian archetypes in life and film. The film was directed by Woodside resident, Faiyez Jafri.

And one of the films mentioned by Jordan Mattos was The Woods which is the first Kickstarter film to be premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. This 90 minute comedy is about a group of 20 somethings going into the Oregon woods and about how the wifi crowd grapples with nature.


Queens World Film Festival – Opening Night 2012 MOMI

For opening night only, you must come with a ticket, which you can obtain online by making a $25 donation. But note that as of Saturday evening, February 25th, there were only about 50 tickets left for opening night. Other tickets remain on sale and can be purchased at the door at the Jackson Heights locations.

Opening night runs from 6 to 9 pm and will be followed by an after party across the street. About eight films will be shown some of which are discussed in the report about the films in the festival that follows.

Queens World Film Festival – Event Times Jackson Heights

The film festival moves into Jackson Heights Friday evening, starting up at all three locations around 6 pm [click links to view maps for 82nd Street Cinema, PS69 and the Renaissance Charter School]. The festival resumes Saturday morning at 11.30 am and runs into the night and again on Sunday around the same time and running until late afternoon.

Queens World Film Festival Locations - 2012

Click here for maps to PS 69 in Jackson Heights, 82nd Street Cinema in Jackson Heights and the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights. Click here to view the location of - Opening Night only – which will be held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

Queens World Film Festival Ticket Sales & Prices

Tickets are $12 / $10 / $5 kids to view a block of films. You must come with a ticket to Opening Night [buy online for suggested donation of $25] as tickets won’t be sold at the door. An entrance pass to the after party at Studio Square is also included with the donation.

Queens World Film Festival 2012 Schedule & Film Descriptions

Click here for the contact info in our Business Directory for the Queens World Film Festival website, film schedule and tickets.


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