Reeling in the world at the Queens World Film Festival
by Lisa A. Fraser
Mar 02, 2011 | 32206 views | 0 0 comments | 1600 1600 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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A still from Fork in the Sky.
Queens is known as the microcosm of the world. We all know this. So it’s only right that the borough would host a film festival fittingly called the Queens World Film Festival. Yes, Queensites, that festival is now – Thursday, March 3 to Sunday, March 6 in Jackson Heights.

It evolved out of last year’s Queens International Film Festival, which found itself thriving despite the arrest of founder, Maria Castaldo, for animal abuse.

Katha and Don Cato, revamped the film festival this year, giving it a new name, keeping the same old traditions and bringing in the best the world has to offer.

This year, over 400 films from all over will be on view in two different venues, the Jackson Heights Cinema and the Renaissance Charter School.

The Catos, who themselves have grown to call Queens their home, want the borough to be put on the map when it comes to films.

“People from all over the world land in or drive through our borough and we have a huge film-loving audience here,” said Katha Cato. “We want Queens to be a destination for fellow film lovers.”

The Queens World Film Festival also offers a Youth Initiative program, ran by Katha, and two panels: So your Child wants to be a Filmmaker…Don’t Panic! and Film Finance in the New Market.

The best part of the film festival could very well be the price. Tickets for opening night are $10 per person. Each day after, tickets cost $6 per person per film block (groups of similar films) and $3 for seniors and children under 18. A festival pass costs $36.

Of course, we won’t leave you without noting a few films made from the borough’s own filmmakers.

Flower of a Girl

A despondent woman lies curled up on her bathroom floor, unable to rouse herself. She hears an echo of a laugh and searches the mirror, finding an image of her younger self… will she ever get up off the floor?

Experienced filmmaker Kim Cummings of Jackson Heights based this short on a poem written by fellow Jackson Heights resident, Rebecca Gopoian.

Fork in the Sky

Wei-Chu (Beryl) Chen of Astoria says this short “is an animation that explores the effect that simple daily choices have on the larger outcome of a person’s life. Constructed from two interwoven tales, which are adopted from my personal experience, the animation uses a handmade illustration style that merges watercolor, ink, and scanned objects, to present the divergent paths of two young girls.”

DJ Rob Swift Live! The Documented Movement

Having got his start as a DJ at age 12 from watching his father DJ Latin parties and older brother introduce him to Hip Hop, Jackson Heights native Robert Aguilar AKA Rob Swift pursued his love for music. This documentary chronicles one aspect of Swift’s fast-moving career.

The Love Permit

Christopher Ludgate of Astoria calls this short an inspired original piece that’s very close to his heart. Naive Mr. Young is strapped to the hot seat in a very controlled political environment that imposes some outrageous sanctions on people’s lives … finding himself increasingly on guard, he becomes tangled in red tape and incriminating words.

The Cadets

Part of an initiative by Academy for Careers in Television and Film in Long Island City, and ran by Alan Metzger , youth filmmakers like Frisly Soberanis of East Elmhurst have their films featured at the festival. Soberanis is a 17-year-old at the Academy. His documentary follows the growth transition of a 15-year-old boy enrolled in a Marine Corps-based after-school discipline program, The New York Military Youth Cadets.

ERDA - Workforce Development

Also from the Academy for Careers in Television and Film, this documentary provides a window into the East River Development Alliance’s program called workforce development, which helps lower-income adults with the process of finding a job.

Multiple students collaborated on this project, which, Metzger said, was made possible by a grant from Capital One Bank.

For more information on the festival, visit
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