The 6th Annual Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) opened to SRO audiences on Tuesday with screenings continuing at the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in Astoria, Queens, NY, and three other venues, the Secret Theatre, PS 69 and All Saints’ Episcopal Church thru March 20th. Full Festival passes and Individual Tickets are on sale on line. Check out www.queensworldfilmfestival.com for the full schedule and to view trailers.
SATURDAY MARCH 19: Awards & Closing Night Party-
QWFF awards prizes in all categories for those films in competition. The films nominated in the Feature Film and Feature Documentary categories and the other nominations for shorts, new work, animation, etc. are posted on the QWFF website. The winners will be announced at the closing ceremony/party to be held this Saturday, March 19th, at Mundo in the Paper Factory Hotel, 337-06 36th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101. Entrance is free with drink special. 9pm
Phone: 718-706-8636 / 718-392-7200
A distinguished jury consisting of Josh Green, Michael Lieber, Gy Mirano, Sebastian Rea, Opal Hope Bennet, Michael Tuckman, E.J. McLeavey- Fisher, Paul Hanes, Jammil Lahham, Jennifer Griffith and Elizabeth Pasieczny selected the 2016 nominees. Katha Cato, Director of QWFF states that ”we are very pleased with the films selected, they are inclusive and diverse, truly representative of the world of film.”
The feature films selected for competition include 6 Narrative Features from 3 Female Directors and 3 Male Directors with 1 from Ireland/US, 1 from Nepal, 1 from Iran and 3 from the US.
The 7 Documentary Features selected are from 3 Female Directors and 4 Male Directors with1 film from Finland/Afghanistan, 1 from China/Germany and 1 from Haiti with 4 from the US.
143 films from 23 countries are binge screened in total over the 6 days of the festival. With 29 world premieres, 22 US premieres, 38 feature length and 85 short films (Narratives, Documentaries, LGBTQ, Animation and Family friendly) with 29 filmmakers from Queens, 42 female directors and 30 female producers.
To highlight the IndieCollect film preservation campaign, Susan Seidelman’s 1982 movie, Smithereens, will be showcased at MoMI on Closing Night, Saturday, March 19, at 7pm. The Smithereens negative was found by the IndieCollect team in the vaults of DuArt Film & Video after DuArt closed its photo-chemical division, and was placed at the Academy Film Archive for safekeeping. IndieCollect, headed by QWFF board member Sandra Schulberg, is dedicated to saving independent films before they are lost due to neglect, lack of funding and/or faulty preservation strategies. For more info, see: indiecollect.org
Smithereens was the first American independent feature to be shown in the Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. The international rights to Smithereens were recently acquired by SHOUT! Factory (shoutfactory.com), and later this year the film will be released into the physical DVD and digital market by The Criterion Collection. Ms. Seidelman subsequently directed the hugely successful movie, Desperately Seeking Susan, featuring Madonna in her screen debut.
The Queens World Film Festival engages audiences with targeted outreach to the diverse communities that comprise the borough of Queens. QWFF Artistic Director Don Cato underlines this: “This year’s films come from many of the countries whose diasporas are represented in Queens, and they promise to move and entertain our audiences. There are tender films, heartbreaking films, and several works that are extremely provocative, even disturbing. Taken as a whole, I feel this year’s selection ties us into discussions people are having around the world.”
Cato programs the films in thematic blocks with evocative titles, and each program is followed by a post-screening dialogue.Alumni are not automatically accepted, and names are no guarantee either. The real stars are the films themselves. “It’s about surrendering to the cinema experience, without looking for familiar names, titles, scores. It’s about creating the right context for personal, intimate discoveries you will not find anywhere else on the planet,” states Cato.
The list of films in competition listed below are the Narrative and Doc Features:
Dir: Abbas Rafei, Iran, 94 min
An ex-prostitute marries for love, but leaving the shadow of her dark past is not as easy as it seems.
Dir: William Cusick, United States, 89 min
A musician navigates a hyperreal combination of live action and animation daydreams in a series of interlocking Moebius strips, of parallel identities and existential humor, set to an original soundtrack.
Dir: Naresh Kumar, Nepal. 89 min
A sister fights all odds to take care of her young brother, until things fall apart, and she is left with no option, but sell her dignity to save him.
Dir: Jennifer Corcoran, Ireland/United States, 103min
Lyle is traveling with a white rabbit, the promise of a gig and a life-long dream to be able to magically disappear when he discovers Mabel a Native American grandmother.
Dir: Daniel Maldonado, United States, 75min
Two stories, beautifully interwoven reveal the alienation and meaning to be found when the disconnected connect in a (dis)connected city.
Dir: John Marco Lopez, United States, 89 min
After living nearly his entire life in New York City with false documents, burgeoning Finance professional Camilo Sanz receives a notice of deportation. Desperate for a solution at any cost, he obtains funding from a nefarious neighborhood loan shark, and dives head first into a fraudulent marriage.
Dir: Kirsi Mattila, Finland/Afganistan 80min
Marzia dreams of peace, independence and a good job. But because she lives in Afghanistan, her dreams are revolutionary. Marzia’s story becomes a symbol of the wider struggle of Afghan women: It is about the right to make decisions about your own life. The film follows Marzia’s life from spring 2011 to the end of 2014, when international troops were supposed to leave Afghanistan.
Dir: Tod Wilder & Jedd Wider, United States, 2015, 97min
A New Hampshire mother became a prisoner of her own mind, a fate which she documents in one of the most evocative and chilling accounts of mental illness and of our systemic failure to protect those suffering from it.
Dir: David Bussan, United States, 56min
Outsider artist Charlie Van Ness journies from creating whimsical heart, lip, star, and penis-shaped sculptures out of fiberglass and resin to creating installation art, carving mythical stories into hundreds of stone tablets
Dir: David Sigal, United States, 2016, 76min
Susan Sarandon narrates the untold stories of this unique natural resource and the unlikely urban environmentalists struggling to save the bay and their way of life in this era of rapidly growing cities and rising seas.
Dir: Linda J. Brown, United States, 71min
When a devastating stroke leaves her father vulnerable and dependent, the filmmakers decides to confront the silence surrounding his troubled and violent past with home movies, family photos and interviews, revealing secrets, uncovering lies, and discovering a redeeming treasure in a lost family video.
Dir: Tianlin Xu China/Germany 89 min
Two orphaned teenage brothers leave their remote mountain village behind to seek their fortune in two separate major cities. Meanwhile, their young neighbors anxiously await the return of their father, a migrant worker who left the village a year ago. This is the story of four boys from the Chinese countryside, their hopes and dreams, and the challenges they face.
Dir: Raul de la Fuente, Haiti, 66 min
In Haiti, ancestors say if something is foretold, it will happen no matter how, and nobody can change that. Artist Celeur is inspired by his Voodoo culture to create his sculptures, a reflection of the complex reality of the Caribbean country.
Queens World Film Festival sponsors include; Investors Bank Foundation, Queens Council on the Arts, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Council Member Daniel Dromm and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, and The Queens Post.
In addition to producing the annual Queens World Film Festival, the organization programs films year-round at a variety of borough venues through its “Encore” and “Old Spice” screening series, and through its “Young Filmmakers” training program.
The Queens World Film Festival is a program of the Queens World Film Initiative, Inc., a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization.
Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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