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Sunnyside and Woodside Filmmakers to be Featured in 6th Annual Queens World Film Festival


Executive Director Katha Cato (center) at press conference.
Photo credit: Rodrigo Salazar

Feb. 26, 2016 Staff Report

The 6th Annual Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) that features films, shorts and narratives kicks off next month.

The popular film festival will take place from March 15 through March 20, with screenings taking place in Astoria, Sunnyside, Long Island City and Jackson Heights.

The festival will host screenings at the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave.) in Astoria, the Secret Theater (44-02 23rd St.) in Long Island City, All Saints’ Episcopal Church (43-12 46th St.) in Sunnyside and P.S. 69 (77-02 37th Ave.) in Jackson Heights.

The festival will feature a wide variety of films from various countries and filmmakers.

QWFF 02“It will be six days, five screens, four venues, 143 films from 23 nations, 38 feature length films, 85 short films, narratives, LGBTQ, animation and family friendly films, 29 world premieres, 22 U.S. premieres, 29 filmmakers from Queens, 42 female directors, and 30 female producers,” Queens World Film Festival Artistic Director Don Cato said.

On why he believes it has such wide-reaching appeal, Cato explained, “This year’s films come from many of the countries whose diasporas are represented in Queens… 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.”

Investors Bank press conference

Executive Director Katha Cato went on to define the ethos that makes QWFF so compelling.

“From the beginning of time we have gathered in darkened caves around flickering lights to share our stories,” she said. “Today, we’ve upgraded the caves, the flickering lights are now zeroes and ones, but the impulse to gather, to tell our stories, remains.”

Each year, the festival seeks to bring in sponsors who wish to help these stories make it to the silver screen, such as long time supporting sponsor Investors Bank. Sr. Vice President and N.Y. Regional Manager Ana M. Oliveira said, “Our company and QWFF truly share the same core values and mission. Everyone at the Bank is impressed by Katha and Don Cato’s incredible energy and passion for the Festival, which has grown in size, scope and importance each year.”

In addition to films from all across the globe, some of the films which will be screening were either shot in Sunnyside, or feature actors or filmmakers who reside in Woodside.

“Saving Jamaica Bay”

Sunnyside Article - Saving Jamaica Bay 01Sunnyside resident Daniel Hendrick is producing a documentary titled “Saving Jamaiaca Bay,” directed by David Sigal, which tells the tale of urban environmentalists who wish to preserve what they say is the largest natural space in New York City. It currently faces an uncertain future due to the rapidly developing landscape of its surrounding neighborhoods.

“Saving Jamaica Bay” will be screening at the Museum of Moving Image on Thursday, March 17, at 8:00 p.m. Tickets were sold out for this show, but are available to purchase at a new block here.

“We Had Plans”

Sunnyside Article - We Had Plans 01Another film that will be featured is Woodside native Christina Raia’s “We Had Plans.” The four-minute short focuses on an intense situation between two sisters played by Gwen Albers and Lauren Kennedy, who are on the verge of breaking a promise they made to each other in an act of self-interest.

Originally an actress in Holland, this is Gwen’s first time being featured in the Queens World Film Festival, while director Christina Raia had a short titled “Juice It” accepted into the festival last year.


Gwen Albers (left) with Christina Raia (right)

“This year the festival is bigger, and the amount of submissions have grown as well,” Raia explained.

“We Had Plans” is screening on Thursday, March 17, at 9:30 p.m., at Sunnyside’s All Saints Episcopal ChurchTickets are available at the link.

Independent film lovers, or those who wish to support local creatives and the programs offered by the Queens World Film Festival, can purchase an All Access pass to blocks of their choice at any venue through Brown Paper Tickets.

Note: The Queens World Film Festival is an advertiser of the Sunnyside Post.

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Click for Comments 
Katha Cato

Thanks for the comment, never saw it until now. Who are folks you are talking about? If they submit their films to the fest we will take a look. This year we had 29 films from Queens in the festival, out of 144. Hope to see their work.

Whatever happened to...

What about the crew from Flynns bar on Skillman? They made some good stuff. Local folks with lots of talent. They should be included!


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