The recently held first ever Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) was met with “unbelievably positive” feedback, according to one of its founders, Katha Cato.
The festival, which ran from March 3 to 6, was created by Cato and her husband Don, a writer, director and producer. The two had been volunteers with the Queens International Film Festival, which had problems when its founder was accused of not paying vendors.
“[QWFF] was really about making it right, putting to bed everything bad about that previous festival and starting new,” said Cato, an actor and producer. “We feel like we made it right.”
During the four-day film festival, 121 films were shown at the Jackson Heights Cinema and The Renaissance Charter School, also located in Jackson Heights. Although there were films from around the world, about 30 were from Queens, including 10 that were school projects.
“We’re screening unseen films, challenging films,” Cato said.
QWFF’s web site also explained that it “celebrates the independent filmmaking spirit by encouraging the novice and the student filmmaker, featuring filmmakers who take chances to bring us challenging stories and by providing screen opportunities for that overlooked, yet gem of a film.”
Cato described the collection of films as “wonderful” and “very eclectic.” She explained that the films were shown in blocks to maximize audience appeal. Some of the blocks of films were geared towards children, senior citizens, music fans, the LBGT community and even those interested in vampires and zombies.
Through this, the festival sought to build the filmmaker community by giving them the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.
In addition to the screenings, the festival included two panel discussions, which Cato noted were fully attended, and an awards ceremony.
Cato said it felt “really, really amazing” to have a successful launch to QWFF.
“We feel like there are about 1,000 people who now know that Queens can be a destination for filmmakers and film lovers,” she said.
The festival is already looking ahead to the future, including working on a non-profit application and planning one or two summer events. To keep updated on the Queens World Film Festival, visit www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.
Cato also encouraged people to go online and checkout the works of the many filmmakers.
“Let’s support them,” she said.