The Queens World Film Festival presents free outdoor summer screenings

By Bill Parry

The couple behind the Queens World Film Festival have started their fifth annual outdoor screenings in Jackson Heights and expanded for the first time to Long Island City.

Katha and Don Cato are presenting a full slate of FLIC NIC, free events in Travers Park (also known as 78th Street Plaza), Diversity Plaza and Hunters Point South Park on various dates throughout the summer.

“Both Don and myself grew up in small towns where everyone would get together and socialize,” Katha Cato said. “We figured if we did screenings, we could bring the neighborhood together and folks who couldn’t come to the Queens World Festival would have a chance to see what they missed.”

The Catos will collaborate with the Jackson Heights Green Alliance to bring innovative and provocative international animated, documentary and narrative independent films to Travers Park on July 25 and Aug. 8. Cato says that Indie films take on challenging themes and may not be suitable for children under 13.

“And we’re bringing Bollywood to Diversity Plaza,” Cato said. On Aug. 13 and Aug. 27 they will show international films that include Bengalese animation, Asian documentaries, Spanish love stories, and the quirky Indian musicals on the Plaza at 74th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

“This year the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and the Jackson Heights Green Alliance are sponsoring us so we’ll have a 4,000 lumen projector and a sound system,” Cato said. “Gone are the days where we make an intern climb a fence and rig a screen, Even though you’re sitting outside, the films will be seen properly as the directors intended. We’re beyond thrilled.”

The Catos will bring short films and bumpers to Hunters Point South Park as part of Skyline Cinema, the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy’s outdoor film series. The shorts will be followed by feature films such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on July 23, E.T. on Aug. 7 and “When Harry Met Sally” on Aug. 20.

“We’re always happy to support another non-profit that provides entertainment and culture to the neighborhood,” HPPC President Rob Basch said, adding that the short films screened during Skyline Cinema are produced locally.

The Catos will screen more shorts for Skyline Cinema’s final date on Sept. 19. That feature film will be selected after suggestions from the community.

“We feel so honored to bring these films, those from around the world and some produced by neighbors, to our community,” Cato said. “It’s a great time to be telling the truth and that’s what all of these films do. They tell people’s stories.”

Each of the screenings gets underway around 8 p.m.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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