Queens World Film Festival kicks off sixth year at the Museum of Moving Image in Astoria

QNS/Photo by Katrina Medoff

The sixth annual Queens World Film Festival kicked off last night at the Museum of Moving Image, where a selection of the 144 films will be screened over the next few days.

The festival, which was created six years ago by Katha and Don Cato, is the biggest it’s ever been, according to the creators.

Opening night films included three shorts and a feature-length film titled “Oblivion Season,” an Iranian film about an ex-prostitute who gets married and is subsequently trapped in an abusive relationship. She is forced to work as a cab driver to make money, a job considered too masculine for her in Iranian society.

All films are programmed into blocks by theme, Katha Cato said in a previous interview. A large variety of genres and countries are represented in this year’s festival, and 29 Queens filmmakers will be screening their work.

Films by Queens filmmakers include the first-ever documentary about Jamaica Bay; “Muck,” a short film that depicts a Queens woman’s journey through the comedy world; and a documentary about the New York State Pavilion.

“From the beginning of time we have fathered in the darkened caves around the flickering lights to share our stories,” Katha Cato said. “We have upgraded the caves, the flickering caves are now zeros and ones, but the impulse to gather remains.”

Melvin Van Peebles, an actor and director most prominently known for his film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, was awarded the Spirit of Queens Award “for independently shattering conventions by just doing what I want to do,” Don Cato said.

The film festival continues through Saturday with screenings at the Museum of Moving Image, The Secret Theatre in Long Island City, P.S. 069 in Jackson Heights and All Saints Episcopal Church in Sunnyside.

For a full schedule and list of show times, click here.