By Bill Parry
The Jackson Heights husband-and-wife team that created the Queens World Film Festival are preparing for the eighth annual event this winter which will screen more than 130 films from 25 countries, during an eleven night run beginning March 15.
Katha and Don Cato are asking the public’s support for the festival, as well as their year-round programming, so they are doing a year-end appeal in the form of a donor site Flip Cause which they will launch on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28.
Supporters can go to the Donation page on the organization’s website at www.queen
“We are raising money to keep our year-round programs free — including work with youth, free screenings for seniors at their centers, free screenings at community centers, parks and schools,” QWFF Executive Director Katha Cato said. “The annual festival is certainly the crown jewel and we do everything we can to keep the ticket prices low and pack the biggest bang into every screening, however the rest of the year we are providing other opportunities for filmmakers and film lovers to come together. All of those programs require funding and we are hoping the community sees the value of those programs continue.”
QWFF also hosts interns from Queens College, LaGuardia Community College, Renaissance Charter School and the Frank Sinatra High School for the Performing Arts.
“These young people come from all over the world, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, Puerto Rico, Colombia, France and Nicaragua and more,” Cato said. “It is such an honor to provide them with professional training and many have gone on to work in the industry, make their own films or go on to work in other fields equally prepared to assume responsibility in the workplace.”
Not only is the festival popular with film lovers, its reputation is growing internationally, and the Cato’s want to keep momentum growing.
“Film Freeway, one of the two big platforms that filmmakers use to submit to festivals, informed us that for the third month in a row, we have been rated in the top 2 percent out of over 5,000 festivals worldwide by filmmakers,” Cato said. “That means so much to us because we have been rated very highly on communication, programming and attendance. That means all of the time we devote to creating a supportive environment, encouraging filmmakers from all over the world to come here and screen their films here, has paid off.”
The Queens World Film Festival made Paste
“From time to time it is a bit of a white knuckle ride and as good as this festival has been for many people there are times we need help from the community we are serving,” Cato said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr