Queens World Film Festival 2012: Back on Home Turf

It’s not that I was skeptical or anything.  But when I headed over to the opening night ceremonies for the Queens World Film Festival (formerly known as the Queen International Film Festival) at the Museum of the Moving Image, it was evident that organizers Don & Katha Cato were serious about putting their festival on the map.  When my date for the evening, colleague Athena Georgiadis, and I first arrived at the museum  I leaned in and said, “I won’t know anyone here tonight.” No sooner had those words left my mouth then I then I had to swallow them.

First off, my mate Jack Feldstein, was on hand.  Not only is the filmmaker/animator on the festival’s jury but he’s curated  The Subway Series as part of Sunday’s programming to take place at the Renaissance Charter School, 35-59 81st Street in Jackson Heights.  Among those short films included in Jack’s series is Gabe Rodriguez’ “The Q to the 6”, a short I showed as part of the Filmwax Film Series last September.  Another event that I look back on with fond memories is Jack’s Evening of Neon Animation.

I also ran into another friend, and Filmwax alumni, Trish Dalton, who will be screening the film she co-directed with Elisabeth Sperling, “One Night Stand”.  I first saw “One Night Stand” at DocuClub and then subsequently invited them to show their film in a later stage rough cut at the Filmwax Film Series.  The screening, my second ever, was helpful in providing them with some last minute feedback prior to their festival submissions.  The film went on to play a number of festivals including, more locally, last year’s Newfest Film Festival.

Participating filmmakers at this year's Queens World Film Festival

I also ran into longtime Filmwax supporter and QWFF juror, Pierre Stefanos.  Pierre’s short, “Bedfellows”, will be playing at Filmwax later this Spring (official announcement!).  Lastly, after the wonderful evening of shorts and award presentations —most memorably to Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman (above)— I had a couple of moments to chat with “Strongman” filmmaker Zachary Levy at the after-party.  Not only was “Strongman” my Fall 2011 season opening film, but Zachary had the dubious distinction of being my first guest on Filmwax Radio.

It should be noted that the Queens World Film Festival is founded and organized by Queens residents Don & Katha Cato.  Katha is the over-caffeinated co-director of the festival while husband, Don, is its programmer.  Don’s great taste was apparent in the series of shorts we were presented on Thursday night.  Their hard work at ramping up the quality of their enterprise, one which has seen its share of difficult times historically, seems to have paid off.  Not a moment sagged ove the course of the evening with the possible exception of the difficult opening short.  And, perhaps and next year they can begin the proceedings slight later in the evening  for us worker bee types.   But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Queens World Film Festival’s star continue to rise in coming seasons.  It was great to spend a fun evening in my home borough of Queens.

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