Queens World Film Festival
The Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) was founded by Jackson Heights residents Don and Katha Cato. In addition to the annual festival, QWFF maintains a strong presence in the neighborhood through education programs in our local schools (P.S. 69 and I.S. 145 during the 2016-2017 school year).
Turning seven in 2017, QWFF includes an annual multi day/multi venue festival, youth-oriented educational initiatives and year round screening opportunities for QWFF filmmakers, past and present. The festival is programmed in thematic blocks with evocative titles, and each program is followed by a post-screening dialogue to engage audiences from the demographically diverse communities that comprise the borough of Queens. Each year the festival has a very robust submission session, with films coming from all over the globe, 54 nations to date, including Cuba, Spain, Korea, Bangladesh, China, Italy, the Ukraine, Iran, Belgium, Finland and the UK to name just a few.
In every year’s festival there are tender films, heartbreaking films, and several works that are extremely provocative, maybe even, disturbing and the selections tie us into conversations people are having around the world via the real stars of the festival: the films. A film festival is about surrendering to the films, without looking for familiar names, titles, scores. It’s about creating the right context for personal, intimate films grouped together for a cinematic experience you will not get anywhere else on the planet.
7th Annual Queens World Film Festival
The 7th Annual Queens World Film Festival was held in the Museum of the Moving Image's Redstone and Bartos rooms and the Zukor Theatre at the Kaufman Astoria Studios.
- BEST ANIMATION, CHIKA, DIE HÜNDIN IM GHETTO ( CHIKA, THE DOG FROM THE GHETTO) by Sandra Schießl
- BEST FAMILY FRIENDLY, DILLZILLA: TITAN OF TERROR! by Elizabeth Pasieczny
- BEST LGBTQ, MARIPOSAS ( BUTTERFLIES) by Angel Villaverde
- Honorable Mention:TO HAVE YOU HERE by Jen Ackerman
- BEST FEMALE ACTOR NARRATIVE SHORT, Julie Kline in THE GIRL ON THE MAT
- BEST FEMALE ACTOR NARRATIVE FEATURE, Ai Ai delas Alas in AREA
- Honorable Mention: Dorothea Hagena in MANN IM SPAGAT - PACE, COWBOY, PACE
- BEST MALE ACTOR NARRATIVE SHORT, Paolo Graziosi in AMORE GRANDE (A BIG LOVE)
- Honorable Mention:Christopher Dylan Whites in WAYS
- BEST MALE ACTOR NARRATIVE FEATURE, Pierre Walters in THE RED EFFECT
- Honorable Mention: Brian Smolensky in SEARCHING FOR FORTUNE
- BEST ENSEMBLE NARRATIVE FEATURE, SCUMBAG by Mars Roberge
- BEST ENSEMBLE NARRATIVE SHORT,FATA MORGANA by Jon Keng
- Honorable Mention: BRIAN MICKLER by Michael Taylor Jackson
- BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY NARRATIVE SHORT, Andrea C. Vannucci for IO NON DEVO
- Honorable Mention: Yorgos Karvelas for LIMBO, Vahid Buoteh for BUILDING NO. 13
- BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY NARRATIVE FEATURE, Amin Oussar for PAWO
- Honorable Mention: Dominik Friebel for MANN IM SPAGAT - PACE, COWBOY, PACE
- EMERGING FILMMAKER, Pat Campo for SWISS CHEEZ BRAIN
- BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY DOCUMENTARY SHORT, Doug Leconte for FIRE OF THE FINAL DAYS
- BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, Luise Schröder for VALENTINA
- BEST SCREENPLAY NARRATIVE SHORT, Robert Joseph Butler & Lucie Gillipsie for THE GIRL ON THE MAT
- Honorable Mention: Debra Markowitz for BY BLOOD
- BEST SCREENPLAY NARRATIVE FEATURE, Brian Smolensky for SEARCHING FOR FORTUNE
- BEST DIRECTOR DOCUMENTARY SHORT, THE MARGARET LAMBERT STORY by Nina Horowitz
- BEST DIRECTOR DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, THE BULLISH FARMER by Ken Marsolais
- BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT, DUTEE by Vanessa Hudson
- BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, VALENTINA by Maximilian Feldmann
- Honorable Mention: UNDOCUMENTED by Patricia Shih
- BEST DIRECTOR NARRATIVE SHORT, THE SUITOR by Alvaro Congosto
- BEST DIRECTOR NARRATIVE FEATURE, LOTTE by Julius Schultheiß
- BEST NARRATIVE SHORT SHORT, THE LAST TIP by Patrick Chen
- BEST NARRATIVE SHORT, AFTER SCHOOL by Alec Tibaldi
- Honorable Mention: RABIE CHETW ( WINTERY SPRING) by Mohamed Kamel, THE SURFACE by Jordan Berger
- BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE, PAWO by Marvin Litwak & Sonam Tseten
- AUDIENCE AWARD NARRATIVE FEATURE, ADAM GREEN’S ALADDIN
- SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: WORLD SOCIAL IMPACT, POSITIVE HELL
- SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: MUMBLECORE VÉRITÉ, CHILDREN OF HIP HOP
- SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: SARDONIC LAMPOON, CAKE
- SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: MOST OUTRAGEOUS COMEDY, TIGHT PANTS
- FOUNDERS CHOICE: FEATURE, TARDE EN EL ABISMO (AFTERNOON AT THE ABYSS)
- FOUNDERS CHOICE: DOCUMENTARY, BETWEEN NEIGHBORHOODS
- FOUNDERS CHOICE: SHORT, AMORE GRANDE (A BIG LOVE)
Artistic Director - Don Cato is an experimental and feature film maker with a strong academic background, a BS and BLA in Landscape Architecture from Michigan State and an MLA from the University of Oregon where he also studied extensively in the department of Motion Graphics. His films have screened at an international and eclectic group of venues and festivals: Anthology Film Archives, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Lincoln Center, the Dylan Thomas Center in Wales (Best Feature for Be My Oswald in 2006), RealHeART Toronto Film Festival (Best in Venue for Be My Oswald in 2007) and Everglades Film Festival, South Africa. He was the Director of the Eugene Filmmakers Cinematique for 4 years while he distributed films from China and in 1978 Don was one of the first western filmmakers allowed into China to create an immersion documentary: China: Behind Silk Curtains. Dixie Lanes, a feature film starring Karen Black, Hoyt Axton & Moses Gunn released in over 40 countries in 1989. Most recently, in 2013 the short My Kansas which he co-directed and co-produced had a respectable festival run with wins for directing. My Day on which he was the Director of Cinematography, Editor, Sound Designer & Co-Producer brought home several Best Actress awards for Judith Roberts & several Best Short awards in both 2013 and 2014. Don teaches at the New York Digital Film Academy and the Buckley School for Boys and under his guidance, over 20 student driven short films are produced each year. QPT.
Executive Director - Katha Cato earned a BA from California Polytechnic University in Pomona, an MFA from the University of Oregon and is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business Executive Education Program. In the 80’s, she moved to New York with her theatre company ‘Forplay Improvised Theatre’ and pioneered the Improvisational Herald format (the long form) into the NY Improv Comedy scene. Katha won a MAC Award (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) for Best Comedy, and two Backstage Magazine Bistro Awards for Best Director and Best Comedy and the NY Post’s Bill Ervolino named her one of the year’s Most Exciting Improvisers. For many years Katha served as the Director of After-School and Camp Services at the historic Henry Street Settlement. During her tenure she was recognized by NY State Education for exemplary After-School Programming and she received the 2014 PASEsetter Award for her years of leadership in the field. Katha has spent over thirty years developing youth and bringing people together via theatre arts, film and video.
The QWFF provides a range of volunteer opportunities each year including curating film submissions, posting on social media, collecting tickets, and serving as ushers. Their positions enable them to see how a festival is organized, and to interact with actors, editors, filmmakers, producers, and the panoply of other crew members. Those interested in working with the festival should contact the Cato's at volunteerqueensworldfilmfestival.com.