Action! The 4th Annual Queens World Film Festival has begun.
Opening night featured three films from the United States and one from Kosovo, ranging from animation to short narratives.
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Borough President Melinda Katz, one of the night’s speakers, said that the festival was not only a great project for all the filmmakers and volunteers involved, but also for helping brand the borough of Queens.
“We are the most diverse place on the entire planet. We are extremely excited by this,” Katz said. “We are telling the international audience that we are here, we are strong. Diversity is the greatest asset that we can give the entire world here in the borough of Queens and this film festival proves it every day that we are having it.”
Organizers Katha and Don Cato, who were introduced by Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, welcomed the audience and shared what they’ve done in the 365 days since last year’s festival. They then went on to describe what the next five days would bring for the borough.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for us and one we are very happy to share it with everyone,” Katha said.
Don encouraged the audience members to go see all the films over the next few days.
“What I want you to experience is the unique opportunity that all of these films have and let them just wash over you,” he said. “Let them inform you, experience them, open yourselves up to them and enjoy them for what they are.”
Before the first block of films was shown, the festival honored Carl Goodman, executive director of the Museum of the Moving Image, as one of the 2014 Spirit of Queens Honorees for his leadership.
“Something wonderful is happening here,” Goodman said. “New York City is becoming decentralized. Manhattan is a borough, Queens is a borough. They’re all boroughs and there’s no inner or outer. I like to think about it as Manhattan being the shining surface of the city and Queens being the substance.”
Independent filmmaker Hal Hartley was also recognized as a Spirit of Queens Honoree. Before accepting his award, the crowd got a taste of his eight minute short narrative from 1994 called “Opera No. 1.”
The night ended with a party at Studio Square just a couple blocks away from the museum.
Throughout the six-day festival, which goes until March 10, a total of 127 films including short and feature narratives, LGBT pieces, documentaries and animation will be divided into subject blocks and will be shown at venues such as The Secret Theatre and The Nesva Hotel in Long Island City, and P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights. During the festival there will be 16 films screened from Queens filmmakers.
The festival will also screen the world premiere of the director’s cut of the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Act of Killing” on Thursday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. at P.S. 69.
Films will also be given awards on the final night of the festival.