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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. It’s 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.

The 7th Annual Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) returns to the Museum of the Moving Image, the Secret Theatre and PS 69 from March 14-19, 2017.

Executive Director - Katha 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.
QPT Power Women of Queens     The joke's by you at special improvisaiton event in LIC     Katha Cato gets back in the sportlight

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 he 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, is now a Turner Classic Movie. 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. Currently 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 Queens Express with Don Cato     Be My Oswald



   Josh is partner and producer for Game 7 Films. After serving over 10 years as the vice president of distribution for NY-based Emerging Pictures, Josh Green formed production and distribution services company Game 7 Films. His recent credits include executive producer on Ramona Diaz’s Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, which is currently in release via Cinedigm Entertainment and Independent Lens and producer on hip-hop documentary I Want My Name Back, also in release via Image Entertainment. Green has several new features and docs in development and continues to represent finished films for sale and consult on distribution campaigns. He is a graduate of Columbia Business School and Cornell University.

   After getting his PhD from Yale, Lieber worked as a cultural anthropologist for nine years, and taught at a number of universities. His fieldwork in urban Trinidad focused on how various sorts of street hustlers made a living and construed their lives, and resulted in a book, 'Street Life.' This was followed by a research grant which brought him to the department of dance at UCLA. There he focused on the photographic and film record of Balinese ritual performance and dance. An interest in documentary and ethnographic film and photography finally led him to abandon anthropology, and he turned to feature films. After writing several spec scripts and getting a writing deal at Disney, he joined New Century Productions, first as its story editor, then its V.P. of Creative Affairs and Development. After several years with this company, and after it folded, he turned back to writing, and to film production. He has also taught film at the Otis-Parsons School of Art and Design. He developed and produced "Flash of Genius" for Universal. He's written "Hubert's Freaks," a script about an antiquarian bookseller who bizarrely gets his hands on a treasure trove of lost Diane Arbus photographs. And adapted Henry Roth's famous novel, "Call It Sleep." He's developed, with Walter Parkes and Image Nation, and with Robert Wade & Neal Purvis, the writers of the James Bond pictures, a big adventure picture set in the Sahara, "Indigo." He produced "The House That Jack Built," filmed on location in the Bronx. Based on a script by Sundance best screenplay winner, Joe Vasquez, it is about the conflicts that embroil three generations of a Nuyorican family. This film has turned out to be a multi-festival award winner. He is preparing new projects for production and just completed a screenplay, "Black Mesa," a murder mystery that unfolds in the Navajo and Hopi worlds of the American southwest.

   Gy Mirano is an actress, voice artist, and cultural advocate originally from South America. Her fields of expertise include performing and producing. She also is committed to working on behalf of artists, as well as to promoting Hispanic culture in the United States. She is an elected SAG-AFTRA delegate and has led national initiatives in collaboration with SAG-AFTRA and other institutions representing actors’ and artists’ interests. She is also on the Advisory Board of CUNY’s TAFFNY, a film festival about the cultures and peoples of the Americas to be launched in June 2014.

Selected film and television credits: Law & Order, Double Deception, Against the Law, Crime Story, Miami Vice, Dora the Explorer, Real Sports, 3 Américas, Les Petites Canailles, Rights on the Line, La Banda del Golden Rocket, Los Benvenuto. Stage work includes Off-Broadway plays at Repertorio Español and The Public Theater, plus collaborations with cultural institutions for staged readings, moderating film presentations, and producing events that feature leading artists and authors. As a voice artist she has created signature voices in English and Spanish for RockStar Games, Wynn Resorts, Cirque du Soleil, Nikon, Avon, Ford, and other international brands. She has narrated documentaries and fiction for PBS, Bloomberg TV, HBO, Scholastic, Library of Congress, Recorded Books, MoMA, Museum of Natural History, LACMA, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, El Museo del Barrio and Detroit Institute of Arts.

   After several years in legal practice, Opal has spent the past three years working in various capacities for several film festivals. Beginning as a volunteer for the first Sundance London Film Festival, she has served as a screener for Tribeca and Hamptons Film Festivals and a programmer for the Queens World Film Festival. She also programs for Nantucket Film Festival, DOC NYC and Montclair Film Festival A Columbia Law grad, Opal holds a Masters in Media Studies from the LSE, and received her B.A. from New York University.

   Sebastian Rea is an award winning director and producer using filmmaking to create awareness about social issues. He wrote and directed his first feature film, LONE PROPHET, a narrative about undocumented immigration and the deportation of students in NYC, which won the Emerging Director award at the Queens World Film Festival and the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles, 2014. His award winning short film SUDDEN STRANGERS, about the psychology behind mass shootings in America, has played at film festivals around the world and he is currently working on a web-series about gun violence called THE TIMES. Sebastian is the founder of the 30UNDER30 FILM FESTIVAL in NYC, on the board of the NY Latino Film Summit & Prime Latino Media and the Content Ops. Manager for TRIBECA Enterprises.


   A veteran of the independent film industry for fifteen years, Michael Tuckman began his career at The Cinema Guild, where he was hired to start the company's theatrical distribution division. Tuckman went on to serve as Vice President of Theatrical Sales for THINKFilm, handling the planning and implementation of all theatrical release strategies, including the breakout successes of Oscar-winning and nominated films including SPELLBOUND, HALF-NELSON, BORN INTO BROTHELS, TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE and MURDERBALL as well as the box office smashes THE ARISTOCRATS, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD and THEN SHE FOUND ME.

He now operates his own distribution services company, mTuckman media (, with which he works directly with filmmakers under their own banners. Most notably, he has handled Shane Carruth's UPSTREAM COLOR and DETROPIA, from the Academy Award nominated directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, guiding those films to national releases in over 100 theaters and upwards of half a million dollars at the box office while working with limited release budgets. Others collaborations include Frederick Wiseman's LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET, BOXING GYM, CRAZY HORSE, AT BERKELEY and NATIONAL GALLERY as well as national releases for Sundance standouts such as AMERICAN PROMISE, ALIVE INSIDE and Rory Kennedy's LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, in addition to handling the theatrical campaign for the Academy Award nominated documentary THE SQUARE. His company also provides theatrical booking and consultation services to distributors including Tribeca Film and Drafthouse Films, among others, with releases including the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Language film, BULLHEAD, WAR WITCH, and THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN as well as the 2014 Academy Award nominated documentary, THE ACT OF KILLING.

   E.J. McLeavey-Fisher is a Queens-based filmmaker. His latest short film Comic Book Heaven was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick and is currently screening at festivals around the world. Previously he has directed (alongside collaborator Patrick Cummings) the short film Stacked, profiling Long Island surfer Balaram Stack, as well as documentary programming for MTV and Vice.

   Paul Hanes is a member of Counterfire who started Fourman Films in 2003 after his first feature documentary that year. He is an award winning film maker, active trade unionist and a prolific video blogger and citizen journalist. He has over 1,000 YouTube videos which form an historic and in depth record of the movement, often overlooked by the mainstream media.


   A Cal Arts graduate, Elizabeth Pasieczny owns and operates Pickleman Productions, an internationally award winning independent film company. The company's mission statement "kindling a light in the mere darkness of being" is the driving force behind every project. Utilizing traditional, hand-drawn animation, stop motion, puppetry and live-action, Elizabeth creates films that are a visual buffet for the eye while tickling the mind and soul. Creating great films with solid stories, that are Kosher for any age, is an unending challenge and goal for Elizabeth. She extends this challenge beyond the works of her company and writes feature length and short screenplays for hire. Sample a taste at or on Elizabeth Pasieczny's IMdB page.

   A Syrian-American animator and a filmmaker who was exposed to the traditional art forms of drawing, painting and wood carving early in his childhood. He attended the College of Fine Arts in Damascus, Syria and the Ringling School Of Art and Design in Florida where he majored in Computer animation and minored in Digital Film.Upon graduating in 2008, Lahham worked on multiple featured titles including "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" and as the animation director on the Academy Award winning short film, "The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore".Currently, Lahham is an animation director in New York city. His short animation Dirty Laundry Day won Best Animation at Queens World Film Festival 2015 and went on to enjoy a strong festival run.!filmmaker/c10fk

   Jennifer moves between creative efforts as a composer and jazz vocalist. She currently studies with renown avant-garde jazz vocalist, Jay Clayton. Jennifer’s dissertation examines composer/bandleader/bassist Charles Mingus’s reanimations of early jazz, and legacies of vaudeville and minstrelsy and has published articles on Mingus in Jazz Perspectives and (Spring 2015) Black Music Research Journal. She studied composition with Donald Wheelock, Thea Musgrave, David Del Tredici and Tania León, and earned her doctorate in composition at the Graduate Center in New York. Her pocket opera, Dream President, was presented at New York City Opera’s VOX 2004. In 2008 she co-producedOpera After Hours, an evening of opera shorts, directed by internationally acclaimed Christopher Alden. Alden has also directed a staged reading of Griffith’s one-act "green" opera, Beautiful Creatures, produced by Stage|Time in 2011. Commissions include In E for the 2008 Festival Non Sequitur, featuring Newspeak, and The Reed (2010) for the Grace and Spiritus Chorale of Brooklyn. Jennifer has also written for new music ensembles Glass Farm and Cygnus, among others. Current projects include orchestrating Beautiful Creatures for full production (Nov-Dec 2015).

We don't do this alone. There is a dedicated circle of talented filmmakers, community members, industry professionals, neighbors and friends who meet regularly to help us with every detail of the festival

   Originally a classical pianist, Michael moved into contemporary and jazz at a young age. Over the years he has studied with the likes of Lennie Breau, Bob Erlendson, Jacki Byard, Joanne Brackeen, Eddie Monteiro and Thelonius Monk. While studying theory and performance at Berklee School of Music, Michael co-founded, recorded and toured with the fusion band Orpheus, blues and big bands, and recently played accordion and keyboards with the original rock band Redux. Working with music production, scores and commercials along the way, lately he has become fascinated with the accordion - both acoustic and digital. He is bringing his unique blend of jazz and world music to the instrument in solo, small group and orchestral environments. But the pull of the American Song Book has always underscored all of his work, and now he is replaying the New York scene and bringing the accordion into it. Varied experience and training has given his art and repertoire a unique color that he has carried into cabaret, arrangement, and vocal jazz work here and abroad.


ANNE O'CONNER - Special Events
   "Idea person" and founder of Zoescope Studio, Ann O'Connor is an urban wanderer, foodie, lover of life and all things "Queens" and authentic New York City. As independent promoter of the arts, Ann brings like-minded people together to do great and fun things. With her partners, she makes art and artisanal work more accessible by creating experiences in alternative venues, while building audiencefor her art partners. Her first project was "In & Out of Time" with local panoramic artist Rafael O. Gonzalez. Before starting Zoescope Studio Inc., Ann made stops at media companies like Scholastic, National Geographic and Meredith, as well as firms, whose clients included: Rizzoli, Leo Castelli, Pace, Art Students League, National Academy, and The Winter Antiques Show. Ann has over 15 years experience in "ideation" and marketing and holds a B.A. in English Literature from Barnard College, Columbia University. Member: L.I.C. Businesswomen, L.I.C. Partnership, Queens Tourism Council. Clients: Diego Salazar Gallery and Antique Frames, Space Gallery, Renaissance Event Hall, Vesta, Pachanga Patterson, L.I.C. Arts Open, Queens World Film Festival, Queens Council on the Arts.

MICHAEL ORDONEZ - Festival Operations Associate
   The Manhattan born, Queens raised son of two Ecuadorian parents. Having been raised in Astoria and Sunnyside, his mother's childhood ties with Queens founded his own and his childhood in Queens sparked his interest in the world's cultures. "A childhood in Queens is like no other. There's isn't another place on our planet where a kid from working-class family can truly get a taste of the world, all within the confines of your home borough." Michael earned his BA in Anthropology at Rutgers University in 2012 and will be returning to Rutgers to pursue an MA in Conflict and Peace studies January 2013. He has a developing interest in the film industry and working on the festival has given him a bird's eye view of the world of indie filmmaking. In the Summer of 2013 Michael traveled to Argentina to work on a feature film by QWFF 2013's Winner of Best Narrative Feature - UOMO. The relationship that began at the festival opened up the possibility of working and learning more. "The festival is a catalyst for my developing interest in the industry and I love it. After living away from the city for more than a few years, being able to work on a project like the Queens World Film Festival is a beautiful, communally integrated way of reconnecting with my youth. And working with such a passionate team only makes the journey that much better. While I will not been as involved as I have been with the festival for the last 2 years, I am still working hard behind the scenes and will be taking time to be at the 2014 festival to once again engage the world in our borough."

PATTI LOWENHAUPT - Young Filmmakers Program
   Patti Lowenhaupt is a life long resident of Jackson Heights, born and raised. Having attended P.S. 69 as a youngster, Patti is thrilled to be back in the school mentoring students in the QWFF Young Filmmakers Program. Learning by doing is the best way to learn. The experience the students have making a video as an art form and as a form of expression is priceless. The kids have a wonderful time learning with this type of program. Patti is retired from 30 years of teaching in the New York City public schools (as an art teacher), and she truly enjoy her involvement in the QWFF. This complex networking activity is a cultural boost for our borough of Queens and for our neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Long Island City and she is proud to be a part of it.

ALEXIS PERLAS - Festival Associate
   Alexis Perlas, is a professional actress and has performed & toured on Stage Plays, Musical Theatre, and TV & Film, in CA & NYC since she was a child. Some of her work include the Production & National tour of, "Aladdin", as Princess Jasmine, "Oliver" as Nancy, "Romeo & Juliet" as Juliet, & "Grease" as Sandy, to name a few. She has been trained at, Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Broadway Dance Center, as well as with the famed, Uta Hagen, and performed as lead actress & dancer in her production of, "St. Nicolas at Christmas Tide". Alexis, is very honored & excited to Host and be a part of, QWFF, once again for the second year in a row.


SAM BERLAND - Projectionist
   Sam Berland has worked with QWFF since the start of the festival as a Projectionist and the Quality Control Expert on AV equipment. Sam has worked in the film/video and broadcasting industry for many years and is the one to call if you want your film to look and sound the way you intended! Sam's newest venture is working as a Freelance TD/Projectionist on David Krakauer's Big Picture tour, traveling around the US and Europe. He is going into another year working as a Freelance Video Projectionist on the Tribeca Film Festival and is the Co-Owner of Play It Again Sam’s Video Productions. Sam also works as a part time Imax/3D Digital Projectionist at The American Museum of Natural History. As an artist, Sam’s artwork has appeared in both fiction and non-fiction books, and he has often been commissioned to create caricatures of TV newscasters and sports personalities. His work has also appeared on children’s clothing, album covers, as well as prominent public murals.

Don Cato
Patti Lowenhaupt
Richard Calvache
Omchand Kevin Gee
Emilie McDonald

A Festival Associate may be a projectionist, a member of the Screening Committee or one of the talented Hosts that welcome you and introduce the films. Associates might be Staff, Interns or Volunteers, but what they all have in common is a commitment to make sure the festival is something we can all be proud of. They are the nice people in the box office at the venues and the Block Hosts and you will recognize them by their T-shirts, their badges and their positive attitude.



© 2011-2017
Queens World Film Festival, Inc.
Screening Challenging and Exciting Film From Around the World and Around the Corner.