Turning five in 2015, 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 screens challenging films representative of quality independent cinema from around the world and around the corner. We are especially interested in maverick filmmakers of any sex, orientation, ethnicity, country, region with a point of view and we don't want you to back off. Take a stand and show us something we have never seen before.
Filmmakers can enter any festival in the world, so when an artist choose to submit their work to us, we don't take it lightly. We make sure that the selected filmmakers have time with their audiences and we build community around the films. A great deal of this festival is about bringing people together. That is why each block is curated and hosted by a QWFF Festival Associate and if a filmmaker is present, there is a Q & A to encourage dialogue.
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 the year’s Most Exciting Improviser. For many years Katha also served as the Director of After-School and Camp Services at the historic Henry Street Settlement and has spent many years developing youth and bringing people together via theatre arts, film and video.
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, Cannes (Silver Medal for Pipeline Patrol in 1974), 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 won Best Documentary Short, Best Director Doc Short & Best New York filmmaker at the Chain Film Festival. 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, United Neighborhood Middle School, CASTLE Middle School and the Buckley School for Boys and under his guidance, over 20 student driven short films are produced each year.
FRIENDS OF THE FESTIVAL
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
QWFF GUEST JUROR
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.|
QWFF SCREENING COMMITTEE
LAURENCE HOFFMAN - Associate Programmer
LAURENCE HOFFMANN created Wildside Media in 2005 in Switzerland to produce cutting edge projects and produced the internationally renowned “I Only Wanted To Live” with Mimmo Calopresti, Steven Spielberg and his Shoah Foundation which premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. She has produced various other documentaries on social issues for the European market and a short film for the Italian art magazine FMR, along with the creation of the circus school for children Cirillino (godfathered by Daniele Finzi Pasca former director of Cirque du Soleil) and the launch of emerging Italian band, Marti.
She has worked at MonteCinemaVerita' Foundation (2000-2004), a not for profit institution in support of African, Asian, Latin American and Eastern European filmmakers - Bela Tarr, Danis Tanovic, Jafar Panahi, Yesim Ustaoglu, Fruit Chan, Abderrahmane Sissako, Lucrecia Martel, Elia Suleiman, Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul, Alexander Sukorov to name a few.
She worked as a Production Coordinator at Cinecitta’ Studios “the Hollywood on the Tiber”, where she collaborated with international filmmakers, notably Abel Ferrara and Gregory Crewdson (2006-2009). During that period she created the Multimedia Department for Universo Spa, where she also managed the 100 seats theater (2007-2009).
Laurence has attended various international film markets and has been invited as a speaker and jury member around the world. She moved to the USA in 2010 to provide services to foreign and NYC film companies while developing her own projects and programming special events.|
JENNIFER GRIFFITH - Associate Programmer
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). jennifergriffith.com
SHELLEY H. MILLER RN - Associate Programmer
Shelley has made educational films for The Healing Arts Institute, her holistic center founded in Boise, Idaho in 1992. Her feature about the synergy of fire-flies is currently in development alongside a short series based on the ABC's of holistic health: Alignment, Balance and Chi. For QWFF ’14, Shelley has been instrumental on specialty screenings such as the seniors and children's program and understands that bringing a film into fruition is like magic. "No other place in the world is as diverse as Queens, and I suspect no other audience either. It's all about making a difference and QWFF does! I am honored to be on the screening committee. Can't wait to march forth!" - www.shelleyhmiller.wix.com/fireflysproductions
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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."
TAMIKA KIDD - Projection Coordinator
Born and raised in California, Tamika now resides ALL OVER the world, and because Queens is such a diverse borough, it feels like home. Tamika has an extensive background in film and television Post Production from coast to coast and has used her 20 + years of film/data archival and technical skills to cover the spectrum of what it takes to have a successful production and has applied these skills in the process of the QWFF 2014 festival. She continues to work with world renowned Production facilities, many which are located in her favorite BOROUGH of QUEENS and brings her technical solutions to this arena of festivals. You may hear her holla' from time to time "we can fix it in post"
YOUNG FILMMAKERS PROGRAM
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.