2017 FILMS



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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 returns to the Museum of the Moving Image in both the Redstone and the Bartos room. The festival is also screening in the historic Zukor Theatre at the Kaufman Astoria Studios. venues


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. 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

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 improvisation event in LIC     Katha Cato gets back in the spotlight


   Cynthia Lopez is a media strategist, executive producer, content advisor and creative consultant. She is the former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, where she was the steward of the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. López implemented strategies to support production of film and TV. Television production in NYC, increased from 29 episodic series to 46 series and feature film production rose from 192 to 253 films during her tenure. López joined the City of New York from American Documentary | POV, where she had worked since 2000. She is the recipient of 11 National News & Documentary Emmy Awards, among many other industry recognitions.

   Industry vet Josh Green is the founder of newly formed Jagman Productions, an award winning full service feature and commercial production company. Josh has produced, represented, or distributed more than 50 films in a fifteen year time span. His recent feature production credits include PBS/American Masters documentary By Sidney Lumet, music documentaries Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (Cinedigm/Independent Lens) and I Want My Name Back (Image/BET), and Lifetime TV movie Seasons of Love. Josh is currently in production on two feature documentaries: one on fan favorite band TLC, the biggest selling female pop act in history; and the second on Judy Feld Carr, who rescued more than 3,000 Jews from Syria over three decades, representing the largest single rescue of individuals since WWII. In addition, Josh is an executive producer on South African western Five Fingers for Marseilles, which wrapped production in the summer of 2016. Josh has several other doc, scripted and TV projects in development.

   With a PhD from Yale, Lieber was a cultural anthropologist and taught at a number of universities but an interest in documentary and ethnographic film and photography led him to feature films. He wrote at Disney, moving on become the first a story editor at New Century Productions and then their V.P. of Creative Affairs and Development. He produced "Flash of Genius" for Universal and recently produced "The House That Jack Built," based on a script by Sundance best screenplay winner, Joe Vasquez. The film has turned out to be a multi-festival award winner with distribution through VegaBaby. 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.

   Christine Burrill has 40 years of experience in filmmaking including documentaries, fiction films, cinematography, directing and writing. Her awards for directing include the Silver Plaque from the Chicago Film Festival and the Grand Prize from the Aspen Filmfest for “The New Maid.” She directed 4 documentaries shown on the Public Broadcasting Service in the US, and her credits as cinematographer include many NOVA’s (PBS) and “Our Brand in Crisis,” a feature length documentary about Bolivia’s presidential race with James Caravelle (Best IDA doc), and “Shut Up and Sing” a feature length documentary about The Dixie Chicks, directed by Barbara Kopple, and the Showtime Biography of Richard Pryor directed by Marina Zenovitch. She has written TV Movies (The Counterfeit Contessa) and ghost-wrote a book for Warner Books. Her still photography has been shown in galleries in Los Angeles and in 5 museums in Latin America.

   An award-winning filmmaker and founder of the 30under30 Film Festival, which is partnering with the UN Women in 2017. He is also developing a feature film that is part of the ifp (Independent Filmmaker Project) in their narrative lab program, No Borders. He is a 2016 CUP (Council of Urban Professionals) Fellows graduate from the Leadership Institute.

   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).

   Gy Mirano is a New York actress, voice-over artist, and arts advocate originally from South America. She is on the Advisory Board and Film Jury of CUNY’s The Americas Film Festival of New York and the Film Jury of the Queens World Film Festival. Ms. Mirano is an elected SAG-AFTRA New York Delegate, and serves on two national committees representing the interests of Spanish-language actors. Her work as a performer together with her advocacy of Latin American arts and culture in the U.S. was recently recognized with the Gabriela Mistral, Julia Burgos, Frida Kahlo Award. Television and film include: Law & Order, Against the Law, Crime Story, Double Deception, Real Sports, Paragraph 175, Front Line, Dora the Explorer, Les Petites Canailles, 3 Américas, and Rights on the Line. Selected voice acting credits include: Nikon, Avon, Ford, Folgers, Time Magazine, The New York Times, narrations for PBS, HBO, MoMA, Museum of Natural History, El Museo del Barrio, and San Francisco Fine Arts Museums. She was recently the Spanish-language announcer for Hillary’s Clinton presidential campaign and for the campaign of U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Ms. Mirano also works as a Spanish-language diction and voice acting coach for actors, politicians, and professionals. She teaches voice-over technique and the business of the entertainment industry at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. Gy is honored to be part of Queens World Film Festival Film Jury.

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.

   Composer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Ben Musser is the creative force behind BENYARO, the indie roots and soul project started in New York City, now based out of Jackson Hole, WY. The composer and music supervisor for Searching For Fortune (premiering 3/16 at QWFF), Ben and his music have been compared to the likes of David Bowie, Cat Stevens, The Band, Tom Waits, & The Avett Brothers in RELIX, Nashville Scene and papers across the country. In addition to touring and performing 100+ live dates a year, Ben looks forward to catching the ears of more directors and producers to continue working in the world of film and television. 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.

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.


SAM BERLAND - Projectionist
   Sam Berland has worked with QWFF since the start of the festival as a Projectionist is the QWFF7 lead Projectionist. He has Quality Control Expert on AV equipment. He and builds all film playlists and 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.



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Queens World Film Festival, Inc.
Screening Challenging and Exciting Film From Around the World and Around the Corner.