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2019 FILMS

Leadeship Team
Selection Team
Support Team



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Leadership Team  Selection Team  Support Team 


Turning ten in 2020, 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, 87 nations to date, including Cuba, France, Spain, Serbia, Korea, Bangladesh, China, Italy, the Ukraine, Iran, Scotland, 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 10th Annual Queens World Film Festival returns to the Museum of the Moving Image in both the Redstone Theatre and the Bartos screening room as well as the historic Zukor Theatre at the Kaufman Astoria Studios located right next door for 11 days of exciting indie films - March 19 - 21, 2020. Strategically placed around both venues are restuarants and bars with incredible food and special discounts just for QWFF participants and attendees. The festival village is located in the Historic Astoria Arts District which is subway close and easy to find via foot or in your car (Yes, there is street and metered parking!) 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 all owed into China to create an immersion documentary: China: Behind Silk Curtains. His first feature Dixie Lanes, starring Karen Black, Hoyt Axton & Moses Gunn was 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


   GILDO NICOLO SPADONI - Board President
A native Astorian, travels the world with his camera capturing his unique images. Coming from a family of Italian painters, Spadoni is known for his artist approach which is evident in a full range of work from portraits of joyous children in the streets of Istanbul to French bicyclists peddling through the gardens of Versailles. Spadoni’s photographic style is also evident in his landscapes and portraits with unique compositions of graphics and color that portray his passionate vision. Spadoni’s love for photography began at the age of 13 when he found his canvas through the viewfinder of a 35mm Nikon Camera. He is a 1975 graduate of F.I.T. with a degree in Fashion Photorgraphy. In 1977, he photographed Warhol, Wyeth and Neiman’s openings and Studio 54 parties. In addition to shooting fashion during the 80’s and working exclusively with Ford, Zoli, Wilhelmina and Elite Models, his travels in the 90’s took him to the far corners of the globe to capture the essence of 32 nations and he worked as a model represented by the top modeling agencies. His clients include American Express, Bloomingdales, Rizzoli Books, Mastercard, Merril Lync, AT&T, Sony and US Air. He has photographed Sophia Loren, Reggie Jackson, Calvin Klein, Henry Kissinger, Jack Lemon, Kathleen Turner, Richard Branson, Philip Johnson, Jeremy Irons, Pavarotti, Mayor Koch and Geoffrey Holder. He supports Greening Wester Queens, The Long Island City Arts Open, QWFF and is on the committee to permanently illuminate the Hell Gate Bridge for its centennial celebration. He is collaborating on a project with the National Museum of Montserrat donating over 1000 color photographs from 1991 to 1995 for an exhibit titled “Paradise Not Lost – The Ghost Project – after Hugo and before the Volcano. His latest project involves vintage and digital photographs of Astoria/LIC called ''THEN AND NOW-FORTY YEARS LATER'' and his photography is represented by Corbis.Com in over 65 nations.

   MARK BANISH - Board Secretary
Mark Banish got his start with the Queens World Film Festival during his tenure at Amalgamated Bank in 2011, when Amalgamated opened a branch in Jackson Heights. Once he got a taste for what the Cato's were trying to accomplish and seeing the enormous potential of the festival, he knew it was the right fit. Since then, he’s worked every year to secure corporate sponsorship dollars and material support for the festival.
Since moving to New Jersey, he longs for the delicious Indian culinary delights in Jackson Heights, which was another appealing reason to lend his hand to the board of directors as secretary. Mark has a background in East Asian History, Arts and Languages, and has lived in Japan for several years after graduating from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, teaching English and doing a bit of translation work. He’s currently a project manager at Investors Bank in the marketing department, where he enjoys a little slice of everything marketing.

   LEIGH MONTVILLE - Board Treasurer
Originally from Boston, Leigh Montville is a longtime Queens resident, settling in Jackson Heights more than 10 years ago. He became involved with the Queens World Film Festival through volunteering for the festival and then joining the board several years ago. Leigh has held business development and licensing roles in publishing for many years, working for Conde Nast (The New Yorker, Wired, Vogue, Vanity Fair), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The Daily Beast and now at Springer Publishing Company. He is also a longtime volunteer for Big Apple Greeter, Open House New York and his alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania. For many years Leigh served on the board of his co-op, as Treasurer and as President.

   SANDRA SCHULBERG - Board Member
Sandra Schulberg runs IndieCollect, a non-profit organization whose mission is to rescue and re-activate significant American independent films. A longtime indie producer, film financier, and advocate for “Off-Hollywood” filmmakers, she founded the IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project), now celebrating its 40th anniversary, and co-founded First Run Features.
She and the IndieCollect team have restored nearly 30 films, of number of which are in re-release or will be out soon: In The Soup, The Atomic Cafe, The War At Home, Thank You and Goodnight, It Happens To Us, Woo Who? May Wilson, The Believer, Cane River, Seeing Red, Jazz on a Summer’s Day, among others. In 2014, she completed a 10-year effort to restore and re-issue her father’s film, Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today [The Schulberg/Waletzky Restoration], now in release through New Day Films with her 130-page monograph, Filmmakers for the Prosecution.
As VP for the PBS “American Playhouse” series, she was involved in the financing of more than two dozen movies, including I Shot Andy Warhol, Angels & Insects, Amateur, Safe, and Julie Taymor’s first film, Fool’s Fire. During her stint at Hollywood Partners, a private German media fund, she executive-produced Oscar-nominated Quills, Undisputed, and Adrienne Shelly’s first movie I’ll Take You There, among others. Under her own banner, she produced John Hanson’s Wildrose and Jill Godmilow’s Waiting for the Moon (Sundance Grand Prize winner); line produced Glen Pitre’s Belizaire the Cajun; and co-produced Ann Hu’s Shadow Magic and Beth B’s Exposed. She also raised finishing funds for Barbara Kopple’s Woodstock film, My Generation. The first two movies she associate-produced – Alambrista and Northern Lights – won the Camera d’Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and she handled the international sales.
Schulberg is an Associate Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of the Arts, where she teaches Feature Film Financing. She holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College, and has done post-graduate study in Public Diplomacy at USC’s Annenberg School on Communications. Born in Paris, she is fluent in French, Spanish and German, and lives in Jackson Heights, Queens.

   DON CATO - Board Member

Leadership Team  Selection Team  Support Team 



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