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ABOUT QWFF
Leadership Team  Selection Team  Support Team 


SCREENING COMMITTEE
Under the guidance of QWFF Artistic Director, a talented group of industry professionals screen the hundreds of films that are submitted each year. Please meet our QWFF 2019 screening committee members


   CRYSTAL MCINTOSH
Crystal has worked as a line producer and production manager on numerous campaigns and live events for MTV International, Nickelodeon, VH1, Oxygen, Food Network, Sundance TV, We Tv and AMC Networks. She has produced three independent short films including the short film version of Barrio Boy and is currently in production on the feature film version of Barrio Boy. Crystal resides with her wife, Ariela and together they are extremely proud to call Jackson Heights, Queens their home.



   EDDIE SHIEH
(pronounced ‘She’+’yeah’) is a Native New Yorker, Asian Tourist, and Filmmaker at Night. He has been a distinguished finalist nominee to the Fox Global Directors Initiative and NBCUniversal Television Directing Fellowships and his film works have garnered numerous accolades and nominations from Academy® Qualifying and international film festivals. His most recent screenplay “La Grippe” shortlisted at the first European Sundance Screenwriting Lab in Italy and is a member of the Writers Guild of America. In a previous life, Eddie served as a global advertising agency Creative Director creating award winning commercial campaigns for worldwide brands [and also founded the Red Rope Screening and Red Rope Playhouse annual series featuring internationally acclaimed short films and plays with corporate partners including Adidas Classics, Heineken and New York Magazine]. On occasion Eddie also predicts weather with his surgically repaired joints (no app yet).



   DONNA COPPER
Donna Cooper is an active member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. From Long Island, NY she went to school to become a doctor but graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in drama instead. She traveled the country doing stand-up comedy spending a year of that time in the Persian Gulf entertaining our military. Getting back to acting she spent 20 years in LA doing just that in movies, on television and in many commercials. Still acting, she's back in NY working with an improv group, a theater company and is soon to be a published author. She's married, loves golfing and helping all live their best lives.





GUEST CURATORS

   MARIJA SAJKAS
Marija Šajkaš (pronounced as Maria Shay-kash) is a U.S. based writer, media expert and political analyst, and founder of 4 Better Media. Her most recent appearances and projects include work for the Freedom of the Press, Freedom House (2017), High-Level OSCE Chairmanship Conference “Freedom of the Media in the Western Balkans” in co-operation with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (2017), Mayor’s Office of immigrant Affairs in New York City (2016), Global Freedom of Expression Initiative at Columbia University (2016), CORO- Immigrant Civic Leadership Program (2015). Marija holds an M.S. in International Affairs, with a concentration in Culture and Media Studies, from The New School University in New York, and a BS in Serbian Language and Literature from the University of Belgrade. She is the author of the novel Esther Jovanovich's Scrapbook (Klett, 2013) and co-author of the TV documentary “Missing- the Right to Know”. (2003) - www.marijasajkas.com




2019 QWFF JURORS
Every year, QWFF welcomes artists, filmmakers, actors and community members as jurors. We are pleased to welcome Vijay Mirchandani to the process. Watch this space for more exciting announcements about our 2019 Jurors!



   GINO CAFARELLI - Best Actor in Narrative Feature
Gino Cafarelli is an American actor & producer born to immigrants in Queens, New York. Gino started his professional acting career as Vinny Pitts in Episode 1 of The Sopranos and appeared beside Joe Pesce in The Good Shepherd. Robert Siegel cast Gino opposite Patton Oswalt in the critically acclaimed cult classic Big Fan which premiered at Sundance and was nominated for both a Gotham Award and an Independent Spirit Award. His TV Credits include Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Blue Bloods, Castle, Happy, God Friended Me, and NBC's Blindspot. When Gino brought his personal short story Cruise to Robert Siegel they reteamed to bring the film to life with Cafarelli as Executive Producer. CRUISE is currently making the rounds on cable and on demand platforms. Gino is also a filmmaker with his award winning Bricklayer’s Poet under his belt which won an audience award at the acclaimed Vision Fest and Best Screenplay at the Queens World Film Festival. Cafarelli is in the upcoming Martin Scorsese picture The Irishman, and will be in Bad Education with Hugh Jackman followed by FONZO with Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, and Matt Dillon.


   CYNTHIA LÓPEZ - Feature Documentary
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.


   VIJAY MIRCHANDANI - Short Documentary
Lights, Camera, Action, three words that changed his life, from in front of the camera to behind as an award winning filmmaker. An incredible journey working in India, Dubai, Italy, Qatar, Malaysia, Australia, China and US branded this engineer as a disrupter who took a head start in the early 90’s learning the soup to nuts of Tv broadcasting carving a niche. Vijay is a hybrid creative director with the ability to own a room, who masters in storytelling and content creation. Over the years he has gathered extensive understanding of the entire filmmaking process, from both technical and creative points of view. He has a successful track record in developing relevant and compelling stories that forge strong emotional connections between brand and consumer, attract audiences and satisfy advertisers and distributors. Currently he is a creative consultant on short films, corporate sizzles, CSR’s, documentaries, digital/social media projects, film festivals and distribution. He has received several international awards in promotions, marketing and documentaries. He is on the jury with PROMAXBDA, Queens World Film Festival, Cine Awards, New York Festivals Tv & Film. In 2008, Vijay discovered his passion for storytelling and his directorial documentary on Autistic children in Qatar “They Are No Less” was broadcast on Aljazeera Documentary. His passion led him to Australia where his feature documentary on homelessness “Where The Streets Have No Name” was well received and screened at 33 International film festivals winning 14 awards. This inspirational documentary made a huge impact with the audiences and was broadcast in Germany, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, UK, Australia and US. It is currently up for institutional sales across North America & Canada. A firm believer in giving back to the community by supporting on humanitarian issues that matter, his bilingual doco on “Organic Food and Food Safety In China” is in post-production and international docu-series on “Change Makers” is under development and a few other short films. His mastery in his craft and ideology, “Every idea is a good idea” pushes him out of his comfort zone in making a difference!


   ANDI REISS - Short Documentary
Andi Reiss is filmmaker and video artist based in Oxford, UK and NYC. As an independent producer, director, writer, self-shooter, editor and colourist, photographer, media artist, video painter, cartoonist and lecturer, his work aims to challenge the constraints and conventions of spectatorship and chronicle an emotive connection between people and their relationship to the worlds and scenarios they inhabit. It spans film, installation and performance, employing a range of methodologies in media. Over twenty years of working independently he has won some festival awards and gained experience of most film-making situations, producing many varied types of content from live events, digital videos, long-form observational documentary, short and very short films, to a 90 minute feature and multi-channel video installation, or video variant. He is also a mistake-maker, and for those that consider themselves experienced in the classroom you’ll have learned that it isn't so much about not making mistakes, but instead it’s how you handle them. Outside of professional activities, his interests include trampolining, bubblewrap, Avril Lavigne’s underrated latter work and stone-skipping.


   DONNA COPPER - Short Documentary
Donna Cooper is an active member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. From Long Island, NY she went to school to become a doctor but graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in drama instead. She traveled the country doing stand-up comedy spending a year of that time in the Persian Gulf entertaining our military. Getting back to acting she spent 20 years in LA doing just that in movies, on television and in many commercials. Still acting, she's back in NY working with an improv group, a theater company and is soon to be a published author. She's married, loves golfing and helping all live their best lives.


   CRYSTAL MCINTOSH - Short Documentary
Crystal has worked as a line producer and production manager on numerous campaigns and live events for MTV International, Nickelodeon, VH1, Oxygen, Food Network, Sundance TV, We Tv and AMC Networks. She has produced three independent short films including the short film version of Barrio Boy and is currently in production on the feature film version of Barrio Boy. Crystal resides with her wife, Ariela and together they are extremely proud to call Jackson Heights, Queens their home.


   Easmanie Michel - Narrative Feature
Easmanie Michel has worked continuously in the film and television industry since 2004. She’s currently the Finance and Special Projects Associates at New York Women in Film & Television(NYWIFT). Her responsibilities at NYWIFT includes curating the Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories Series and she also runs the Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Michel work on films include Transporter, Hoot and Miami Vice. Television projects include Miami Ink and Burn Notice. Michel has produced and directed several short films and she is working on her debut feature film titled Caroline's Wedding. Her script for Caroline's Wedding was a finalist for the New York University Fusion Film Festival and it was also one of the scripts selected to participate in the Women at Sundance Financing and Strategy Intensive in 2016. In February of 2018 the script was the Grand Prize Winner of the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. Michel has a Master's Degree in Cinema Studies from New York University.


   JOSH GREEN - Narrative Feature
Josh Green is an industry vet and the founder of Jagman Productions, an award winning feature film production company based in NYC. Josh has produced, represented, or distributed more than 50 films in a sixteen-year time span with ten years spent as the Head of Sales & Distribution for Ira Deutchman’s Emerging Pictures. His recent feature production credits include PBS/American Masters documentary By Sidney Lumet on the late iconic director; music documentaries Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (Cinedigm/Independent Lens) and I Want My Name Back (Image/BET) on seminal bands Journey and The Sugarhill Gang, respectively; and Lifetime TV movie Seasons of Love produced alongside Taraji P. Henson and also starring Gladys Knight, Method Man and Letoya Luckett. Josh previously executive produced the IDA nominated Best Documentary, Kassim the Dream, on child soldier turned boxing champion, Kassim Ouma (IFC Films/Sundance Channel/ESPN Films). Josh is currently in post production on the feature documentary TLC: No Introduction on fan favorite band TLC, one of the best selling female pop acts in history. He’s further an Executive Producer on the South African western, Five Fingers for Marseilles, which had its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival and was released theatrically in the US to critical acclaim in Fall 2018 (Uncork'd Entertainment). Josh’s next scripted film is the US/China co-production Confetti, a Chinese mother daughter immigrant story starring Amy Irving, Zhu Zhu and Helen Slater. The film wrapped production in January 2018 and is currently in post. Josh has several other doc and scripted projects in development highlighted by the narrative Effa, on the life of baseball and civil rights icon Effa Manley, who owned a Negro League team in 1930s/40s Newark.


   OPAL H. BENNETT - Narrative Feature
After several years of representing the legal interests of artists, Opal is now happy to operate in a creative role. Starting as a volunteer with Sundance London, she now screens for the Nantucket, Hampton and Tribeca Film Festivals. She also is a film contributor to the online publication, Limité, providing film reviews and artist interviews. She's very excited to be involved with programming for QWFF and helping to introduce new filmmakers to Queens audiences. - www.limitemagazine.com



   GY MIRANO - Narrative Shorts
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. www.gymirano.com

   DAVID WOON - Narrative Shorts
David Woon is a director-producer who is based in Los Angeles and New York City. His work explores the power of oral storytelling through hyper stylized reenactments. He is a recent graduate from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California and was a 2014 fellow at the Tribeca Film Fellows Program. His experimental short Local//Express screened on the billboards of New York’s Times Square throughout April 2014 as a part of Time Square Alliance’s Midnight Moment. Amongst his recent credits includes Diablo Entertainment’s Flower, directed by Max Winkler starring Zoey Deutch.

   EDDIE SHIEH - Narrative Shorts
(pronounced ‘She’+’yeah’) is a Native New Yorker, Asian Tourist, and Filmmaker at Night. He has been a distinguished finalist nominee to the Fox Global Directors Initiative and NBCUniversal Television Directing Fellowships and his film works have garnered numerous accolades and nominations from Academy® Qualifying and international film festivals. His most recent screenplay “La Grippe” shortlisted at the first European Sundance Screenwriting Lab in Italy and is a member of the Writers Guild of America. In a previous life, Eddie served as a global advertising agency Creative Director creating award winning commercial campaigns for worldwide brands [and also founded the Red Rope Screening and Red Rope Playhouse annual series featuring internationally acclaimed short films and plays with corporate partners including Adidas Classics, Heineken and New York Magazine]. On occasion Eddie also predicts weather with his surgically repaired joints (no app yet).


   FAIYAZ JAFRI - Animation
Faiyaz Jafri was born and raised in rural Holland of Dutch and Pakistani descent. He studied at the Technical University of Delft (MSc) and is a self-taught animation artist and music composer. Jafri's art explores Jungian archetypes in the modern world, distilling the pop references of mass media and global popular culture into a visual shorthand of neo-archetypes. His work has been exhibited in the form of print, paintings, installations, animations, and sculptures and Jafri’s award-winning films have screened at prestigious festivals and museums around the world. He is also a part-time professor at Parsons School of Design and Queens College in New York.


   KAITLYN MUSTO - Animation
Kaitlyn Musto is not only a 22 year old Cartoonist, an Astoria native, and a lover of the arts, she is an alumni of the the Cato's first Young Filmmakers Program! Having grown up in the creative hub that is New York City, she has been able to dabble in many different kinds of art including Illustration, Photography, Fashion Design and Film, but finds her strongest passions in making comics and telling stories. After being a part of a great art program in middle school, then graduating from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Arts she earned her BFA from her dream college: School of Visual Arts. Her life has been creatively driven for as long as she can remember and she is excited about her new project: a graphic novel about dealing with anxiety as a young person in a big world, with a touch of magic, and a lot of flowers. She anticipates publishing it within the next few years while she explores various other artistic ventures.




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.