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Aug 03, 2015

Queens World Film Festival 2016 Now Accepting Submissions!

Filmmakers of Queens, listen up: submissions are now open for the 2016 Queens World Film Festival! Gearing up for their sixth year, QWFF will be kicking off at the Museum of the Moving (…)

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Queens World Film Festival's 2015 Opening Night. Film Credit: Rodrigo Salazar

Queens World Film Festival’s 2015 Opening Night. Film Credit: Rodrigo Salazar

Filmmakers of Queens, listen up: submissions are now open for the 2016 Queens World Film Festival! Gearing up for their sixth year, QWFF will be kicking off at the Museum of the Moving Image March 15, 2016, with plans to screen 80-100 films at various locations throughout Queens. The diverse lineup will include narrative films, documentaries, LGBTQ films, animated films, and this year’s new category: family films. They are accepting submissions for both long and short form films. Take a look at their website’s submission page to apply and for all additional information.

This past March 2015, I had a blast attending QWFF’s Opening Night and getting to know festival organizer Katha Cato. Her husband, Don Cato, serves as the artistic director, screening each submission and curating the festival’s selections. Although they are both incredibly busy, Katha was nice enough to share some insight on what makes a submission stand out. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, take notes!

-What do you and Don look for in a submission?

Don is the artistic director and he screens all of the films. The festival is programmed according to his aesthetic. He curates films with new and challenging ideas that stay true to themselves and are well-crafted.  He doesn’t like ‘unearned endings’ – endings that just sort of wrap everything up nice and tidy just because. He has positioned the festival as an opportunity to see work curated thematically for an experience you can’t have anywhere else. It is the signature of the festival. 

-What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?

Learn how to write. Read as much as you possibly can. It’s not about the camera. 

-Why is Queens such a rich location for creative talent?

There are a lot of us here. Artists, filmmakers, dreamers, thinkers, doers, believers, and with all of that energy and all of the friction, something is bound to ignite. The people who live here, many of us have traveled to get here. Or our families came here and dug in, found a place and made it into home. There are several colleges in Queens, that always makes for a creative atmosphere. We have strong leadership in the arts in Queens with Council Member Van Bramer,  and there are many cultural institutions. Art is appreciated here.

-What can we expect from the sixth year of QWFF?

We are still dedicated to screening excellent work, we will still program thematically, we will once again open at MoMI and roll out to the Secret Theatre and PS 69.  We will still screen that gem of a film that you can’t find anywhere else. We  have added a Family Friendly category and we are excited about introducing families to alternatives to the very noisy film franchises that dominate family entertainment opportunities. What you will start to notice about the Brand is that we are doing more and more Encore Screenings, thanks to support from Council Member Van Bramer and Council Member Dromm and our upcoming Indiegogo campaign set to launch August 7. You will start to see more workshops and education initiatives for all ages as we have expanded our Young Filmmakers Program to the Central Queens Y. We are planning more and more special events and Encore Screenings featuring QWFF films, extending the life of films that screen at our festival and broadening their audiences. We are busy every single day!

Artistic Director Don Cato works his magic. Photo Credit: Katha Cato

Artistic Director Don Cato works his magic. Photo Credit: Katha Cato

For more information and to stay up to date with the Queens World Film Festival, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Best of luck to all our local applicants!

About Lindsay Goyette

Lindsay has been eating and drinking her way through Queens since 2011. A casting director by day and Astoria explorer by night, you can usually find her checking out live music, theatre, or the newest neighborhood spot to enjoy a craft beer.

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