The Queens World Film Festival is set to return to the Museum of the Moving Image and other venues across Queens March 15 – 20. Organizers anticipate screening between 80 and 100 films over the course of the week.
It is important to QWFF that every screening is a worthwhile experience for participating filmmakers and guests, so they will continue many of their signature elements: dynamic thematic programming, hosted screening events with engaging talk-backs, relevant networking opportunities and maximum access to press. They will again screen narrative films, documentaries, LGBTQ and animated films and they will program both short and feature length films. However this year they are adding a new category: Family Films. They are excited to introduce families to independent and international cinema.
Each year, the Queens World Film Festival pays tribute to an outstanding filmmaker for his or her body of work. This year’s “Spirit of Queens” Award goes to independent film director Melvin Van Peebles. Peebles is an American actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, novelist, painter and composer. Successful in every medium, Van Peebles is most famous for his movie Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, which heralded a new era of African-American cinema. It will be screened on the evening of March 16 at MoMI, followed by a Q&A with the legendary Mr. Peebles, moderated by MoMI trustee Warrington Hudlin, founder of the Black Filmmaker Foundation.
To highlight the IndieCollect film preservation campaign, Susan Seidelman’s 1982 movie, Smithereens, will be showcased at MoMI on Closing Night, Saturday, March 19. The Smithereens negative was found by the IndieCollect team in the vaults of DuArt Film & Video after DuArt closed its photo-chemical division, and was placed at the Academy Film Archive for safekeeping. IndieCollect, headed by QWFF board member Sandra Schulberg, is dedicated to saving independent films before they are lost due to neglect, lack of funding and/or faulty preservation strategies.
The Queens World Film Festival engages audiences with targeted outreach to the diverse communities that comprise the borough of Queens. Turning six in 2016, 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, which aims 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 this year’s festival there are tender films, heartbreaking films, and several works that are extremely provocative, maybe even, disturbing. Taken as a whole, this year’s selection ties 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 Queens World Film Festival is a program of the Queens World Film Initiative, Inc., a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization.