The Queens World Film Festival

by Jon L. Denby in ,

Republished from, March 3, 2012

Thursday night marked the opening of the Queens World Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Running from March 1st through March 4th, the festival will showcase about 130 international films, organized into 34 program blocks, and shown at three different theater venues across Queens. There is also a closing night party and awards ceremony at the Z-Hotel in Long Island City.

Produced by Katha and Don Cato, the festival is in its second year of running. The festival evolved from the 2010 Queens International Film Festival, which was mired in controversy after the festival’s founder, Maria Castalado, was charged with defrauding vendors, advertisers, bands, employees, and guests. Since then, it has rebounded under the Catos’ stewardship to become a big success.

Opening night was at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. A very modern and elegant building, it was the perfect venue for a festival of this kind. In attendance were filmmakers from around the country and world, including Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment (The Toxic Avenger series).

After opening remarks by City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Deputy Commissioner John Battista of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting, the films began. The first film was, interestingly enough, a film from Iran called “War Story.” Apparently banned in Iran, the film was set in the middle of a desert battlefield where two soldiers—one Iranian and the other probably Iraqi—at first try to kill one another; however, they both progressively come to see the perversion and absurdity of war.

For me the other highlights of the night included two other films, both of which offered powerful social commentary. The first was a smart little film called “Easy Street.” Set in New York, it is about an ambitious young lawyer who is seeking a position as the clerk of a prestigious Federal Judge in Manhattan. This judge, however, also has the reputation of being highly eccentric, and the job interview ends up being most bizarre for the lawyer. Things culminate when the judge gives his interviewee an ultimatum that will force him to choose between a successful law career and the woman he loves.

The other film that stood out was called “Queen.” Actor Adam Rose, who directed and starred in the film, plays a drag queen cabaret star whose plans to adopt a child fall apart when the adoption agency disqualifies her because of her homosexual “lifestyle.” She enlists the help of the cabaret’s bouncer in a ploy to convince the agency to reconsider.

After the films, it was time to party. The official after-party of the festival was held just down the street at Studio Bar. With a wristband all festival attendees were entitled to $5.00 drinks at the bar. It was a great opportunity to network, discuss film, and make new friends. This Sunday, around 8:00pm, a similar scene will play out at the Z-Hotel at 11-01 43rd Avenue, Long Island City. Don’t miss it.

For travelers and lovers of film, the Queens World Film Festival has a lot to offer. If you are in New York for the weekend, the festival is a perfect opportunity to soak up some culture, meet filmmakers, and have a drink or two at a hot party.

The films continue until tomorrow evening. For the full schedule and to purchase tickets, go to the festival’s website at

The Queens World Film Festival

Festival Venues:

Jackson Heights Cinema

40-31 82nd Street, Jackson Heights. 7 Train to 82nd Street – Jackson Heights stop

Renaissance Charter School. 

35-59 81 Street, Jackson Heights. 7 Train to 82nd Street – Jackson Heights stop 

PS 69

77-02 37 Avenue, Jackson Heights. 7 Train to 74 Street – Broadway or 7 Train to 82nd Street – Jackson Heights stop

Z – Hotel (For the closing night party, beginning 8pm)

11-01 43rd Avenue, Long Island City. F Train to 21st Street – Queensbridge stop or 7, N, Q to Queensboro Plaza stop

Introducing the Architecture and Design Film Festival

by Jon L. Denby in ,

Photo by ADFFRepublished from

Film is as much a part of New York’s history and culture as the Yankees and Coney Island. Every year, travelers from all over the world come to see groundbreaking new films at the city’s many film festivals. For those interested in architecture and design—and films about architecture and design—then you’re not going to want to miss this week’s Architecture and Design Film Festival at Tribeca Cinemas.

Running from October 19th to the 23rd, the AD Film Festival will showcase 31 films, ranging in length from 3 minutes to 93 minutes.  The films, shown in the Cinema’s two theaters, are organized into 15 programs with names like “Unfinished Spaces,” “Pool Party,” “Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life,” and “Antwerp Central.” Tickets are sold by program, with each program containing 1-4 films.

Produced by architect Kyle Bergman, this one-of-a-kind festival has a lot to offer. In addition to the films, the Cinema’s Varick Room (which also contains a full bar) will host engaging panel discussions involving leading filmmakers, architects, designers, and critics.  Among those slated to speak are award-winning journalist Ben Loeterman, architect Robert A.M. Stern, and filmmaker Eames Demetrios.

Last year’s festival was a major success, selling out on opening night and attracting figures like The New Yorker’s Architecture Critic, Paul Goldberger, and legendary architect, Robert Venturi. This year promises to be even better with a spectacular lineup of handpicked films and fascinating panelists.

Some may be skeptical that architecture, as a theme, translates well into film. It not only translates well, but, as art forms, architecture and film are inherently linked. “Maybe the most interesting similarity is that they are both really storytelling,” says Mr. Bergman. “When you make a film, you’re obviously telling a story, even if it’s a non-narrative film. And when you’re doing a building you’re always telling a story, whether you mean to or not.”

The films at last year’s festival were extremely interesting and well produced. Even those who are scantly interested in architecture and design will still find the stories in many of the films engaging. These films are more than just about structures and the materials they are made out of; they are about the lives of people—their struggles, their dreams, their successes, and even their failures.

Whether you are an architect, a designer, a filmmaker, an enthusiast, or simply a traveler coming to town, you are going to want to check out the Architecture and Design Film Festival.

Note: Stay tuned for full coverage of the AD Film Festival. I will be doing live blogging from the event and uploading stories to as well as:

Architecture and Design Film Festival -

Running October 19th to October 23rd at Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, New York.

Tickets can be purchased online at