Independent Films Celebrated In March

BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Staff Writer

The Queens World Film Festival is back for its fourth year and will return in March.

The five-day film festival, spanning from March 4-9, will host 130 screenings in thematic blocks at venues in Jackson Heights, Long Island City and Sunnyside.

Katha and Don Cato with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer during last year’s Queens World Film Festival.

Katha and Don Cato with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer during last year’s Queens World Film Festival.

Festival director Katha and her husband, film maker Don Cato, cultivated their own film festival to celebrate the independent filmmaking spirit by encouraging the novice and the student filmmaker.

“There is an incredible renaissance going on in Queens,” Katha said. “We think the Borough can support a world-class film festival.”

The husband-wife team feature filmmakers who take chances to bring challenging stories by providing them with a platform to screen their films that otherwise may be overlooked, Katha said.

The films will play on the big screen according to thematic blocks, which the couple said maximizes each film’s audience potential. Every screening will be treated as its own mini event with its own event page on Facebook, Katha said.

“We are bringing films made from all over the world,” Katha said. “Some of these filmmakers live in countries where it is very difficult to express yourself and they have a very limited budget.”

The filmmakers come from Iran, India, New Zealand, Philippines, Indonesia and 12 of the films are made by Queens-based filmmakers.

The films come with hardcore themes that make you want to think, Katha said.
One of the many thematic blocks Don spoke in great detail about was an “O.M.G.” block that consists of films made “outside the realm of reality or reach.” Some of the other blocks he mentioned were, “All About the Music,” “Transmigration,” “Very Moving Images,” “La Familia” and many more.

Don said watching independent films is very different from watching a big-box office movie with famous actors.

“If I just let myself go and just try to watch it as just an experience, let it wash over me, I can then enjoy it for what it is,” he said.

Katha is undergoing her last radiation session to combat cancer and expects to be in good health for the opening night of the Queens World Film Festival on March 4 at the Museum of Moving Image.

“The Queens World Film Festival is evolving and expanding alongside the Borough itself,” Carl Goodman, executive director of Museum of the Moving Image, said.

For more information about the festival, visit www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.

Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@queenstribune.com, or @Tsakhuja13.