2017-07-12 / Front Page

Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Presents Over 150 Films

Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is proud to announce its first-ever film lineup at the inaugural 10-day event taking place August 4-13 at Kew Gardens Cinemas, Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens and at the Queens Museum in nearby Flushing Meadows Corona Park. From a pool of nearly 400 film submissions, the festival will present over 150 remarkable films from 24 countries, which will compete for awards in the categories of Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animation and Experimental Film.

The festival will throw a Kick-Off Party on Friday, August 4 at Austin’s Ale House’s Trackside Cafe by the Long Island Rail Road Station in Kew Gardens, beginning at 8:00 p.m., with a plaque dedication ceremony in honor of the late Rodney Dangerfield (who grew up in Kew Gardens), presented by Friends of Maple Grove, and free beer tastings from some of the top breweries in Queens from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The party is free and open to the public, but requires an RSVP and is on a first come, first-served basis, by Thursday, August 3 (www.kewgardensfestivalofcinema.com/events/kew-gardens-festival-of-cinema...).
“After more than a year of planning, Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema is finally here!” said Founder and Executive Director Jayson Simba. “We could not have made this extraordinary event possible without the generosity and support of the residents of Kew Gardens. I would like to give a particular shout out to Maple Grove Cemetery and the Friends of Maple Grove, whose generosity and support has lead to many introductions to officials in the Queens community, not to mention that without them we wouldn’t have a headquarters from which to operate. I’d also like to thank members of the Kew Gardens Civic Association for allowing us to discuss the inner workings of a film festival, something that will be a first in the community. We hope our festival will help this historic hamlet of Queens continue to thrive and prosper both economically and culturally, and plan to keep this tradition going every year hereafter.”
Winners for every category, chosen by the festival’s specially selected jury, will receive a personally engraved unique statuette at the Grand Awards Gala on the final night of the Festival, Sunday, August 13, a ticketed event (for tickets click on events at www.kewgardensfestivalofcinema.com/movie-schedule/) that will take place on the rooftop penthouse of the world-famous Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The jurors are: Rodney Ferrer, director of the critically acclaimed web series “City of Mercy”; actress Marlene Forte (“Fear the Walking Dead,” “Dallas”); Sam Adelman, assistant editor on “Donnie Brasco,” “Practical Magic” and “Desperately Seeking Susan”; Tassos Rigopoulos, award-winning Forest Hills filmmaker and assistant professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College; Nicole Tisen, associate producer of the PBS multiple Emmy Award-winning documentary series “POV”; and Allan Knee, writer of “Little Women” on Broadway and the film and stage versions of “Finding Neverland.”
The opening feature film on Saturday, August 5 is the world premiere of Zachary Raines’ comedy “ACCIDENTS,” which will be paired with the narrative short, “A MAN FULL OF TROUBLE,” directed by Michael Johnston. The narrative feature program includes other World Premieres such as Pierre St-Jacques’s “36 STEPS ON A CURVED ROAD,” Manuel Mira’s “GÉNERO (GENDER)” and Heather Fink’s “INSIDE YOU;” the North American Premiere of Rankin Hickman’s “DARK MERIDIAN;” the East Coast Premieres of West Liang’s “ALL I WANT,” David Ray’s “GRAND UNIFIED THEORY,” Alexander Gutterman and Aboubacar Camara’s “IN WINTER” and Julia Butler and Daniel Mentz “SLIPAWAY;” and other New York and Queens premieres. The Closing Feature Film on Saturday, Aug. 12 is the New York Premiere of Francesco Calogero’s “SECOND SPRING,” paired with the narrative short “THIS WAY TO WONDERLAND” directed by Zenas Cao.
The festival presents a number of Queens-made films, including the World Premiere of Forest Hills filmmaker Louie Cortes’ “GOOD DAY,” Kew Gardens Hills resident Jermaine Manigault’s narrative short “LANGUAGE IS DEAD,” the feature “NOWHERE, MICHIGAN” by Robert Vornkahl of Woodhaven, the short “CHOICES” by Rick Hamilton of Long Island City, and several others.    
Among the Documentary Features is the North American Premiere of Susanne Helmer’s “MELANIE,” the U.S. Premiere of Eve Lamont’s “NEIGHBORHOOD UTOPIA,” the New York Premiere of Todd Nilssen’s “THE LAST STOP,” the Queens Premieres of Sean Kernan’s “CROW STORIES” and Jessie Auritt’s “SUPERGIRL,” and other New York and Queens premieres.
Audiences will recognize several stars from the big screen including Timothy Spall (2014 Cannes Film Festival best actor winner for “Mr. Turner”) in the East Coast premiere of “STANLEY A MAN OF VARIETY,” Dee Wallace (“E.T.,” “The Howling,” “Cujo”) in the New York Premiere of “RED CHRISTMAS” and Campbell Scott (“The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Singles”) in the World Premiere of David McElfresh’s “A LOTUS TIL RECKONING.”
The Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will play host to specially selected programming, free to the public (with RSVP), featuring selected films and discussions. On Sunday, Aug. 6 at 2:00 p.m., there will be a Special Presentation of James Solomon’s “THE WITNESS,” the acclaimed documentary that unravels a myth about the purported 38 witnesses who watched Kitty Genovese being murdered in Kew Gardens. The film will be followed by a discussion with Solomon and guests. On Thursday, Aug. 10 at 4:00 p.m. there will be a Special Presentation of Joe Minion’s “TRAFFICKING,” an indie film made in the 1990s, but never shown publicly till now. Perhaps best known for writing the Martin Scorsese film "After Hours,” Minion will be on hand after the screening for an in-depth discussion. Then at sundown that evening, there will be a Special Outdoor Screening on the lawn behind the Queens Museum and in front of the Unisphere, of Adam Irving’s “OFF THE RAILS,” the story of Queens’ own Darius McCollum, a man with Asperger’s syndrome imprisoned for his love of the New York City transit system.
Beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug.12 at Maple Grove Cemetery's The Center, the festival will present three one-hour Panel Discussions covering important and relevant topics in today’s independent film industry. These panels will be free and open to the public, and seating will be on a first come, first served basis. The panel topics are:
• Wonder Women - the challenges and importance of women in independent film.
• Film Distribution in this modern day and age featuring sponsor Synimatica, and other distribution professionals.
• Production Resources - making the best of your low budget.
Film screening and event tickets and festival passes are now available online at www.kewgardensfestivalofcinema.com/shop/. For the screenings at Kew Gardens Cinemas, tickets may also be purchased at the box office starting Aug. 4.
The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema is sponsored by: 5 Burro Cafe, Ateaz Organic Coffee & Tea, Austin’s Ale House, BlogTalkRadio, Bright Baum, Comfort Inn & Suites Kew Gardens, Fractured Atlas, Genera, IndiePix Films, InkTip, Maple Grove Cemetery, Marriott New York Laguardia Airport, Print House NYC, Queens Museum, Shake Shack, Simple DCP, Soundview Media Partners, Synimatica, Videomaker, The Village Voice, WriterDuet, Yelp.

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