Rather than cancel the festival due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, QWFF made the decision to offer screenings online through a collaboration with DISCOVERED.TV, a digital platform built to house “creative and creator” content.
This will be the first international film festival to stream on their site.
“From the beginning of time we have gathered together around the flickering lights in our darkened caves to share our stories,” said QWFF executive director Katha Cato. “In these times of crisis, it is even more important that we gather around the humanity provided in film.”
The festival opened virtually on March 19, and is slated to show 220 indie films from 32 nations over the course of 11 days. Of those, 50 are directed by local filmmakers in Queens and Brooklyn, and 10 are from children who participate in the festival’s education program.
Categorized into thematic blocks, the QWFF schedule groups complimentary films together for an intentional cinematic experience.
Block titles include “Women’s Voices,” “Twisted Love Stories,” “Kid’s Corner,” and “Connecting the Dots.” Three sections of festival programming are dedicated to films giving a platform to LGBTQA voices around the world.
Many of this year’s films portray a concern for the most vulnerable communities and for the future of our planet, a theme with emphasized relevance in light of current events.
“This is a tough time on and for our planet,” said Cato. “Now is the time to hold up a mirror to show us who we are, what we have done, and who we could be.”
Festival sponsors include Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Queens Council on the Arts, the Queens Economic Development Corporation, Investors Bank, I Love NY, and Resorts World.
Funding also comes in part from a grant program at the state Council on the Arts, as well as the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council.
The official QWFF app, Event Meow, is available to encourage audiences to interact with filmmakers, festival personnel and sponsors in real time.
QWFF passes, packages and single-program tickets are being refunded via MoMI or Brown Paper Tickets. To virtually attend, visit discovered.tv and search “QueensWorldFilmFestival.”