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Queens World Film Festival Crowdfunding Young Filmmakers Project

Katha Cato and student

Katha Cato with student

Oct. 11, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

When it’s not screening diverse, independent movies at Queens venues, the Queens World Film Festival is working to build the next generation of filmmakers.

In late September, QWFF launched a crowdfunding campaign to help that process.

The QWFF’s Young Filmmakers Program pairs P.S. 69 fifth graders – specifically those who benefit from extra academic or social support – with filmmaker mentors, to work in small production groups and create their own films.

“It’s a huge confidence builder – if you’re the person that gets to yell ‘action,’ or ‘cut,’ and it’s the first time that your peers get to see you in that leadership roll – it’s quite important,” Katha Cato, QWFF director, said.

She added that the program supplements Department of Education resources, providing an outlet for students who “need to get their hands on a piece of equipment [or] need to be immersed in a process.”

Since launching an Indiegogo fundraiser about two weeks ago, QWFF has raised more than $1,000 towards its $6,500 goal.

The money will also go toward two other QWFF programs: Old Spice and Encore Screenings.

Old Spice offers free screenings for seniors at the Regal Heights Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. Cato said that currently, the program is only funded through mid-November, adding that it would be “heartbreaking” not to continue.

For Encore Screenings, QWFF re-screens its festival films in museums, public parks, schools and other community spaces, for free.

By re-screening, “we are immersing these filmmakers in our borough,” Cato said. “And we want this borough to claim us.”

The Indiegogo page can be found here. There are 32 days left on the campaign.

Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at

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