Sept. 16, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The fourth annual Astoria Film Festival (AFF) is set to take place next month and will feature dozens of short films, web series and podcasts.
The festival, which will be a mix of in-person and online events, will run from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31.
There will be a number of screenings shown at the Kaufman Astoria Studios Zukor Theater, located at 34-12 36th St. The venue will also host keynote speakers, discussion panels, an awards ceremony and a master class on cinematic storytelling with Academy Award-nominated film producer Richard Gladstein.
Other screenings will be held at the Heart of Gold Bar, located at 37-14 31st Ave. A special Halloween event will bring the festival to an end at the bar on Oct. 31 featuring a number of horror flicks.
The festival will have more than 90 screenings produced by emerging filmmakers from Queens and around the world.
All movies and in-person events will be available to view online.
Organizers say the goal of the festival is to promote under-represented filmmakers and their work.
For example, there will be a number of movies screened that were made by people with disabilities including “Listen,” which was created by non-speaking autistics.
A comedy short titled “What If?” was produced by a deaf cast and crew while another comedy short called “Swimming Through Peanut Butter” features a young woman’s real-life experiences coming to terms with narcolepsy.
Other movies that will be screened have been made by indigenous people, women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, organizers said.
Nina Fiore, the founder and executive director of the festival, said there will be a wide variety of movie genres on offer and that the event comes after a challenging period for residents.
“It’s been a rough year, so we want to honor filmmaking, honor the local community and just give everyone a really fun time while also keeping them safe,” Fiore said.
Some of the screenings will include productions made by Queens residents who participated in the festival’s Film Fellow Program. The initiative teaches filmmaking to residents including school children and college students.
For instance, a short documentary focusing on local environmental justice called “In Your Hands” was produced by students at the William Cullen Bryant High School under the program.
The documentary features former City Council Member Costa Constantinides as well as former city council candidate Evie Hantzopoulos, both of whom are environmental advocates.
A web series about the state of local nonprofits during COVID-19 restrictions titled “Queens Non-Profits” will also be shown, along with a documentary called “Deployed” that was put together by nurses at Mount Sinai Queens. The film details staff experiences at the hospital during COVID-19.
Tickets range from $5 to $20 with an all-access pass priced at $125, which will provide ticket-holders with access to all in-person and online events. Most of the proceeds from ticket sales will go toward supporting filmmaking workshops in the borough, organizers said.
The festival’s main sponsors are the Kaufman Arts District and the Kaufman Astoria Studios.
Other sponsors include the Heart of Gold Bar, Hilton Garden Inn LIC, Century 21 Unique Realty and OPPRIME.tv/Film Festivals Live.
Tickets to the festival can be purchased by clicking here.