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Ten-day festival returns to Forest Hills next month featuring more than 100 films

(Photos: courtesy of  Festival of Cinema NYC,)

A popular 10-day film festival will return to Forest Hills next month with a lineup of more than 100 films (Photo courtesy of Festival of Cinema NYC)

July 18, 2023 By Michael Dorgan

A popular ten-day festival will return to Forest Hills next month with a lineup of more than 100 films.

The event, called Festival of Cinema NYC, kicks off on Aug. 4 at the Regal UA Midway and will feature independent movies from around the world at the theater through Aug. 13.

The festival will screen movies, documentaries, short films and animations. Several world premieres are among the dozens of independent films that will be shown at the decades-old movie theater, located at 108-22 Queens Blvd.

Cinema lovers can look forward to movies from Turkey, Spain, Denmark, The Philippines, Germany, and many other nations. Many of the filmmakers are expected to attend the festival, according to organizers.

Jayson Simba, the founder and executive director of Festival of Cinema NYC said that this year’s festival aims to enhance the connection between the filmmaker and the audience.

He said this will be achieved via the hosting of seminars, panels, special guest speakers, and Q&A sessions at the Queens Library at Forest Hills, located at 108-19 71st Ave. All of the events at the library will be free to attend.

“It always begins and ends with great films, but it becomes special by highlighting why we love to come to the movie theater and the artistic accomplishments of our filmmakers.”

The festival, now in its seventh year, will kick off with the screening of “Paris is in Harlem,” a drama directed by Christina Kallas that follows several characters through separate but intertwined storylines on the eve of New York City’s controversial “Cabaret Law” being repealed in 2017.

A shooting at a historic jazz bar in Harlem occurs, changing their lives forever. The Cabaret Law prohibited dancing in all spaces open to the public that sold food and/or drink with the exception of those who obtain a cabaret license.

Interviews taking place on the red carpet at a previous Festival of Cinema NYC (Photo provided by Festival of Cinema NYC)

World premieres to be screened at the festival include a drama called “Isaac Dell’s Boys at Twenty,” a drama about two young adults attempting to restore their childhood friendship, while North American premieres include “Tales of Babylon” an action/crime/thriller about four different hitmen whose lives intertwine on the streets of London.

Other highlights include “The Unseen Crisis: Vaccine Stories You Were Never Told,” a documentary by Cindy Drukier that tells the real-life stories of people who experienced debilitating side effects after receiving COVID-19 shots. The documentary features Dr. Robert Malone, a pioneer of mRNA vaccine technology, and Dr. Peter McCullough a world-renowned cardiologist.

The festival will also include a program of short film screenings.

A new initiative this year will be the introduction of subtitles to some movies in order to make the festival more accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The initiative is part of a program that was established by a Forest Hills-based non-profit group called the Theaters Unsilenced Initiative.

Actors on the red carpet at a previous Festival of Cinema NYC (Photo provided by Festival of Cinema NYC)

Also new this year will be a writing competition where 13 unproduced scripts will contend for honors.

The festival will close out screenings on Aug. 13 with “Disfluency,” a short directed by Anna Baumgarten which has won several awards on the film festival circuit. The film follows a promising young scholar with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) who fails her final college class. She returns home to her parent’s lake house where she comes to terms with the condition that derailed her senior year.

An award ceremony at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, located at 161-04 Jamaica Ave., will wrap up the festival on Aug. 13

Tickets to the Festival of Cinema cost $18 for a block of daily screenings. Opening and closing nights are $35 and include entry into the after-parties following those screenings. Tickets to the Closing Awards Dinner are $75.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking on this link.

For more information on the festival visit

Award recipients at a previous Festival of Cinema NYC (Photo provided by Festival of Cinema NYC)

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