Ever since I returned to New York, the way I view this city has changed in many ways. Recently, I've found myself preferring the atmosphere of Queens (and Brooklyn) to that of Manhattan. In fact, you could say I've re-discovered my home borough over the past months, taking in sights and places I either hadn't been to in years or are learning about for the first time, and it was this re-exploration that led to me finding out about QWFF and wanting to be a part of it.
The reason why I've been writing about the old neighborhood in addition to writing about the fest is because, in my mind, the two are one - a perfect blend of the old with the new. Attending QWFF has not only allowed me to see a bunch of great movies, but it's also reminded me of the things I used to love about where I grew up - and even if many of those things are gone or changed, they've been replaced with newer ones. (For example, I discovered a great new coffee shop in Jackson Heights this past weekend that I might not have known about otherwise.)
When I covered Urbanworld last fall, it was my first film fest and seeing so many celebrities, taking pictures from the red carpet, all of that stuff kind of confirmed my expectations about what going to a film fest was like. QWFF changed that. It wasn't glamorous in the traditional sense. You could count the number of "celebrities" in attendance on one hand. And I've written about certain minor annoyances in watching a few of these movies.
Still, I would go through all of it again because when you add it all up, I got to see some awesome movies I never would've even heard about - and now you know about them too. See, what I forgot, and what I was reminded of this weekend, is that you don't need a big production and a bunch of stars to enjoy a fest as long as you've got good movies and a good crowd to see them with, and good people putting the whole thing together. I salute Don & Katha Cato for making QWFF what it is, and especially for bringing it to the old neighborhood.
I even made a few friends. Remember the projectionist at P.S. 69 I mentioned the other day? We got to talking because I arrived so early. Turns out she's an animator. Her name's Elizabeth. Here's her YouTube page. There were these two French-Canadian dudes who gave me a DVD of their film, which I hope to write about within the coming weeks. There was the volunteer at the Jackson whose name I've forgotten, regrettably. There was the couple I met at P.S. 69 whom I talked about the show with and the dude at the Renaissance School I chatted with briefly. It was all good.
QWFF made me proud to be from Queens.
QWFF Day 1: Things to come
QWFF Day 2: What's up, doc?
QWFF Day 3: A gay-all time
QWFF Day 4: The next generation