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Kew Gardens film festival takes place next month, 150-plus films to be screened

July 17, 2017 By Jason Cohen

Independent filmmakers will be flocking to Queens next month for the first-ever Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema.

Local filmmaker and organizer Jayson Simba will be screening more than 150 films from 24 countries during 10 days in August, offering a chance for unknown filmmakers to show their work on the big screen and bring a slice of Hollywood to Queens.

The festival, which runs from August 4-13,  will take place at three venues: Kew Gardens Cinemas, located at 81-05 Lefferts Blvd., Maple Grove Cemetery, at 127-15 Kew Gardens Road, and the Queens Museum, at Flushing Meadow Corona Park.

The event opens with a kickoff party at 8 pm Friday, August 4 at the Austin Ale House’s Trackside Cafe, 8270 Austin St, with a plaque dedication ceremony in honor of the late Hollywood star and Kew Gardens native Rodney Dangerfield.

The opening feature film is being screened at the Kew Gardens Cinemas at 8:30pm on Saturday, August 5, with the world premier of the film “Accidents,’ a comedy by Zachary Raines. For a full list of films being shown over the 10 days, click here. 

The festival will be punctuated by some special events.

On Aug. 6, the Queens Museum will screen the documentary “The Witness,” which takes a close look at what happened when Kitty Genovese was murdered outside her Kew Gardens apartment in 1964. At the time, the New York Times reported that 38 Kew Gardens residents witnessed her murder and failed to help her.  That account has since been debunked.

On Aug. 12, at Maple Grove Cemetery’s The Center, the festival will present three one-hour panel discussions on topics relevant to today’s independent film industry. The discussions are open to the public, and there will be Q & A sessions.

The festival will be attended by independent filmmaker Rodney Ferrer, best known for his web series “City of Mercy”; Marlene Forte, film and TV actress who recently appeared on “Fear the Walking Dead”; and Sam Adelman, known for his editing work on “Donnie Brasco.”

The festival will also feature six “spotlight” films, each of which will premiere at the festival with a red carpet and an after party.

The final night of the festival will have a special gala on the rooftop penthouse of the Terrace on the Park, located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. There will also be an award ceremony.

To learn more about the festival, visit

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