No is more excited than Nina Fiore, executive director of Astoria Film Festival, that the event will return next month with in-person screenings.
There will be events at Kaufman Astoria Studios and Heart of Gold Bar, including screenings and panels with local and international filmmakers and film students, workshops for children and adults, a special film created with AFF Film Fellows and Mt. Sinai Queens Nurses, and prizes for winning filmmakers.
The festival will feature many films by women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and indigenous people.
“We also have a number of films by disabled filmmakers, including the documentary short Listen, which was created by non-speaking autistics, a comedy short What If? created by a deaf cast and crew, and a comedy short Swimming Through Peanut Butter’ featuring the filmmaker’s real-life experiences in coming to terms with narcolepsy,” said Fiore.
For the rest of the year, the Astoria Film Festival serves as a nonprofit organization that provides filmmaking workshops for youth and adults from ages eight to 80. Through the Film Fellows program, young people between the ages of 15 and 25 are provided with work, mentors and guidance to develop careers in media.
“As a kid born and raised in Astoria to immigrant parents who then went into the TV/film business, I know how hard it was to get a foot in the door without training or connections,” said Fiore. “So a big part of why I began this was to help local youth get training, experience, and connections in the film, television and media industry.”
The festival not only highlights the work of many filmmakers but also connects them to each other and to local youth to encourage their development in the industry.
“We are excited to share all the wonderful films in the festival and introduce people to their filmmakers,” said Fiore. “I love independent film, because you get to hear under-represented filmmakers telling their own stories, which is so important for purposes of representation and inclusion.”