BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
In an effort to ensure that Queens youths continue to receive free and low-cost film programs, Don and Katha Cato, stewards of the Queens World Film Festival, have launched a fundraiser.
Following the annual Queens World Film Festival in March, the Catos provide a variety of free and low-cost media experiences—such as encore screenings in Queens parks, schoolyards, community-based organizations and youth and senior centers—throughout the year. In addition, they provide a Young Filmmakers Program, which is free to some schools with sponsorship and fundraising, and Animation Stations, which helps students and families learn to make animated short films with their smart phones.
Now, the duo wants to expand its program to the rest of the city and they are hoping to draw small donations via a fundraiser as a method of maintaining their enrichment programs.
“These programs do more than just teach children about film, they help with problem solving skills, critical thinking, leadership skills and developing the youth voice,” Katha Cato said. “It’s a way of bringing the community back together. To see children and people of all backgrounds gathering at the park or at our events to watch these films, it’s what we need. Getting together and feeling people move beyond the things that separate us, it’s amazing.”
The eighth annual Queens World Film Festival is expected to take place from March 15 to March 25 at the Museum of Moving Image and Kaufman Astoria Studios. It will kick off with an evening of films created by children from the Young Filmmakers Program.
Cato encourages those interested in making a donation to visit Don and Katha Cato’s Flip Cause page or click the red “donate” button at the top of the Queens World Film Festival’s homepage. She noted that donations would ensure that more of the borough’s youths are able to learn filmmaking skills and express themselves.