In its sophomore year, the 2018 Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema (KGFC) is coming out strong with a line-up of 110 films over 10-days, new lead sponsor in Regal Entertainment, and a new home at Regal’s UA Midway Stadium 9 in Forest Hills, Queens. As lead sponsor Regal Entertainment ensures the festival has state of the art sound and projection equipment and luxury comfort with recliner seats.
Opening night is August 3rd featuring the New York Premiere of Ari Gold’s award-winning and critically acclaimed The Song of Sway Lake starring Rory Culkin (read Film Threat’s 9/10 review). Anthony Ray Bench says “…it’s like watching art that has a uniqueness to it.”
KGFC also boasts a few special events including preview event, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S FEAST: A Celebration of Food, Art and Cinema, on July 31 and a bounty of after parties, drunken trivia nights, karaoke nights, and networking events.
Tickets to Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema are priced at $15 for regular daily screenings. Opening, Closing and Mid-week premieres are priced at $25 and include entry into the open bar after parties, following those screenings. For tickets and more information on the Festival, visit: http://www.kewgardensfestivalofcinema.com/
Fun aside, film festivals are about films. Already announced are 110 films (out of over 350 submissions) from 23 countries including the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Italy, South Africa, Turkey and more in its 2018 lineup in the categories of Narrative Features, Documentaries, Short Films, Animation, Experimental & Music Video and Web Series.
A VIOLENT MAN
Dir. Matthew Berkowitz, USA, 107 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
Ty is a little known MMA fighter until a viral video reveals him beating the undefeated world champion in a local gym. Ty is suddenly a murder suspect when the reporter covering his story is found dead, but why kill the journalist who would make him a legend?
ALL EYES ON YOU
Dir. Felix Maxim Eller, Germany, 88 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
The silent loner Marco is dreaming about a girl ever since they met, but she seems to have disappeared. In a cold Halloween night, he searches for her in the streets once again. Chased by a mysterious man, he soon discovers the darkest secrets of the city, initiating a nightmarish race against time.
BEHIND THE BLUE DOOR
Dir. Mariusz Palej, Poland , 93 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
For 11-year-old Lukas, an incredible adventure begins the moment he and his mom set off on a summer holiday trip and have a terrible car crash. His mom is in a coma, and the boy must visit his aunt Agatha. She brings him to her guesthouse by the seaside. Here, discovers a secret passage to a different dimension and soon learns what amazing and yet frightening mysteries this new world offers. The movie won Best Debut at Ale Kino!
Dir. Gabriela Ledesma, USA, 109 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
Based on true events, Blue is a light hearted drama that tells the story of Helen Daniels, a young woman struggling to piece her world together after a botched suicide attempt. This is the debut feature film for writer/director Gabriela Ledesma.
Dir. Eden Marryshow, USA, 104 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Let’s be real: Bruce is an a**hole. He’s sh*tty to his friends. He’s sh*tty to pretty much every woman in his life. He has no job. He has no career. And his parents are tired of lending him money. And you know what? Honestly, all of this was working out pretty well for him, until he meets Kiera, falls hopelessly in love and is finally forced to grow the f*ck up… in his thirties.
Dir. Darren Coyle, USA, 63 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
A buddy, odd couple comedy where we follow Darcy and Jack as they drive all over the San Fernando Valley following clues on a scavenger hunt.
Dir. Heidi Philipsen and Jon Russell Cring, USA, 96 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
It’s summer break, and fifteen-year-old Darcy is working in her family’s motel, a seedy operation on the edge of town. Sustaining the motel is the practice of taking in occupants who have until only recently been incarcerated—an arrangement that Darcy’s parents have arranged with the Department of Corrections for a price.
EDGE OF THE WORLD
Dir. Randy Redroad, USA, 85 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
Mitch Davis has a long winning history as the Boys Ranch cross country coach. Admired for his leadership with at-risk young men, he is well respected by his peers. But, since a devastating personal loss five years ago, Coach Davis has not been the same.
HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN
Dir. Milton Chassman, USA, 91 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
One part mockumentary, one part docu-drama, How to Grow Your Own could very well be cinema’s first ever mocku-drama! It tells the story of a weed-growing agoraphobic and the directionless stoner who comes to stay.
INTO THE VALLI
Dir. Nicholas Buscarino, USA, 77 min. WORLD PREMIERE
Into the Valli takes us on a dive into Chris Parrella’s warped mind; which houses a multi-layered obsession to do whatever it takes to emulate the life of a legendary singer. As his family distances themselves, his obsession grows deeper in hopes he can reach the same level of success.
Dir. Emilie Upczak, Trinidad and Tobago, 77 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
After the death of her father, Zhenzhen hires a smuggler to take her to the Caribbean island where her brother, Wei, works in construction. Wei gets her a job at a restaurant, but when the smuggler demands more cash, she is forced into a compromising position. Help comes unexpectedly from Evelyn, who runs an art gallery in the neighborhood—but the contrast between the dark rooms above the restaurant and the blindingly white gallery calls everyone’s innocence into question.
MURDER MADE EASY
Dir. Dave Palamaro, United States, 76 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
Best pals Joan and Michael host an elaborate dinner party for their dearest friends to remember the passing of Joan’s husband Neil. But as each guest arrives they find that their very lives are on the menu to protect a secret that links them all. Pop Horror.com calls Murder Made Easy: “A spectacular homage to the classic murder mysteries of Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock.”
MY NAME IS BATLIR, NOT BUTLER
Dir. Stare Yildirim, Turkey, 90 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
In My Name is Batlir, Not Butler, the film’s protagonist says, “I’m not actually overweight, I just have some excess in a certain area….It is told in Anatolia that, the baby looks like whatever the mother craves for while she is pregnant. My mother craved for watermelon. I mostly talk to 52 Hertz, she is the loneliest whale in the world, and she is my best friend.”
Dir. Quentin de Jubécourt, France, 55 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
A long time ago, in a medieval world, Aegeus, son of Lord Theron, is forced to hide in the forest after the murder of his parents for political reasons. He meets there a young woman, Asteria, who decides to follow him on his journey.
Dir. Darien Sills-Evans, USA, 83 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Breaking up is easy. Moving out is hard. After five years of ups and downs, an African American 30-something couple in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood spends their final afternoon together arguing and remember better days, as one of them moves out and hopefully on with her life.
Dir. Javier Reyna, USA, 99 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
Ray, a pothead underachieving teenager, feeling lonely after a self-imposed six months exile in Seattle, returns to his hometown and as he reconnects with friends, he is soon reminded why he left town in the first place. Based on the novel by Richard Laskowski.
Dir. Adolfo Kolmerer and William James, Germany, 121 min.
In an odd twist of fate, Tan and Javid find themselves living out a bizarre screenplay page by violent page. While hunting down the murderer of their families, their reality turns topsy turvy when they read of their own untimely deaths and realize this screenplay is coming true.
Dir. Stephen Portland, USA, 90 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
A man (Michael Gazin) and woman (Jane Rowen) are struggling to adjust to life with their new baby. But their situation begins to unravel further, when they start to suspect that a menacing stranger could be lurking, watching, even entering their home. This twisty and chilling single-location drama/horror/mystery will keep you guessing right up until the end, and even after that.
SUSHI TUSHI OR HOW ASIA BUTTED INTO AMERICAN PRO FOOTBALL
Dir. Ziad Hamzeh, USA, 90 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
The coach of a pro football team, The Portland Lobsters, that has lost 32 in a row, as a last resort, travels to Japan to buy a school of sumo wrestlers. He intends to bring the sumo wrestlers back to Maine to replace his inept offensive line. The team is eventually able to form a front line that allows their QB to throw a pass and not get sacked.
Dir. Amil Shivji, Tanzania, 105 min.
After the passing of her estranged father, Fatima makes an unlikely friend at a hospital, Maria. Bound by pain, Fatima keeps coming back to hear Maria’s tale of the T-junction where she found love and loss in a ragtag community.
THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS
Dir. Adrian Goiginger, Austria, 103 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
A kid’s true story of his life in the unusual world of his heroin addict mother and their love of each other.
THE DIRTY KIND
Dir. Vilan Trub, USA, 85 min. WORLD PREMIERE
Raymond, a young private investigator specializing in divorce, gets too ambitious and takes on a case that involves more than just snapping pictures of cheating couples. While searching for the estranged daughter of a client, Raymond discovers that she works as a stripper under the name Natalie Cottontail. Natalie’s exploits bring together a desperate collection of lost souls – sucking everyone down a drain of despair.
THE DOCTOR’S CASE
Dir. James Douglas, Canada, 66 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
The Master of Horror meets the Master Detective. When a diabolical English lord is murdered, Sherlock Holmes and Watson must unexpectedly exchange roles in order to solve ‘the perfect locked room mystery.’ Based on the short story by Stephen King.
Dir. Bizhan Tong, United Kingdom, 69 min. WORLD PREMIERE
When Eric pays an escort, Veronica, for 60 minutes of her time he intends to convince her to quit this line of work. But Veronica is no damsel in distress and what ensues is a verbal battle of wits which peel away the layers of who they really are. What they find out about themselves and the secret Eric holds will ensure nothing remains the same again.
THE MISSING SUN
Dir. Brennan Vance, USA, 78 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
After a solar flare powers down her remote community, Alma discovers her husband Terry comatose. Suspecting he is having an out-of-body affair with an ex-lover, Alma attempts to bring him back to reality with help from Terry’s estranged, drug-addled son and the leader of a new-age religion that specializes in astral travel.
THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE (Review)
Dir. Ari Gold, USA, 94 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
It’s summer on Sway Lake, the most glamorous lake in the Adirondacks – former playground of the jazz-age New York aristocracy. Music collector Ollie Sway recruits his only friend, a rowdy Russian drifter, to help him steal a 78 record from his own family’s estate.
Dir. Lucio A. Roja, Chile , 107 min.
A shocking, brutal tale that blends the dark history of Chile’s recent past (violent and repressive military dictatorship of Pinochet) with the seemingly modern and progressive Chile of today. The two worlds clash when a group of women venture to the idyllic countryside for a weekend of fun. However, their outing soon turns nightmarish when a man, a victim of torture in the hands of the government, unleashes his pent-up rage on them.
VIRGINIA MINNESOTA (Review)
Dir. Daniel Stine, USA, 97 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
Separated for fifteen years by a childhood tragedy that robbed them of their mysterious and inspirational little friend, Virginia, two young women—Lyle and Addison—are reunited at the place both vowed never to return. Together, they embark on an illuminating overnight journey where they revisit painful memories and discover long-forgotten gifts Virginia had bestowed on them so many years before.
Dir. Rene Eller, The Netherlands, 100 min.
Sex, nihilism and aimless youth…During one hot summer in a Belgian-Dutch border village, eight teenagers play games of discovery to break the listless monotony. They challenge each other and themselves and soon, their sexual curiosity starts to blur the lines between right and wrong.
BENEATH THE INK
Dir. Cy Dodson, USA, 13 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
A timely look at hate and racism in one Southeastern Ohio community that reveals heartfelt moments of change and redemption.
Dir. Seth Fein, USA, 82 min.
Have you seen the Unisphere? What do you see? Between Neighborhoods sees the interborough and international histories of imperialism and immigration that orbit the world, in Queens, across the last fifty years.
HORROR MOVIE: A LOW BUDGET NIGHTMARE
Dir. Gary Doust, Australia, 100 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
A filmmaker’s life-long dream turns into a nightmare when he sets out to make a super-low-budget horror film about an aborted fetus that seeks revenge on its family. With Hollywood ‘scream queen’ Dee Wallace (E.T., Cujo, The Howling) onboard, union issues and the budget spiralling out of control, it’s not long before things wildly go off the rails.
KEW GARDENS: SAVE THE BRIDGE
Dir. Jonathan Oliveira, USA, 19 min. WORLD PREMIERE
A series of mom and pop shops reside on the Kew Gardens bridge which bring a variety of uniqueness to the community; but after the MTA pleas for the bridge to be brought down, three teens take it upon themselves to give the people of Kew Gardens a voice to speak out against the corporate giant.
Dir. Aube Giroux, Canada, 87 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
Modified is a feature-length documentary-memoir that questions why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labeled on food products in the United States and Canada, despite being labeled in 64 countries around the world.
NOTHING CHANGES: ART FOR HANK’S SAKE
Dir. Matthew Kaplowitz, USA, 80 min.
How far would you go to pursue your passion? At 87 years old, Hank Virgona commutes to his Union Square studio six days a week and makes art. Despite poor health, cancer, lack of revenue and obscurity as an artist, Hank is unrelenting in his quest to understand how life and art are the same.
Dir. Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, Israel and Latvia, 63 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Leningrad, 1970. A group of young Soviet Jews who were denied exit visas, plots to “hijack” an empty plane and escape the USSR.
Dir. Michael Fishman, USA, 14 min. WORLD PREMIERE
In 2016 the world’s largest stamp show, which takes place once every ten years, was held in NYC at the Javits Convention Center. The subject was intriguing though I knew it would be crowded and challenging (the official count for attendees was 23,017). With a small camera in hand, I set out to capture the experience of attending the sprawling show.
THE COMMODORE STORY
Dir. Steven Fletcher, United Kingdom, 120 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
A cram-packed 2-hour documentary that take us through Commodore’s world changing evolution from the 70’s to the 90’s from the PET, Vic20, C64 to the Amiga and beyond including the very rare C65 and the wave of new Commodore related products that are hitting the market today. Commodore was started by Jack Tramiel who was a survivor of the Holocaust.
Dir. Alan Thompson, USA, 58 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
This land is our only home, yet due to our addiction to fossil fuels, a finite, non-renewable source of energy to sustain our lifestyles, we are putting our future at risk. This Land takes us from the Texas and Mexico border to the Dakotas, and then Northern Canada. We’ll meet native and local communities fighting against gas and oil pipelines and see what is at stake for our land, this land.
Dir. Tyler Pina, USA, 37 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
A TAXI OF COLDNESS
Dir. Joonha Kim, South Korea, 20 min.
Dir. Jordan Gear, USA, 19 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
AN AMERICAN ATTORNEY IN LONDON
Dir. Darrell Alden, United Kingdom, 15 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
ANGEL OF ANYWHERE (Review)
Dir. James Kicklighter, USA, 22 min.
Dir. Austin Kase, USA, 22 min.
Dir. Jared Beekhuyzen, Australia, 13 min. WORLD PREMIERE
BLESS ME FATHER
Dir. Paul Horan, USA, 16 min.
Dir. Cady McClain, USA, 13 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
CAST IRON CAN’T BE WELDED
Dir. Buks Rossouw, South Africa, 19 min.
Dir. Nicola Rose, USA, 16 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
DAMES IN CARS
Dir. Jason Spagnuoli, USA, 6 min.
DOOR TO DOOR
Dir. Kevin Etherson, USA, 9 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Dir. Catriona Rubenis-Stevens, USA, 14 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Dir. Tristan Seniuk and Voleak Sip, USA 24 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Dir. Jessica Kingdon, USA, 11 min.
Dir. Kaye Tuckerman, USA, 20 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
Dir. Jayne Nicoletti, USA, 3 min.
Dir. Ciara Cordasco, USA, 3 min.
MY NAME IS SOMEBODY
Dir. Orges Bakalli, USA, 14 min.
ONCE UPON A DREAM
Dir. Anthony Nion, Belgium, 13 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
PATH OF DREAMS
Dir. Tamara Ruppart, Japan, 25 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Dir. Lance J. Reha, USA, 19 min.
Dir. Lance J. Reha, USA, 4 min.
Dir. Will Hawkes and Melissa Center, USA, 10 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
ROOSTER AND THE QUEEN
Dir. Aaron Weisblatt , USA , 18 min.
ROSE AND PEONY
Dir. Sébastien Azzopardi , France, 11 min.
Dir. Charles Ancelle, USA, 21 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
Dir. Kathrina Miccio, USA, 24 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
Dir. Marco Spagnoli, Italy, 8 min. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
TABIIB (THE DOCTOR)
Dir. Jim Savio, USA, 30 min.
Dir. Xavier Guignard, United Kingdom, 22 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
THE GIRLS WERE DOING NOTHING
Dir. Dekel Berenson, United Kingdom, 17 min.
Dir. Mateo Márquez, USA, 7 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
THE LONG WET GRASS
Dir. Justin Davey, Ireland, 14 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
THE NOISE OF THE LIGHT
Dir. Valentin Petit, France, 23 min.
THE ROOT OF HAPPINESS
Dir. Andy Truschinski, USA, 30 min.
THE SOOTHING SYSTEM
Dir. Erik Spink, USA, 12 min. WORLD PREMIERE
Dir. Filippos Vokotopoulos, United Kingdom,, 13 min.
WAITING FOR NANA
Dir. Melissa Pino, USA, 24 min. U.S. PREMIERE
Dir. Nora Jaenicke, Italy, 29 min.
ANIMATION, EXPERIMENTAL & MUSIC VIDEO:
01 Gravity (EXP)
Dir. Julian Silverscreen & Katharina Potratz , Germany, 7 min.
Dir. Josephine Massarella, Canada, 7 min.
BABY YOU’RE LIKE A DRUG (MV)
Dir. Joshua Butler, USA, 5 min.
Dir. Barzan Rostami, Iran, 3 min.
Dir. Britt Raes, Belgium, 12 min.
Dir. Julie Caty, France, 5 min. NEW YORK PREMIERE
Dir. Joe Sulsenti, USA, 7 min.
Dir. Heidi Kikel, USA, 4 min.
LAIKA (feature ANI)
Dir. Aurel Klimt, Czech Republic, 87 min.
MIDNIGHT’S GARDEN (ANI)
Dir. Benoit Chieux, France, 10 min. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Dir. Luis Grane, USA, 4 min.
SHENIDOM BAHMENI (MV)
Dir. Ali Nikfar, Iran, 4 min.
SPANISH ONION (ANI)
Dir. Brian Neong San, Australia, 4 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
TAMARA QADDOUMI – FLOWERS WILL ROT (ANI MV)
Dir. Pablo Lozano, Lebanon, 4 min. EAST COAST PREMIERE
THE EMOJI SONG (MV)
Dir. Adam Volerich, USA, 3 min.
US, FOREVER AGO (Feature EXP)
Dir. Irina Varina, USA, 70 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Dir. Mark Pedelty, USA, 4 min.
Dir. Fausto Montanari, Italy, 2 min.
WHERE AM I – COLACOASTER (MV)
Dir. Michael Dürr, Mathias Fellner, Austria, 3 min.
Dir. Jessica Naftaly and Shailyn Cotten, USA, 24 min.
BROKERS EPISODES 1, 3 & 5
Dir. Talya Klein, USA, 25 min.
Dir. Rolf Lindblom, Finland, 9 min.
Dir. Sarah Wharton, USA, 18 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Dir. Philip Saul Galinsky, USA, 16 min.
ROOT FOR THE VILLAIN
Dir. Max Rissman, USA, 39 min.
Dir. Molly McGaughey, USA, 10 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF HUNTER WOOD
Dir. Stephen Kurowski, USA, 8 min.
THREE TREMBLING CITIES (EPISODE 6)
Dir. Arthur Vincie, USA, 12 min. QUEENS PREMIERE
Dir. Zack Abramowitz, USA, 21 min.
YOUR MOM SAYS HI! PILOT
Dir. Carlie Mantilla, Doni Carley and Rocco Urbisci, USA, 22 min.