Thank you for making our inaugural year such a success!

What is Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema?

On August 4th 2017 The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema, a festival designed to support independent Filmmakers, will be launching its inaugural film festival at the historic Kew Gardens Cinemas in Queens NYC.

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What is Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema?

The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema is a non-profit organization established to support the development, and help expand the audiences, of independent cinema from around the globe. The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema was founded by three local independent filmmakers with a passion to get movies made, and to have those artistic voices heard. Understanding the struggle in today’s film environment in showcasing independent cinema, their aim is to establish a presence and awareness of cinematic creativity throughout Kew Gardens Queens and the neighboring communities.
For its inaugural year The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema aims to become influential in bringing the community together over a 10 day period consisting of film screenings and other activities related to the movie business. With encouraging Q&A's and industry panels we expect to broaden the appeal of Independent film and promote audience participation.
As a competitive festival, our program will consist of over 100 remarkable short and feature length films from all genres including often overlooked categories such as Documentary, Horror, Comedy, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Animation and Experimental. Each film will then be judged, in their respected categories, by our specially selected panel of industry professionals. Winners in each category will receive a statuette at our Grand Awards Gala on the final night of the festival.
Our Festival will be taking place exclusively in Kew Gardens Queens in NYC, USA. Our venue, THE KEW GARDENS CINEMAS is Queens' only art house theater dedicated solely to playing independent and foreign films. Named one of the top 7 theaters in Queens, the theater was built in the 1930's and it is one of the oldest movie theaters still operating in NYC.
A little known area of NYC, Kew Gardens and its surrounding neighborhoods - Forest Hills, Rego Park, Woodhaven and Glendale - are a major stomping ground for most television shows being shot today in New York. Not only is Kew Gardens known as the neighborhood that raised comedians Rodney Dangerfield and Ray Romano, but just a few minutes away is the recently built Broadway Stages. This area of Queens has now been featured in several blockbuster Hollywood films like The Babysitter, Goodfellas and Spiderman as well as major Network TV shows including- Daredevil, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, The Get Down, Luke Cage and SNL.
We expect to draw not only artists and filmmakers from around NYC but from all over the world. We are giving the residents of Kew Gardens and its neighboring communities Forest Hills, Rego Park and Woodhaven the opportunity to experience Hollywood in their own backyard.

Why should I participate in the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema?

As a festival created by filmmakers, we are doing everything to make sure that Independent Filmmakers get what they deserve out of a film festival

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Why should I participate in the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema?

Already being hailed by The Wall Street Journal as New York City's next major film event, and as mentioned on The Huffington Post, Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema is a non-profit organization established to support the development of and help expand the audiences for independent cinema from around the globe. The inaugural festival will take place Aug. 4-13, 2017.
The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema was founded by four local independent filmmakers with a passion to get movies made and to have those artistic voices heard. Understanding the struggle in todays film environment in showcasing independent cinema, their goal is to establish a presence and awareness of cinematic creativity throughout Kew Gardens Queens and the neighboring communities.
As a festival created by filmmakers, we are doing everything to make sure that Independent Filmmakers get what they deserve out of a film festival. Our mission is to expand audience reach and bring awareness to films that might otherwise never have the opportunity to be showcased.
Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema accepts all lengths and genres, so we encourage filmmakers from around the globe to submit their work for a chance to have it screened in an actual movie theater, The Kew Gardens Cinemas. Built in the 1930's, it is Queens, New Yorks oldest and only operating Art House Movie Theater.
Because our festival takes place in a small town, we offer filmmakers a more intimate experience, allowing them to network with their audience and their peers. We want our filmmakers to succeed, so every filmmaker that submits their film(s) will automatically be receiving a 1 year subscription to Videomaker.com, a leading subscription service that focuses on guiding independent filmmakers with their online tutorials and publications (a $20 value). In addition all films selected will have the opportunity to transfer their film onto DCP at a remarkable discount being provided by Simple DCP, leader in DCP conversion for other major festivals, including SXSW and NewPort Beach film festival and HollyShorts.
Filmmaker recipients of the “IndiePix Vision Award” will be given an international distribution platform, potentially including release on DVD and VOD, as well as other digital opportunities. Aside from assisting with the implementation of a cohesive distribution plan, IndiePix will also support the awarded film with marketing and promotion, valuable exposure across IndiePix’s branded sites, newsletters and social media.
You can rest assured that all submitted films are watched in their entirety by our programmers, which we know is a major concern when it comes to choosing which festival to submit to. Along with our daily screenings, we plan on hosting intimate panel conversations with independent filmmakers, producers, distributors and sales agents. Something many festivals often overlook. You can expect red carpet premieres and familiar faces. The Festival staff will be hard at work promoting every film that gets accepted, to ensure that audiences attend your screening.
As a competitive festival, winners of our top categories will be receiving a unique statuette, along with additional prizes including opt in distribution opportunities, at our closing night gala.
Finally, we want this to be an amazing experience for everyone that attends - so expect to have activities such as Karaoke, Movie Trivia night, Happy Hours, Outdoor Screenings and After Parties hosted by our wonderful sponsors!

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The first and only film festival of its kind held in Kew Gardens, NYC, The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema was founded by three local independent filmmakers with a passion to get movies made. Wanting to expand the reach of artists’ work and recognizing the challenge of the visibility of independent film, their aim is to establish a presence in and spread awareness of cinematic creativity throughout Kew Gardens, Queens and the neighboring communities.

The Directors

Learn more about the people who shaped this festival

Jayson Simba

Executive Director

As the founder of the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema and a native of Glendale Queens, Jayson studied acting at The Acting Studio NYC and began making his own movies in 2000. With over 40 credits on IMDB.com and having written, directed and produced 11 films, his passion makes him the perfect candidate to launch a major film festival.

John Fallon

Technical Director

After over seventeen years of editing films, commercials and television shows, John founded the Indie Film NYC Podcast to help other filmmakers navigate a career as artists in an increasingly digital world. John sees the Kew Garden Festival of Cinema as a logical extension of the work he’s doing with IFNYC because this festival will give filmmakers a place to showcase their films, network with their peers, and learn from other filmmakers.

Caroline Lim

Operations Manager

Another Queens native, Caroline Lim was raised in Oakland Gardens, NY and studied biochemistry and mathematics at Binghamton University. Caroline is no stranger to number-crunching, having spent 13 years as an actuary, where she analyzed risk for financial investments and insurance policies. Besides running a baking company that serves Queens locals, she is an event organizer who promotes positive community and economic growth throughout New York City neighborhoods.

Bob Giovanelli

Program Director

First working at the Hamptons International Film Festival as a volunteers coordinator, he later became a venues manager, a Q&A coordinator, and film screener for the programming team. (where he was the first to champion an unknown film entitled “OPEN WATER”,  ahead of its purchase by Lions Gate at Sundance). Bob became a volunteer worker at Sundance in 1998, holding numerous positions including crowd liaison, assistant manager, and finally a Theater Manager at the world-famous Egyptian Theater in Park City, for a consecutive 20 years. In 2015 he helped screen narrative features.

Other festivals Bob has worked include the  Gen Art Film Festival , Telluride, Sarasota, Provincetown, Nantucket, Shorts Int’l (NYC), NYC’s first Drone Film Festival, the New Yorker Festival, and the New York Film Festival, holding positions such as film screener, print traffic manager and venue manager.

Submissions for 2018 opening November 1st!

Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema would like to thank everyone who submitted their film. In the end we received almost 400 submissions, and unfortunately we were only able to select 150. Your hard work and diligence is what allowed us to have such a successful inaugural year and we hope you consider submitting to us again next year!

THE 2017 JURY

Rodney Ferrer

Rodney is the Director, Writer and Creator of CITY OF MERCY.  He was raised in Brooklyn, NY the son of a Puerto-Rican blue collar family from Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Influenced by John Cassavetes, Stanley Kubrick, Werner Herzog, John Sales and Martin Scorsese, Rodney began working as a filmmaker leading to the creation of Sidewalk Prophecy Films in New York. As a Director and Writer, Rodney’s vision of the world around him led to the creation of many socially conscious projects he is credited for, such as: “NATION” “Dance On Gravesend”  “CITY OF MERCY” and the feature film “FUGAZI”, now in pre-production. To mention a few.

In addition, Rodney has also worked as a Photojournalist for SHOOT 4 CHANGE, a non-profit social photography organization that sent him on assignment to Costa Rica, covering stories about remote communities and villages coping with gentrification and westernization. He is currently in production directing his first Sci-Fi film, “Flight Of Columbus”, due for a fall release

Marlene Forte

Marlene Forte was born in Havana, Cuba as Ana Marlene Forte Machado. She is an actress and producer, known for A Haunted House (2013), Star Trek (2009) and Real Women Have Curves (2002). Most recently Marlene was on television playing pivotal roles on AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead and NBC’s Superstore.

Sam Adelman

Sam Adelman, Forest Hills resident, has worked in the editing room for over 50 feature films, including Donnie Brasco, Easy Money, Desperately Seeking Susan, Changing Lanes, The Juror, and The Legend of Bagger Vance, and for such directors as Sidney Lumet, Bob Fosse, Nora Ephron, Robert Redford, and Susan Seidelman. He was also the Producer of the award winning independent films Screen Door Jesus, Beautiful People, and That Daughters Crazy, which starred Richard Pryor’s daughter Rain. He is currently writing an autobiography entitled Getting Out of Show Business.

Nicole Tsien

Nicole is the Associate Producer at POV and assists in managing film submissions, maintaining relations with PBS station contacts, collecting deliverables, and contributing to the curation of the series. She started in 2012 as an intern at POV’s Community Engagement and Education Department, and afterwards worked as an administrative assistant, organizing special events, including the MoMA Selects: POV retrospective as part of Documentary Fortnight 2013. She has experience assisting New York-based documentary filmmakers in various stages of production and has participated on panels and juries worldwide, including Austin Film Festival, DocBarcelona, IDFA, and RiverRun International Film Festival.

Tassos Rigopoulos

Tassos Rigopoulos is a Forest Hills-based filmmaker and teacher who was born in Geneva, Switzerland and raised in Patras, Greece. He studied law at the University of Athens and filmmaking at the Lycurgus Stavrakos Film and Television School. While in Greece, he also worked on several productions, including feature films by Stavros Tornes and Dimos Avdeliodis. With the financial support of the Hellenic State Scholarship Foundation, he joined the Master of Fine Arts program in film and video production at the University of Texas at Austin. His student fiction short The Significant Other was a national finalist at the 1995 Student Academy Awards. His thesis film Texas and the Death Penalty won Best Documentary at the 1997 Student Television Academy Awards; the Dory Schary Award for Best Documentary, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League; the Eastman Kodak Production Grant; and a Certificate of Merit from the American Bar Association’s Gavel Awards Program, among others.

Tassos is currently an Assistant Professor in the Media Arts and Technology Department at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, teaching courses in video production, editing, screenwriting and media studies. He also taught documentary and fiction filmmaking at the New York Film Academy for over 10 years.

KGFC Film Fest Blog

Stay up to date on What's Happening with the Latest Developments and Announcements!

  • Official Poster and Merchandise Logo winners unveiled!

    Official Poster and Merchandise Logo winners unveiled!

    Forest Hills Festival of the Arts Street Fair on June 11th was a hit! On June 11th, the KGFC Film Fest team had a booth at the annual Forest Hills Festival of the Arts Street Fair – an annual event – where they unveiled the winning designs for their Poster and Logo designs, a contest...

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  • Yelp!

    Yelp!

    Welp! We got Yelp! It’s official – the fine folks at Yelp have come on as a sponsor for the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema and we couldn’t be more excited! Together with Yelp we are sure to fill our seats and give all participating filmmakers a full house!

  • Ateaz Organic Coffee & Tea Cafe will be the Official Filmmakers Lounge!

    Ateaz Organic Coffee & Tea Cafe will be the Official Filmmakers Lounge!

    This summer, Ateaz Organic Coffee and Tea Cafe located at 116-29 Metropolitan Ave. in Kew Gardens, will act as the official Filmmaker Lounge, providing discounts and a VIP area to filmmakers, ticket and badge holders. Ateaz will also be providing their couches, serving as the home base to Kew Gardens Festival of Cinemas  live podcast, where...

    latest news/press releases

    Get the latest information on our festival, our sponsors and our press.

    • Announcing the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Nominations!

      Announcing the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Nominations!

      Here they are! The Complete List of all nominations in the 15 categories for the Inaugural Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema!  Each award winner will be taking home a beautiful statuette along with some prize packages being offered by our sponsors – including the opportunity to an OPT-IN distribution offer, A Film Sales Agent Consultation...

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    • Latest Press Release Includes news on Jurors, Sponsors and an Outdoor Screening!

      Latest Press Release Includes news on Jurors, Sponsors and an Outdoor Screening!

      Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Announces Exciting New Developments Including Jurors, Queens Museum Screenings, Free Subscriptions to Videomaker.com, Distribution from IndiePix Films and More! Final Extended Deadline for All Entries April 23 Festival Takes Place August 4-13, 2017 at Kew Gardens Cinemas Kew Gardens, Queens, New York – The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema announces...

    • Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Official Press Release

      Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Official Press Release

        Press Contact: Brian Geldin Public Relations Brian Geldin, brian@briangeldin.com, 917-549-2953   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Announces Inaugural Festival Aug. 4-13, 2017, at Historic Kew Gardens Cinema in Queens, New York   Terrace on the Park, Built for New York World’s Fair in 1964, to Host Awards Gala   Submissions...

    • Press Accreditation

      Press Accreditation

      Press registration is reserved for working media and journalists only, and is on condition of the following: * Online Pre-Registration is required and is admissible up to one week prior the start of the festival. * Accreditation is by no means immediate and is subject to the approval of the festival. * If a Press...

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      Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema proudly supports our 2017 Sponsors

      For Sponsorship opportunities email or call us today! 929.287.KGFC

      Get the full details of the Sponsorship package here

      KGFC offers varying levels of corporate sponsorship opportunities relating to each of these sections and tailored to individual corporate imperatives. For each sponsor, KGFC will develop a unique package to ensure maximum, cost-effective exposure. This is achieved through brand awareness and visibility, cross-promotional marketing, merchandising, and access to high profile events, thus creating a memorable event and lasting impression for the audience and sponsors alike.

      Get the full details of the Advertising & Pricing Guide

      The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema expects to attract over 3500 visitors over its 10 day run. Audience members will consists of a unique and diverse group of filmmakers from around the world, with visitors including media representatives, film distributors and other major industry professionals. This presents a terrific opportunity to advertise to this targeted audience.

      Donate to Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema




      The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and we rely on your generous support to make both the Festival and our programs possible. Your donation is tax-deductible, and 100% of contributions received support the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema. If you’d like to support and help us continue to bring a world-class festival to Kew Gardens, benefitting our community’s economic, educational and cultural growth, click on the link above or call us at 929.278.KGFC

      Your contribution to the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema, large or small, makes a big difference in the Festival’s ability to champion talented independent filmmakers into the next 50 years. Please consider making a fully tax deductible contribution today.

      When you contribute you will receive:

      $60 – Name Recognition on Website
      $100 – (Plus) 2 Tickets to any general screening
      $180 – (Plus) Name on printed program, 2 additional tickets to any general screenings, official t-shirt
      $350 – (Plus) 2 tickets to choice of Opening or Closing night film. Official festival Tumbler
      $600 – (Plus) 6 additional general screening tkts, 2 add’l tkts choice opening or closing film (VIP seating for all 4)
      $1000 – (Plus) 1 Gala Ticket, special swag bag filled with memorabilia and surprise gifts
      $3000 – VIP All Access Festival Badge, Name recognition on website, program guide and on stage acknowledgement
      $5000 – (Plus) Two All Access Festival Badges, Name recognition on website, program guide and on stage acknolwedgement, Sponsorship of one NON-SPOTLIGHT festival program of your choice.

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