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Queens Film Festival Gives Credit To Local Talent

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Queens is a magnet for people from all across the world, and it's expected to be an even bigger draw this week with the opening of the Queens World Film Festival. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Jackson Heights resident Richard Uhlig, who wrote and directed the film "Can't Dance" is ready to show it off.

"'Can't Dance' is about a lonely widower who plays with his toy trains all day and his dead wife's ghost comes back, and she coaches him on how to talk to the neighbor lady, so he can get a life again," said Uhlig.

Uhlig's film is one of more than 125 in the Queens World Film Festival, which opens Thursday night and runs through Sunday. He says having his film in the festival is a great opportunity and that he shot it in his apartment in just two and a half days.

"What independent film makers are looking for is a platform to be seen because it's so competitive, and we don't have studio backing for publicity, so we really depend on film festivals to be seen," said Uhlig.

The festival was founded last year by Don and Katha Cato, who also live in Jackson Heights. It was a response to the collapse of another Queens film festival in 2009.

"We felt that it was important that a film festival be situated in Queens, and Queens deserved a world-class film festival, so we made it our best shot to hopefully attract films from around the world," said Don Cato.

The Catos say there is a little something for everyone this year.

"We have programmed the festival into blocks, grouping like-minded films together. So if you are looking for horror films, go on the website you'll find a block of horror films. If you are looking for just short films, there's the twisted short stack, which is short films with a twist," added Katha Cato.

The Catos say the festival is mostly self-financed, and it has already grown in just a year, but they don't want it to grow too much just yet.

"We want to have a film festival that we can sustain, and if it grows too fast, and we get too big, we won't be able to sustain it," said Katha Cato.

For information on movies, tickets and show times, visit www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.

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