AFF2018 Schedule

Astoria Film Festival

Saturday June 9, 2018

The Zukor Theater

Kaufman Astoria Studios

*signifies directors who will be present at the festival and will take part in the Q&As

10:45am Doors Open - Coffee/Water/Muffins/Donuts Served

  -Donated by Bel Aire Diner 


Dance Performance by Maria Kouppari of Ballet Popular


Welcome Remarks

11:15am Special Screening: DEEJ by DJ Savarese and Rob Rooy

Producer and Star of the film, DJ Savarese, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College in May 2017 with a double major in Anthropology and Creative Writing. An ASAN Scholar Fellow, he was also the recipient of Oberlin’s William Battrick Poetry Fellowship and their Comfort Starr Award for meritorious scholarly work in Anthropology. 

Director Robert Rooy is an independent filmmaker who has worked in more than twenty countries, creating media with and for international development, human rights and environmental organizations.  His encounter with Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, led to producing and directing To Our Credit, a two-part PBS series that aired in 1998.  In addition, he has worked as an assistant director on more than forty films, including Lonesome Dove, Honeymoon in Vegas, Minority Report and The West Wing. He holds an MFA degree from Yale School of Drama, a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Calvin College, and a National MediaMaker Fellowship from the Bay Area Video Coalition

In Deej, the camera works to open eyes to the full potential of people with significant disabilities. Shot over a six-year period, Deej reveals not only what the ideal of full inclusion requires but also what it can accomplish.

Commercial - The Highwater NYC


Promnesia (Experimental)*

Director- Kayla Affrunti (Staten Island, NY)

Kayla Affrunti has her BFA in Dance from Montclair State University. The NYC native was introduced to filmmaking as a performer, but soon began directing, editing and creating her own short films. In 2017 Kayla premiered a dance film and documentary short for Freespace Dance Company titled "A Woman's Movement." In 2018 Kayla premiered "Promnesia" a senior thesis in Montclair, NJ. 

Promnesia is a dance film that explores the unique, interpersonal phenomena of deja vu. Set in a picturesque home, six dancers live and relive    through each others experiences, interacting, intertwining and existing on one shared plane.

The Box (Drama)

Director - Merve Cirisoglu Cotur (Istanbul, Turkey)

Merve is an animator, illustrator, designer, and mathematician, who obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics Education at Bogazici University in Istanbul.  Merve  has recently graduated from University of the Arts, London with a Master's degree in Animation. She is mostly interested in producing educational cartoons and creative animations for children.

The happy life of a Syrian child alters instantly with the sudden war and he finds himself in a state of struggle. 

Those Who Can Die (Drama-Horror)

Director - Charlotte Cayeux (Paris, France)

After getting a Master of Cinema degree at the University Paris 3, Charlotte Cayeux directed 5 short movies since 2011 : "Scene", "Resurgence", "Tapi's three new adventures", "Nassara", and "Those who can die".
Zoé, 15 years old, enters a strict boarding school. Around her, students are playing and attending classes with lifeless eyes while violence lurks behind the school's duplicitous facade. One day Zoé meets Marie and understands what they are destined for.

Irony (Experimental)*

Director- Radheya Jegatheva (Australia)                                                                                   

Radheya Jegatheva is a young Perth-based Australian filmmaker who was born in Johor, Malaysia in 1999 to parents of South Korean and Malaysian ancestry. He is a 2nd year Bachelor of Commerce and Arts student at Curtin University in Western Australia. Radheya's films have played at film festivals in 6 of the world's 7 continents. 

A film that explores the relationship between man and technology, told from the perspective of a phone. This hand-drawn animated film is based on the poem 'Seven Billion' which won 2 National poetry awards and was written by the film’s director.

The Talk (Drama)*

Director- Marlon Perrier &  Keisha Richards Lafleur (NYC)

Marlon is a Meisner trained actor, writer, and producer who has accumulated roles on popular television shows like “Law and Order: SVU“, “The Blacklist”, “Blue Bloods”, “Bull”, and the 2017 hit film “Going in Style”. “The Talk” is the third film that Marlon has written, produced and starred in. Keisha is a Meisner trained actor, writer, producer and director who’s appeared on shows like “The Big C”, “Luke Cage”, and “FBI”. She also happens to be a professional stuntwoman. “The Talk” is the fifth film that Keisha has directed and produced.

After an unarmed black teen is killed, James & Maddie argue about whether they should explain police brutality to their 9 year old son.

Remembering in the Future (Experimental)*

Director - Josiah Cuneo (Brooklyn, NY)

Josiah Cuneo is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, composer and choreographer. Josiah Cuneo received his BFA from University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2017 Cuneo was the recipient of a Jerome Foundation Grant and Artist Residency at Roulette, New York. There he premiered the multimedia performance The Paper Dance, in which he wrote, directed, choreographed and composed a new work for twenty performers. He premiered his most recent film Lilt (2017) in New York at the Chain NYC Film Festival, and it has since won the Best Experimental Film Award from the Festigious Film Festival Los Angeles.

Movement becomes imaginary as the internal feelings of beach goer slowly unfold. The music and script for this film were written to express the    changing nature of memories.

Pleasures of the Glove (Comedy)*

Director- Duane Michals ( McKeesport, PA)

Duane Michals is a photographer widely known for his work with series, multiple exposures, and text. Michals first made significant, creative strides in the field of photography during the 1960s. In an era heavily influenced by photojournalism, Michals manipulated the medium to communicate narratives. The sequences, for which he is widely known, appropriate cinema’s frame-by-frame format. Rather than serving a didactic or explanatory function, Michals' handwritten text adds another dimension to the images’ meaning and gives voice to Michals’ singular musings, which are poetic, tragic, and humorous, often all at once.

Obsession turns dreams into nightmares as a fetish haunts a young man's desires.

With My Own Two Hands (Experimental)*

Director - Michaël Barocas (Paris, France)

Michaël Barocas has been doing short films, commercials, music videos and documentaries for the past 12 years. Before that, he studied producing and directing in a movie school in Paris (ESRA) where he graduated in 2000. He’s currently developing his first feature film.

A poignant retelling of the life of a man through his hands and the hands around him

The Perfect Fit (Drama)*

Director - Emory Parker (NY, NY)

Emory is a NYC-based auteur best known for her award-winning film, “Changing of the Leaves.” Emory’s most recent short, “The Perfect Fit,” has screened at several festivals including NY Shorts Fest, L.A. Women’s International Film Festival, WAMMFest, and has just been named “Best Student Short” at the IMDB Independent Shorts Awards. Emory is interested in telling stories about complex, fascinating women. With every project, she is doing just that.

A determined young actress gets the opportunity to audition for the role that her mother originated on Broadway. When tensions arise between the two, the girl must decide whether to play by her mother's rules or her own.

1:30-2pm Q&A Panel (Mix of Moderator Questions and Audience Questions)

2pm - Snacks served.  Donated by Beans&Lager Restaurant 33-01 36 Ave Astoria


Mumpsimus and Halcyon Discord (Experimental)

Directed by - Rolf Klein (Bristol, UK)

Rolf has experienced mental health issues and homelessness. He wants to use film to challenge our understanding of both. Rolf is a first-time filmmaker.

This film explores the connections between mental health and homelessness, challenging common misrepresentations in the media. Using the      medium of the spoken word, the film questions whether we can ever view issues such as these in an objective way.

Avocado Toast (Comedy)*

Director - Joanna Belbey (Jersey City, NJ)
Astoria FilmFestival is “Avocado Toast’s” premier. Written and directed by Joanna Belbey, “Avocado Toast” shows how good food and new friends can heal the heart. Other films from Joanna include “New York Passport”, an award winning television docu-series about New York City in 2015 and “India: A Tourist’s View”, a short film and official selection for the YoFi Fest, Jersey City Golden Door Film Fest, and The Art of Brooklyn film festivals in 2014.

A recently-divorced suburban mom finds happiness and her true self as she ventures outside of her comfort zone and tries new things.

Corpse Pose (Drama- Horror)*

Director - Sarah Misch (Astoria, NY)

Sarah Misch is a Las Vegas native turned Astoria-based performer and filmmaker. Though primarily a theatre-trained actor, Sarah has thoroughly enjoyed learning all about filmmaking on the job by working both behind and in front of the camera with Film Repertory Group (FRG), an NYC-based collective of emerging indie film artists. "Corpse Pose" is her Sarah's first credit as a producer. In addition to serving as FRG's Social Media Coordinator, Sarah is a company member with Improbable Stage, a movement-based theatre ensemble. She holds a B.S. in Educational Theatre from NYU Steinhardt. You can learn more about Sarah's stage and non-FRG film and television work at​  Avril moves into a new apartment, hoping to start over after a traumatic event. But is she alone?

I Got A Callback (Comedy)*

Director- Christopher Fox Producer- Lester Greene Writer - Staxx Cordero (Brooklyn, NY) 

Christopher Fox is a professional Sound Mixer by trade, and a Filmmaker by passion. He was born in Brooklyn, raised in Yorktown, NY.

After years of working on various films and projects as a sound mixer, Chris focused his attention on writing and directing. Chris made his directing debut on a short film called “Triangle" which screened at 15 festivals and won 3 awards. Chris is now directing and shooting, and helping others with their visions.

 An actor is put to the test in an audition that goes left.

A DACA Rally (Documentary)*

Director - John Maslowski (Mayfield Heights, OH)

John Maslowski is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He is an award winning actor, director, writer and producer. He has appeared in thirty-five films. His short film, "Arachnoid", won the Best One-Minute Wonder film award in the super short film category at the 2017 Winter Alternative Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.

A depiction of the Fight for DACA Rally held in New York, New York on September 9, 2017.

Forouzan (Drama)

Director - Mirabbas Khosravinezhad (Khorram Abad, Iran)

Director and Writer Mirrabas Khosravinezhad was born 1977 in Khorram Abad, Iran.  He graduated from the University of Mechanical Engineering. Since 2000, he has been directing short films.

  A single mother in a small rural village in Iran single-handedly protects her home, her children,  and her livestock from thieves.

I Was Meant To Be This Way (Documentary)*

Director- Elizabeth Ebbert (Astoria, NY)

After the birth of her child four and a half years ago, Ms. Ebbert started creating video edits in an attempt to obsessively preserve every fleeting moment of her daughter's childhood. She has now extended this obsession into documenting family stories, and amplifying the voices of women. 

Two Astoria NY women talk about the challenges of being activists and organizers in a post-Trump world. Their advocacy is complicated by      motherhood and pregnancy, but women make fierce warriors.

Young Summer (Experimental)

Director- Eli Solt (Loveland, Colorado)

Eli Solt is an independent filmmaker from Colorado who is currently a college student.  Eli has written and directed many short films, and is continually working on new projects.

A nostalgic trip on a Ferris Wheel in late-July that reminds us that the past and the future often exist as one.

Special Screening: Madurando (Drama) by Frisly Soberanis*

Frisly Soberanis comes from Queens, NY via Guatemala. He graduated from the Academy for Careers in TV and Film and is currently pursuing his BA. He is currently a video content producer at Peloton Interactive. He has worked on many projects, including American Promise (Shooter-Sundance, Fullframe), Alien Dawn (2nd Unit-Nickelodeon), and has shot content for Carmelo Anthony. He won the Lotus Foundation Achievement in the Arts Award, was a finalist in the Univision Radio Latino film contest and has had his work screen on Yahoo's Cortos for Hispanic Heritage Month. He is also a Tribeca Film Fellow, and is working on several new projects.

Pablo must find a way to pay for his cellphone bill. With his mom unresponsive to his requests, he sets out on a journey that will

bring him back to his mother's arms.

3:30-4pm Q&A Panel (Mix of Moderator Questions and Audience Questions)

Commercial - The Highwater NYC


Special Screening: City On The Water for Riverkeeper by Jon Bowermaster*

Writer, filmmaker and adventurer, Jon is a six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council. One of the Society’s ‘Ocean Heroes,’ his first assignment for National Geographic Magazine was documenting a 3,741 mile crossing of Antarctica by dogsled. Jon has written a dozen books and produced/directed more than fifteen documentary films.  His Oceans 8 project took him and his teams around the world by sea kayak over the course of ten years (1999-2008), bringing back stories from the Aleutian Islands to French Polynesia, Gabon to Tasmania, and more, reporting on how the planet’s one ocean and its various coastlines are faring in today’s busy world.  Jon lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. He is the Executive Producer of Oceans 8 Films and President of One Ocean Media Foundation, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation and a Board Member of Mark Ruffalo’s Water Defense.

City on the Water is Jon Bowermaster’s new mini-documentary as part of his Hudson: A River at Risk series: For many years, the Hudson River, like so many waterways across the U.S., was treated like an infinite waste barrel, a receptacle for poisonous chemicals and hazardous waste. During the past forty years, thanks to a committed group of environmentalists and their agencies, the river has become markedly cleaner, a far more welcoming place for small business and community investment. However, new threats loom on the horizon once again.

Audience Q&A with Jon Bowermaster


The Festival will give out awards for Best Drama, Best Comedy, Best Experimental, Best Documentary,

Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, and The ZUKOR Award

Background Music provided by Dani Strigi