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Queens Chronicle

Two World’s Fair films get public screening

A full house expected at the Midway Theater in Forest Hills on June 10

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Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 12:36 pm, Thu Jun 12, 2014.

The celebrations to honor the anniversaries of the 1939-40 and 1964-65 World’s Fairs at Flushing Meadows Corona Park are stretching beyond the park’s borders this month.

Organized by the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, the Midway Theater at 108-22 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills will be the site of a free film screening for two documentaries on Tuesday, June 10 at 7 p.m.

The first film, “World Fair: Picturing Tomorrow,” is 30-minutes long and focuses on the 1939 World’s Fair.

Directed by Amanda Murray, the documentary won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the 2013 Independent Film Festival in Boston and the Best Documentary Short at the 2013 Sidewalk Film Festival in Alabama.

Chamber of Commerce Treasurer Steve Melnick, the event’s organizer, planned for Murray to host a question-and-answer segment about her film and the fair, but a scheduling conflict will prevent her appearance.

However, he said she was “thrilled” about the movie being shown in Queens when Melnick approached her with the idea.

“It hasn’t been seen by many people in this area, but it’s been screened all over the country,” Melnick said. “I think it really chronicles what happened at the fair.”

The second documentary, “Peace Through Understanding: The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair,” is 90-minutes long and features archived footage, photographs and recollections of World’s Fair attendees.

Melnick said the idea for the film screening came to him last year before many of this year’s events had been planned.

“Last year, I was reading an article and it mentioned the anniversaries were coming up,” he said. “I hadn’t heard about any planned events at all. That’s when I got online and looked at different movies. By December, I already had the movies in place.”

Melnick hopes all 250 seats in the theater will be filled for the screenings.

“I expect it will be pretty full,” he said. “It starts at 7 p.m., but we’re telling everyone to get there early.”

People for the Pavilion, the two-man preservation group aimed at saving the aging New York State Pavilion, was also invited to the screening, but scheduling conflicts will prevent them from attending as well.

In addition to supporting the Midway Theater, Melnick said the screening is a good way to celebrate Forest Hills’ neighbor on the other side of the Grand Central Parkway.

“We’re neighbors with Flushing Meadows,” he said. “A lot of people walk from here to the park.”

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