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Queens Chronicle

Chain film fest offers an array of great movies

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Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014 10:30 am

A young man and woman who put their virginity up for auction, a group of friends who reconnect on New Year’s Eve, a college grad with a secret preparing for his dream job interview and a pair of New York City patrolmen whose actions could have been ripped from today’s headlines — they’re among the fictional and fact-based characters whose stories will be told on-screen during the second annual Chain NYC Film Festival, running at The Chain Theatre in Long Island City.

According to festival director Kirk Gostkowski, more than 100 films —some full-length, some running just three minutes — will be featured during the two-week festival, selected from many submissions.

Gostkowski said word got out after last year’s event, resulting in a lot of strong movies being submitted this year.

While live theater festivals take over much of the city during the summer months, a film series is good counter-programming, Gostkowski said. He is particularly proud of two of this year’s festival’s special events.

On Aug. 9, there will be a screening of “Shadows,” a 1959 film about an interracial romance in New York City, which marked John Cassavetes’ directorial debut. The film’s star, Lelia Goldoni, will be on hand for a post-screening talkback.

And August 16 will largely be devoted to the works of the late actress Karen Black. In addition to screenings of “Karen Black: On Acting,” a feature-length documentary, and a short retrospective of her screen career, a highlight will be “Mama at Midnight,” a memory play written by Black that focuses on a battle of wills between a mother and daughter.

The actresses Sean Young, Andrea McArdle and Gail Brown, the playwright’s real-life sister, will perform in the live reading.

Many of the filmmakers whose works will be shown at the festival were on hand Sunday night, for a meet-and-greet kickoff event. Among them were Rich Devaney and Valerie Corrales, whose 15-minute film, “Patrol,” is sure to be among the festival’s most controversial.

In the film, based on actual events, two NYPD patrolmen are called to assist a drunk and disorderly woman at three o’clock in the morning, but their actions conflict with their vows to protect and serve the citizens of the city.

“Valerie and I were so disturbed by the possibility that something like this could happen,” Devaney said. “I want viewers to feel violated.”

“It’s very uncomfortable to watch,” Corrales said. “The audience feels like a voyeur.”

Devaney, a former resident of Sunnyside who is looking for an apartment in Long Island City, suggested that he is developing other stories dealing with similar cases of abuse of power.

Set in Martha’s Vineyard, Ritchie Filippi’s full-length psychological thriller, “The Eve,” takes on a Hitchcock feel, according to the film’s head writer, Astoria resident Evan Bass, who also served as a producer and actor on the project.

Bass describes the film as being about friends reconnecting after having grown apart since college. The film was shot in 2011, but post-production work had taken a while.

The film will be having its world premiere showing at the festival, with all the actors in attendance, he said.

“Broke,” a narrative short about two New York City real estate agents, one a novice, the other a down-on-his-luck wannabe hustler, is the first film effort by Astoria resident Benham Jones, better known as the bass player for the Queens-based band The Shivers.

“It was really an adventure to get it done,” he said, explaining that the film, produced on a $900 budget, was temporarily interrupted by Hurricane Sandy. “My big dream was to film in all five boroughs,” he said. Among the instantly recognizable local sites in the film is the famous Neptune Diner, located on Astoria Boulevard, a stone’s throw from where the film will be screened.

Gostkowski predicts that one of the most talked-about films in the festival will be the documentary feature “Virgin Wanted,” which was originally intended as an Australian television series but proved too controversial, according to Gostkowski.

Chain NYC Film Festival
When: various times, through Aug. 17
Where: The Chain Theatre, 21-28 45 Road, LIC
Tickets: $12 for regular events,

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