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Queens Int’l Film Festival showcases indies, shorts

The Queens International Film Festival will unveil a lineup of films as diverse as the borough that is hosting it when it kicks off its sixth year in East Elmhurst Nov. 6.

The festival, which will screen feature films, shorts and documentaries at East Elmhurst’s Crown Plaza LaGuardia Hotel from Nov. 6−9, will include works from a number of nations, including the United States, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Canada, Finland, Paraguay, Poland and South Korea, said Joseph Lara, the festival’s senior vice president of marketing and media.

“Queens is the biggest melting pot in the United States,” he said. “We have such an immense ethnic diversity that we could not put on a festival without personifying that.”

But Lara compared the festival’s mood with the borough’s Major League Baseball team, rather than adopting the tone of Manhattan’s Tribeca Film Festival.

“The Mets have always been down and dirty — nitty gritty,” he said. “That definitely shows in the festival. It has a down−to−earth, blue−collar flavor. There’s more of an edginess to Queens, so we’re humbled to have the festival here.”

Lara said festival attendees hail from the five boroughs and Long Island, but also from as far away as California.

Nearly 100 films of varying lengths and formats will be screened at the festival, he said.

The festival’s opening night film is “Looking for Palladin,” which tells the story of a young, arrogant Hollywood talent (David Moscow) agent who goes to Guatemala to track down the titular character (Ben Gazzara), an aging movie star. Along the way, he is drawn into the community where he performs his search. The film also stars Talia Shire (“Rocky”) and Vincent Pastore (“The Sopranos”). The film’s actors will take part in a discussion with the audience following the screening.

On Nov. 8, the festival will host Irish Takeover, which will include the reading of Derek Murphy’s play “A Short Wake,” starring Martin Sheen’s brother, Joe Estevez.

The evening will also include a screening of “Red Mist,” one of the festival’s first−ever horror films. The film, which is from Ireland, is about a college medical student who ends up in a coma following a prank by several other students. The student has an out−of−body experience that enables him to enter his tormentors’ bodies and exact revenge. Several short films will also be screened during the Irish−themed event.

Another festival highlight will be mockumentary “Stash,” which stars Marilyn Chambers and Tim Kazurinsky (of the “Police Academy” films). The film follows a young entrepreneur who founds a company that removes incriminating materials, such as pornography, from clients’ homes after they die and before their family members can stumble upon it. The film’s stars will answer questions from the audience following the screening.

This year’s festival will also include a silent auction of works by Queens painters, sculptors and photographers at 8 p.m. Nov. 7, as well as a panel at 3 p.m. Nov. 8, during which festival−goers will be able to ask producers, marketers and distributors questions on how to get a film picked up for release.

The festival’s closing night, Nov. 11, will feature Cannes Film Festival−selected documentary “Pipeline Patrol,” as well as a ceremony during which QIFF’s winners will be announced.

Lara said attendees can purchase all−day passes for $30 or can pay individually for screenings. All screenings will take place at the Crown Plaza, located at 104−04 Ditmars Blvd. in East Elmhurst. For the full schedule and show times, visit the festival’s Web site at www.queensfilmfestival.com.

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