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The 5th Annual Festival of Cinema NYC brings in-person screenings back in Forest Hills September 24-



John Carlucci & Brandon Laganke’s Drunk Bus

Opens the film festival with the directors in attendance,

Erin Granat & Machete Bang Bang’s Moon Manor

is the Closing Night selection


World Premieres include Cristiano Vieira’s A Cisterna (The Well)

and Samuel Tressler IV’s Leda, while Pedro von Krüger’s

Any Given Day and Vishal P.Chaliha’s Sijou

will make North American Premieres


Queens, NY, September 24, 2021 - Festival of Cinema NYC proudly returns for its 5th year, as a live in-person 10-day event, taking place September 24-October 3. Bookending over 120 independent films from around the world with many premieres among them, will be the Opening Night selection of John Carlucci and Brandon Laganke’s crowd favorite Drunk Bus, and the Closing Night screening of Erin Granat & Machete Bang Bang’s acclaimed LGBTQ film, Moon Manor.


Over 85 filmmakers are expected to attend Festival of Cinema NYC next month which will be hosted once again by the Regal UA Midway in Forest Hills, Queens, famous for their state-of-the-art projection and sound. World premieres include Cristiano Vieira’s A Cisterna (The Well) and Samuel Tressler IV’s Leda, which will mark FOC NYC’s very first RealD 3D presentation, while Pedro von Krüger’s Any Given Day and Vishal P. Chaliha’s Sijou will make North American Premieres at the film festival.


Festival of Cinema NYC Founder and Executive Director Jayson Simba, said, “In our 5th year, and despite the pandemic, we still continue to grow by nearly every metric – submissions, films selected, screenings, and more. We could not be more excited to return to our home at the Regal and to see these amazing films on screen and meet all of the 85 filmmakers we are expecting to join us here in Forest Hills. We pride ourselves on bringing world cinema to the many film lovers here in Queens, and this year’s lineup really delivers on that front.”


John Carlucci and Brandon Laganke’s raucous comedy Drunk Bus kicks things off on Friday, September 24. The film follows a recent college graduate whose life plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. However, when he runs into Pineapple, a 300-lb punk rock Samoan who challenges him with a kick in the ass to break from the loop and start living, his life will never be the same. or risk driving in circles forever. Both Carlucci and Laganke will attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.


Erin Granat and Machete Bang Bang’s Moon Manor will make its Queens Premiere on Saturday, October 2 as FOC NYC’s Closing Night selection. The film focuses on a man

with advancing Alzheimer’s who decides that he will orchestrate a party of a funeral–a FUNeral, prior to his death, showing his estranged brother, salt-of-the earth caretaker, sharp-witted death doula, a novice obituary writer, a cosmic being, and everyone else the proper way to make an exit.


Leading the premiere-rich lineup are world premieres including; Cristiano Vieira’s Brazilian thriller A Cisterna (The Well), which centers on a successful journalist and popular television host’s fight for survival when she is kidnapped and held inside a well; and Samuel Tressler IV’s Leda imaginative drama about a woman living alone at a large family estate, who begins to lose touch with reality and time, and begins to spiral into a nightmare of madness. Making their North American premieres are Pedro von Krüger’s Brazilian thriller, Any Given Day where a woman’s son goes missing inspiring him to take the investigation and matters into his own hands; and Vishal P. Chaliha’s Sijou, about a boy who becomes a victim of the Feudal Land Tenure System which enslaved people to land holding lords.


For its fifth year, Festival of Cinema NYC is working with the Americas Media Initiative organization to raise awareness of the current societal turmoil and political conditions in Cuba. On Tuesday September 28 at 7:00PM, the festival will be presenting the animated short film Esperanza vs. the U.S. Embargo of Cuba proceeded by Ricardo Figueredo Oliva’s documentary The Singular Story of Unlucky Juan. The screenings will be followed by a 60-minute moderated discussion with guest speakers and activists, Roberto Monticello and Isabel Alfonso leading the conversation. Proceeds from the evening’s presentation will be donated to assist in Cuban Relief efforts.


This year’s edition of Festival of Cinema NYC is supported and made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Other major sponsors for the 2021 festival include Regal Cinemas, Resorts World Casino NYC, the NYC & Company Foundation, Techsoup, and Final Draft.


Tickets to Festival of Cinema NYC are on sale now, and are priced at $17 for regular daily screening blocks. Red Carpet Opening and Closing night tickets are priced at $30 and include entry into the after party following those screenings. (Discounts are available, at the door, for Senior Citizens, SAG-AFTRA members, members of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, the Forest Hills Asian Association, the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, and members Community Board 6.) Tickets to Tuesday’s Fundraising Presentation on Cuba will cost $35.


To purchase tickets and learn more information about the festival,  please visit






Drunk Bus

Dir. John Carlucci & Brandon Laganke, USA, 100 min

Michael (Charlie Tahan) is a recent graduate whose post college plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. When the bus service hires a security guard to watch over the night shift, Michael comes face to tattooed face with Pineapple, a 300-lb punk rock Samoan who challenges him with a kick in the ass to break from the loop and start living or risk driving in circles forever.



Moon Manor                                                                         Queens Premiere

Dir. Erin Granat & Machete Bang Bang, USA, 102 min

With advancing Alzheimer’s and a determination to do things his way, Jimmy’s decided to throw himself a fabulous FUNeral before his intentional death, showing his estranged brother, salt-of-the earth caretaker, sharp-witted death doula, a novice obituary writer, a cosmic being, and the guests at his FUNeral — that sometimes the art of living just may be the art of dying.





Dir. Craig Singer, USA, 100 min.

The couple arrives for vacation in the quiet island resort called "Bog Grove." To their bewilderment, the sleepy beach town is curiously deserted and they quickly learn about its deadly history that's about to repeat itself.


A Cisterna (The Well)                                                          World Premiere

Dir. Cristiano Vieira, Brazil, 100 Min., World Premiere

Lorena Ribeiro is a successful journalist and popular television host when she is kidnapped and held inside a well.


Angie: Lost Girls                                                                 Queens Premiere

Dir. Julia Verdin, USA, 108 min

After escaping from a sex trafficking ring, one teenage girl struggles to reconnect with herself and her family after her ordeal. Ultimately, in order to find herself and rescue her helpless friends, she must confront her own fears and help lead the police to her traffickers - no matter the cost.


Any Given Day                                                                     North American Premiere

Dir. Pedro von Krüger, Brazil, 88 min

The festive atmosphere of the first Sunday after the Carnival is soon disrupted when Penha’s son goes missing. Certain that his disappearance can only be the work of the mafia commanded by former police officer Quirino, an old dislike, Penha will soon find out the consequences of doing justice with her own hands.


Dreamover                                                                            New York Premiere

Dir. Charlie Roman Olkhovka, Russia, 100 min

When life turns unbearably miserable, a lonely old man takes part in a medical experiment, reviving a long-forgotten story of his love...


Electric Jesus                                                                      New York Premiere

Dir. Chris White, USA, 107 min

When a flashy promoter (played by Brian Baumgartner, The Office) sells sound man Erik (Andrew Eakle) and his favorite local Christian hair metal band, 316, on the promise of a bus tour in the summer of 1986, their desire to “make Jesus famous” meets the complexities and confusion of personal ambition, religious conviction, youthful zeal, lifelong friendships, and first love.


The Enemies                                                                        New York Premiere

Dir. George Gachava, Georgia, 65 min

In order to escape inevitable death, a Georgian soldier is forced to open the basement door and jump in thus trapping himself underground with the enemy.


Finding Ophelia

Dir. Stephen Rutterford, USA, 73 min.

William Edgar inhabits a strange dream-like reality. His obsession with a mysterious woman leads down a bizarre, dark path of signs and wonders. Sometimes finding the girl of your dreams can be a nightmare.


Lair                                                                                        East Coast Premiere

Dir. Adam Ethan Crow, United Kingdom, 96 min

When a friend claims to have been possessed by a demonic force, paranormal investigator Steven Caramore investigates, setting off a chain of events that forces a young family and Caramore into a terrifying battle for survival.


Leda                                                                                      World Premiere

Dir. Samuel Tressler IV, USA, 76 min

Leda lives alone in a large family estate, surrounded by her memories. As her past of loss unfolds and a divine presence seems to haunt her, she begins to lose touch with reality and time. What seemed to be a dream-like world spirals into a nightmare of madness in this reimagining of the Greek myth.


Lightships                                                                            New York Premiere

Dir. John Harrigan, United Kingdom, 103 min

Eve’s family is missing: her journal holds the key to locating them. As her world and reality begin to unravel, she must unlock the mystery of the visions and transmissions she is experiencing. Is she a prisoner, a patient... or dead?


Omar and Us                                                                        New York Premiere

Dir. Maryna Er Gorbach & Mehmet Bahadir Er, Turkey, 104 min

Ismet is a recently retired Turkish soldier whose last post was as a Commander of the Coast Guard at the Turkish maritime border.  In an unexpected turn of events, he suddenly becomes neighbors with two refugees. Now he must face his prejudices and reexamine his worldview.


Only Human                                                                         East Coast Premiere

Dir. Igor Ivanov, North Macadonia, 95 min.

What is Man? HOMO shows six faces, six phases in cleverly-connected, blackly comic episodes as desperate characters meet unwittingly in a modern metropole in the eternal search for the means to survive, and find some kind of love.


The Prince

Dir. Sebastián Muñoz, Chile, 95 min.

During a night of heavy drinking, Jaime, a narcissist 20-year-old, stabs his best friend in what seems like a passionate outburst. In prison he will discover the affections and loyalties of an everyday life marked by violence.



Savage Days

Dir. David Lanzman, France, 80 min.,

Savage Days is the fate of three characters: a student eager for experiences, a drug dealer trying to get out of it, and a trader tired of his loneliness. The world today makes them meet, collide, hurt each other.



Dir. Hunter Hopewell, USA, 82 min.

A poignant tale of longing and loss is revealed when a timeworn journal transports a young girl to a place of enchanting wonders.


Sijou                                                                                      North American Premiere

Dir. Vishal P.Chaliha, India, 109 min

Sijou’s life takes a drastic shift when the boy becomes a victim of the Feudal Land Tenure System which was in practice in Bhutan till 1958.


The Silent Party                                                                   East Coast Premiere

Dir. Diego Fried, Argentina, 87 min

Just hours before her wedding party, Laura sets out on her own, but a violent act changes her life forever.


Ten Tricks

Dir.  Rick Pagano, 88 min., USA

A woman tries to get pregnant.  On her birthday.  Surrounded by men trying to have sex.


Two is the Magic Number                                                   Queens Premiere

Dir. Holger Borggrefe & Stefan Hering, Deutschland, 85 min

A day at the lake. Andrejs ex-girlfriend Nadia pays him a visit. Nadia and Andrej's former best mate Claudius are a couple now. Nadia's request for help confronts Andrej with a common dark secret.





(C)Answers                                                                          East Coast Premiere

Dir. Breht Gardner, USA, 90 min

(C)Answers explores the biological and social cancers that plague American society. Filmmaker Breht Gardner takes you inside one man’s emotional cancer battle and discovers that cannabis prohibition is where race, politics, and the business of medicine powerfully intersect. 


Alexandre the Fool                                                              Queens Premiere

Dir. Pedro Pires, Canada, 65 min

Fifteen years after a psychotic event on the South China Sea flipped his life upside down, Alex, a sensitive, refined and schizophrenic man is at a crossroads.


Beer Boom                                                                           New York Premiere

Dir. Eric Schleyer & Andrew Coury, USA, 60 min

Craft beer in New York City is big business. But will passion and commitment be enough for a local brewer and his family to make it in the world's toughest city?


Escape from Room 18

Dir. Daniel Brea, USA, 60 min

Two American ex-neo-Nazi Skinheads, one of them Jewish and living in Israel, meet

in Eastern European concentration camps to re-connect with each other and make

amends for their past after 25 years of silence.


Loving Mona                                                                        New York Premiere

Dir. Terry Katz, USA, 71 min

Loving Mona is a personal story of how dogs change people’s lives. It is delightful in its sincerity and smallness of scope, and clearly shows a deep love for its subjects, dogs and people alike. It is inspiring as it is entertaining.


Never Events

Dir. Angela Asatrian, USA, 78 min

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. This documentary shares the stories of individuals affected by preventable medical harm and provides information from advocates on ways to prevent medical errors.


Safeguard: An Electoral College Story                             New York Premiere

Dir. M.A. Taylor, USA, 76 min

This timely and urgent new public affairs documentary examines the U.S. electoral college system. The film avoids any partisan bickering to ask the questions: How does it work? What happens if we change the rules? Is democracy just “two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner?” or can a democratic system be designed to protect minority rights?


Sex, Drugs & Bicycles                                                        New York Premiere

Dir. Jonathan Blank, The Netherlands, 86 min

Sex, Drugs & Bicycles takes a funny and provocative look at Holland and answers the question: is having month-long double paid vacations, no fear of homelessness & universal healthcare the nightmare we've been warned about? The Netherlands may be best known for its windmills and tulips (and marijuana “coffeeshops”), but it’s also a country that is at the forefront of LGBTQI equality, free speech laws, and animal rights.


The Singular Story of Unluck Juan

Dir. Ricardo Figueredo Oliva, Cuba, 52 min

Divided into chapters covering rations, the marketplace, CUC stores, private business, corruption, economic migration, and future Cuba, the documentary walks us through how each of these affects Juan and those like him.






Director: Maritza Gomez

Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min


A Day Off

Director: Caol Ila Bader

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min


Ali's Realm

Director: Mario Torres Jr

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min



Amplitude Modulation

Director: Nicolás Fernández

Country: Chile; Running Time: 39 min



Director: Béla Baptiste

Country: Austria; Running Time: 10 min


Art: An Unexpected Vocation

Director: Marianna Phung

Country: Canada; Running Time: 9 min


At Last

Director: Lorena Gordon

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min


Biff & Me

Director: Nicola Rose

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min


Blue Lanterns

Director: Brandon Chi-Wei Chen

Country: USA; Running Time: 28 min


Captain Kinesis

Director: Carles Jofre

Country: Spain; Running Time: 11 min


Christopher Nolan is God

Director: Javier Alegre

Country: Spain; Running Time: 4 min


Close Shave

Director: Michael Mercadante

Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min


Daisy - A Violent World Story

Directors: Marc Alan Kropfl, Roberto “Tank” Gomez

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min



Director: Keyvan Sheikhalishahi

Country: France; Running Time: 30 min


Don't Jump

Director: Loring Murtha

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min


Echoes of a Winter Sunshine

Director: Oniffe White

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min



Director: Nicolai Sagasser

Country: Germany; Running Time: 5 min



Director: Àlex "Gela" Aguado

Country: Spain; Running Time: 26 min


Fear of Open Spaces

Director: David Toth

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min



Director: Luna Alaina

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min



Director: Bryan Santiago

Country: USA; Running Time: 26 min



Director: Martina Savoca-Guay

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min



Directors: Adam M. Tuller, David Michael Alexander

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min



Director: Manuel Rivero

Country: Spain; Running Time: 10 min


Kiko's Saints

Director: Manuel Marmier

Country: France; Running Time: 25 min


Last Days

Director: Diana Frei

Country: Switzerland; Running Time: 30 min



Director: Nora Jaenicke

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min



Director: Sophie Black

Country: UK; Running Time: 8 min




Like Daughter, Like Mother

Director: Clyde Baldo

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min



Director: Anthony von Seck

Country: Canada; Running Time: 17 min


Matty Boy

Director: Shahid Kamal

Country: UK; Running Time: 14 min


Miss You, Dad

Director: Neera Zaveri

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min


Moving On

Director: Martin Chavez

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min


Mrs. Osbourne

Director: Gregory Bergeron

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min


Perro de Calle

Director: Jose Guerrero

Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min


Psycho Therapy

Director: Scott O'Hara

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min



Director: Nadyja von Ebers

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min



Director: Shane Joseph Willis

Country: Australia; Running Time: 15 min


Rooftop Intermission

Directors: Masa Gibson, Abby J. Smith

Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min



Director: Juliette Hagopian

Country: Canada; Running Time: 10 min


Smoking Wet

Director: Michael Hilf

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min


Sudden Drop

Director: Oc London

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min



Director: Anthony Sneed

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min



Director: Romuald Boulanger

Country: France; Running Time: 25 min


Thank You for Patiently Waiting

Directors: Max Marklund, Anders Jacobsson

Country: Sweden; Running Time: 18 min


The Beast

Director: Luke Howe

Countries: UK/USA; Running Time: 13 min


The Beautiful Logic

Director: Tomomi Muraguchi

Country: Japan; Running Time: 21 min


The Blue Cave

Director: Muhammad Bilal

Country: USA; Running Time: 30 min


The Caretaker

Director: Roland Puknat

Country: Deutschland; Running Time: 18 min


The Cord

Director: Cory Greenbaum

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min


The Feeder of Mir

Director: Isaac Emmanuel Suero

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min


The Fixer

Director: Michael Schilf

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min


The Great Artist

Director: Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri

Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min




The Karening

Director: Bec Fordyce

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min


The Killer Across the Street

Director: Adam Seccafico

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min


The Owner is In

Director: Phil Cheney

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min


The Taxidermist

Director: Natalie Johnson

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min


Things I Can't See

Director: Andi Rados

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min


Throwaway Boy

Director: Michael "Boogie" Pinckney

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min



Director: Angelica Rosas McDaniel

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min



Director: Dylan Filingeri

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min



Director: Allan Zhang Tran

Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min


Where You Are

Director: Christopher J Aran

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min


With Nora

Director: Micky Govern

Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min


You'd Look Better in Boots

Director: Derek Myers

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min






Birth of a Union

Director: Josh Karan

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min


L’eau Est La Vie

Director: Sam Vinal

Country: USA; Running Time: 24 min





A New Generation

Director: Jason Winfield

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min


Behind The Glass

Director: Pedro de la Llave

Country: Spain; Running Time: 5 min


Cloud Gazing

Director: Dianne Diep

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min



Director: Jonas Ciurlionis

Country: Lithuania; Running Time: 3 min



Director: Masataka Ishizaki

Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min



Director: Kathrin Schweizer

Country: Switzerland; Running Time: 15 min


Here You Are You Here

Director: Masa Gibson, Abby J. Smith

Country: USA/Iceland; Running Time: 15 min


Highland Home

Director: Dan Schaefer

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min



Director: Nestor Villasmil

Country: Venezuela; Running Time: 3 min




In A Pickle

Director: Jennifer Gelfer

Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min


In the Pines

Director: Javier Fernández-Caldas

Country: Spain; Running Time: 2 min


Kevin Verses

Directors: Corey Neufville, Paula Gammon Wilson

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min


Lea's Secret

Director: Rico Gutierrez

Country: Philippines; Running Time: 5 min


Little Guys in Space!

Director: David Pagano

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min


On The Floor

Director: Corey Koepper

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min


Open Heart Surgery

Director: Valeria Cocco

Country: Poland; Running Time: 4 min


Talking Cure

Director: Maren Krüger

Country: Germany; Running Time: 6 min





Happily Ever Ally

Director: Emily Anderson

Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min


Mares & Kaps

Director: Steve Parys

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min


Modus Operandi: Pseudo Fantasies of a F*cked Up Shrink

Director: Eric Goldsmith

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min


My Life as a Doormat (Pilot)

Director: Anthony Robert Grasso

Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min


NOC - Non-Official Cover

Director: Ian Voglesong

Country: USA; Running Time: 26 min


Procedural Justice

Director: David Alfano

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min


Tales From the Jumpseat: Sudden Drop

Director: Oc London

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min


The Resentful Angel

Directors: Shelley Daniels, Carmen Romen, Emily Ralsback



About Festival of Cinema NYC:

Festival of Cinema, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. The festival was

founded by local independent filmmakers with a passion to get movies made and to expand the reach of artists’ work. Recognizing the challenges filmmakers face in the film industry, the festival's aim is to establish a presence, and spread awareness, of cinematic creativity.


Festival of Cinema NYC




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