Organizers for the 3rd Annual Queen City Film Festival ( NJ) are faced with a new set of challenges as they plan for the annual gathering which takes place in October.  The annual festival attracts hundreds of festival goers and dozens of filmmakers from around the country for the multi day event which last year screened 52 films from 7 countries.  Last year’s star-studded guest list included Emmy Award Winners, network Writers, Actors and Directors from as far away as Los Angeles and Atlanta for the two-day festival held in historic Plainfield NJ with an award show held at the newly constructed Cinemark Theater in Watchung.

RELATED: A Chat with Queen City Film Festival Director Lamar Mackson

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Dozens of festivals have either postponed or canceled however the Junior (3rd) year fest Queen City decided to forge ahead by planning to go digital with film screenings in the event that life had not returned to normal.  Founder and Festival Director Lamar David Mackson said “We were faced with a tough decision once we realized that corona was not just going to go away like the common cold. On one hand canceling the event would hurt our momentum as a young festival but also would hurt the local filmmakers who depend on our event to screen their newest projects and build up their audience.  So we decided to develop a back up plan that would allow filmmakers to submit and screen their films if chosen. By conducting online screenings the festival survives and filmmakers can still utilize the outlet to get the needed validation, feedback and interaction.  A real win - win situation“.

QCFFNJ began accepting submissions via the digital platform FILMFREEWAY on March 1, just as the health crisis was in its infancy stages in the US.  Since then almost 30,000 positive cases and 646 deaths with no vaccine in sight, made the organizers shudder at the possibility of not having a physical event with, big screens, red carpets  and the typical shmoozing which is par for the course.  “We have already begun to make the transition of converting our audience to online by hosting free screenings of award winners from previous years with a promotion called Quarantine Theater on our website and social media.  Even though we have secured Cinemark Theater, we want to also be ready if Corona isn’t resolved, and we can’t gather in groups larger than 10 people.  We hope to have our backup completely tested and ready for launch in the worst case, but we feel confident that life will return to a familiar yet new protocol by October.

The Queen City Film Festival is scheduled for October 23-25, 2020 with multiple workshops for actors, writers and other activities scheduled during the 3-day fest.  To submit films visit www.qcffnj.com from now until September 20,2020.  Acceptance notices go out just prior to September deadline.  Tickets for screenings and events won’t start until the summer and events won’t be finalized until more progress has been made against the fight against COVID19  and the virus that causes it.

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