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‘Reel New York’ will feature Queens filmmakers

With landmark contributions from the past and fresh work by new and established artists, “Reel New York” brings more than 30 short- and full-length works by, about and for New Yorkers Fridays at 10 p.m., from June 6 to Aug. 1 (excluding July 4). Queens is specifically highlighted in the first episode and throughout the series.

On June 6, “Just Another Day Without You,” by Long Island City video artist Virginia Valdes, will air. Valdes is a designer whose works have been shown in national and international festivals and museums, such as Digital Visions 2002 at the Sacramento Arts Center, P.S.1/Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center, where “Just Another Day Without You” was part of the 2002 New York Video Festival.

“Banana,” by Astoria resident Kevin B. Lee, will air July 11. It focuses on Hua Wen, a frustrated Chinese immigrant living in Queens who experiences deep cultural and parental confusion.

Entertaining, culturally sensitive and ultimately touching, the film depicts the triumph of the immigrant spirit under harsh conditions.

Lee produced “Take a Look: Chinatown, NYC Post 9/11,” which showed the effects of Sept. 11 on the Chinatown community, and has recently completed “World Tourism Center,” a documentary short that explores the former World Trade Center in its new incarnation as a major tourist attraction.

On Aug. 1, “Reel New York” will air “Moonlight Electric,” a short film about a deaf guitar player living in Queens who auditions for Juilliard.

The film is by Risa Morimoto, an Astoria resident and president of Edgewood Pictures, Inc., a company she founded with her husband to produce cross-cultural, ethnographic motion pictures. Morimoto is executive director of Asian CineVision, a non-profit Asian-American media arts organization, and was the festival director of the 2001 and 2002 Asian-American International Film Festivals in New York.

Since breaking ground in 1996 as New York’s first independent film and video series for television, Reel New York has been a unique forum for narrative shorts, documentaries, experimental pieces, animation, and projects beyond categorization. These works by New York-based independent filmmakers reflect a refreshing array of perspectives that cross racial, religious, social, and cultural boundaries to illuminate pockets of life that many New Yorkers never see.

Featured filmmakers introduce their works, adding a personal dimension to each presentation. Many “Reel New York” alumni have gone on to garner prestigious positions and awards in the film industry: Abraham Lim, whose short film “Fly” aired as part of the series in 1998, edited Robert Altman’s “Cookie’s Fortune,” while Malcolm Lee, of 1997’s “Morningside Prep,” wrote and directed “The Best Man.” Other celebrated filmmakers whose projects have appeared on “Reel New York” over the years include D.A. Pennebaker, Morris Engel, Alfred Leslie, Nam June Paik, Nan Goldin, and Jem Cohen.

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