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Free Short Films and Cartoons Coming to Jackson Heights Play Street

By Smriti Rao | July 16, 2012 1:49pm
A still from the short film
A still from the short film "Andrew: Story of a Closet Monster," which will be screened for free at this year's FlicNic at 78th Street between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard.
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Vimeo/Eliott Lobell

JACKSON HEIGHTS—It's dinner and a movie...minus the theater.

This weekend, kids and adults in Jackson Heights can enjoy free short films on warm summer nights, including a healthy installment of Bugs Bunny, as the second annual “FlicNic” rolls into the neighborhood.

Billed as a “picnic with flicks,” the free outdoor movie screening at the 78th Street Play Street — featuring the work of local filmmakers — is presented by the Queens World Film Festival and the Jackson Heights Green Alliance.  

"It's like a picnic in the park," said series' co-director Katha Cato, who founded the event with her husband Don. "People can bring their own food, beverages and blankets to enjoy the films outdoors." 

More than 175 people are expected at this year’s event, which has screenings on both July 20 and 27.  

“It’s like a sampler of movies,” Cato said. “You can watch a couple of short films, hose off in the sprinklers [at nearby Travers Park] and come right back.”

This year, more than a dozen films from around the world and around the borough are expected to be shown—including cartoons like "Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears" and stop-motion animated shorts like "Andrew: Story of a Closet Monster," described by its 23-year old creator, Elliot Lobell,  as a story about a monster who doesn’t know how to scare kids.

Several of the films, including "Andrew: Story of a Closet Monster," have had a previous run at the Queens World Film Festival and the weekend event serves as another opportunity for young filmmakers to show their movies to a wider audience.

“This is my biggest animation production,” said Lobell, who lives in Brooklyn and works as an animator at a production company in Astoria. “I enjoy it when people watch my film and enjoy it.” 

Other features include “Duality,” a short film by Forest Hills resident Benjamin Tran and a music video “It Will Rain” by the University Neighborhood Middle School Production Club.  

FlicNic’s screenings, however, tend to be rather low-key, organizers said, with a small screen projector hung simply over a chain link fence at the Play Street at dusk.

“We hope to be like Socrates Park,” said FlicNic’s co-director Katha Cato referring to the large public screenings in Astoria. “But we need more sponsors.”

In the meantime, families can gather outside Travers Park this weekend at 8:30 pm and enjoy this year’s showing.

For more details on this year’s FlicNic, go here.