Katha Cato, Executive Director – Queens World Film Festival

Katha Kooky at the Step and RepeatKATHA CATO is the Executive Director of the Queens World Film Festival which turns 5 this year as it opens at the Museum of the Image on March 17 and runs for 5 days  with world class independent cinema.  Katha earned a BA from California Polytechnic University in Pomona, an MFA from the University of Oregon and is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business Executive Education Program. In the 80’s, she moved to New York with her theatre company ‘For Play Improvised Theatre’ and pioneered the Improvisational Herald format (the long form) into the NY Improv Comedy scene. Katha won a MAC Award (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) for Best Comedy, and two Backstage Magazine Bistro Awards for Best Director and Best Comedy and the NY Post’s Bill Ervolino named her the year’s Most Exciting Improviser. For many years Katha also served as the Director of After-School and Camp Services at the historic Henry Street Settlement and was honored by the NY State Education Department as an After-School Champion in 2008 and was selected by the Partnership for After-School Education – PASE – as a 2105 PASESetter.

Her Links:




Turning five in 2015, QWFF includes an annual multi day/multi venue festival, youth-oriented educational initiatives and year round screening opportunities for QWFF filmmakers, past and present. The festival screens challenging films representative of quality independent cinema from around the world and around the corner. We are especially interested in maverick filmmakers of any sex, orientation, ethnicity, country, region with a point of view and we don’t want you to back off. Take a stand and show us something we have never seen before. 

Filmmakers can enter any festival in the world, so when an artist choose to submit their work to us, we don’t take it lightly. We make sure that the selected filmmakers have time with their audiences and we build community around the films. A great deal of this festival is about bringing people together. That is why each block is curated and hosted by a QWFF Festival Associate and if a filmmaker is present, there is a Q & A to encourage dialogue.

~~~~~ Swimming for Shore by Katha Cato ~~~~~

As I walked out of the hospital, it was pretty cold and full-on daytime.
Earlier, when Don and I had arrived it was still dark, stormy.

…so I didn’t expect the sun to be so….beautiful…

Don had gone ahead to pick up our ritual no–eating-after-midnight-but-now-that-the-scans-are-done-you-deserve-a-little-something from a corner spot that we love.

I waited for the light and thought about the discussions I had just had.

Miss Kata? Caddo?

Have you been exposed to anyone who has traveled in a country affected by Ebola?

Have you ever worked around a lathe?

Do you have any metal in your body?

Have you ever been depressed?

Mrs. Cotto, Your veins aren’t very good in this arm, let me see what I can pop over here on your hand.

We are going to put this weight on you and strap your arms underneath.

Just try to relax…. RELAX  MIZ  COUTTA!!!

Breave…hold your breffff…..and breave……

You did great Mrs. Keddo

Go to the 12th floor, your Dr. will meet with you.

Missus Kadho???  Katho?? Caato???

I don’t know why the cuff won’t work.

The scans look good.
Am I a Success story?

Just look in the mirror.

Ms. Cattho? Kaitoh? Kaita? Kaythay?

Your veins look good in this hand, let’s do this hand

Your blood is not where we want it YET YET YET YET, but….

You look great – so we will keep an eye on things, but you don’t need to run back here next week, we can see you in 2 months. Enjoy the Festival.

I can come back in 2 months…..
62 conversations about something else.
62 walks to somewhere new.
62 days planned around not cancer.
62 nights that end at dawn.
62 mornings that start at noon.
62 naps?

A young man characterized learning his diagnosis as marking the moment he left shore and found himself in the middle of the darkest ocean. He described fighting cancer like swimming for shore in that darkness. He made it back, but to a different shore than the one he left. The one he left doesn’t exist anymore, because he was changed so much by his swim.

19 months, 4 cancers, 4 surgeries, chemo and radiation have changed me for sure.

But I will never stop swimming for shore.

Katha is so grateful to the incredible Carol Bugge and Angela J. Shirley for this opportunity.


6 thoughts on “Katha Cato, Executive Director – Queens World Film Festival

  1. It’s our pleasure to have you, Katha – btw, I don’t know if you’ve promoted this on your FB pages, twitter, etc., but it would be a good idea, I think; you’d get more hits and comments.


  2. the opportunity to share the story helps so much. believe me. To mix my metaphors, swimming for shore is a breeze when I have the wind at my back! You have supplied me some very healing gusts!!! love love love


  3. Thanks so much for joining us, Katha – your journey is indeed epic, and I love the swimming metaphor. There is something so essential and important about keeping things in perspective by realizing what people like you are battling. It is humbling for the rest of us, a reminder to cleave to what my dear yoga instructors call Beginner Mind. Keep swimming, my friend!


Please leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s