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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Astoria LIC Film Festival 10-24-2010-Screening of "Zaritsas:Russian Women of New York"

I attended the first annual Astoria LIC Film Festival on its third and final day, Sunday, October 24, 2010 at the Secret Theater in Long Island City. Armed with a day pass for the occasion, I caught a slew of short and feature films screened between 10 AM and 6 PM, including "Zaritsas: Russian Women of New York", directed by Elena Beloff and co-produced by Vincent D'Onofrio and Erika Hampton. Ms. Beloff was gracious enough to speak with me for a few minutes after the 2 PM screening of her insightful documentary about Russian immigrant women living in New York City and the challenges they face in assimilating into American society and the common stereotypes of Russian women as either being very unattractive and manly (a clip of the famous Apple computer commercial from 1984 was shown)  or sexy gold diggers or even spies (calling Anna Chapman!).  Ms. Beloff asked me how I had heard of her film and I mentioned that I had read about her film and the festival on the Vinnie Vidi Vici site by Nantz and she replied, " Yes, Nantz." We posed for a few photos before she left the theater. My friend Eddie had attended the 2 PM screening with me but had to head back to Staten Island, but he also got to meet Ms. Beloff before he departed.

I also saw a short film "Last Rain", a Spanish film about a man who time travels into the past to meet his future wife and to warn her about a terrible event that she must prevent, or they will never meet. The plot was so reminiscent of "Happy Accidents" and the film was well done and very romantic. I love happy endings! I also picked up a cool t-shirt and met the film festival founder, Dennis Cieri. One complaint, though. The theater was freakin' cold inside and no heat was provided the entire day. I foolishly left my winter coat at home and only wore a light jacket, so I was freezing all day, so I didn't attend the fan awards ceremony, as I had planned to earlier. I voted on all the films I had seen during the day before I left. Although "Zaritsas" did not win as Best Documentary, I thought it should have. Ms. Beloff will make her next film about the art of hypnotism, of which she is a trained practitioner.

Zaritsas is a Russian word meaning "female czar." Cool.

Here are a few pics from the festival:


  1. What a great account! You are making the rounds of festivals and appearances, aren't you? Hope you have a great time at the "Meet The Director" event.

  2. Thanks, Nantz! I love New York, especially when Vincent is here. Looking forward to next Monday night's screening and "Meet the Director" event. I just hope I don't run into that crasher from the Joe's Pub meet and greet last summer. I saw her last Friday night and she asked if I would be at the Monday night screening. She's the one that Vincent's handler didn't want near Vincent after the Q&A last Friday night/Saturday morning. Had I known that earlier, I would not have been seen with her at all. Lesson learned.