Robert Sarnoff was as surprised as anyone when the Queens International Film Festival — yes, there is one, opening its sixth annual series at a hotel near La Guardia Airport on Thursday — chose him as a featured filmmaker.
Over the past four years he has turned to film to portray the many worlds of the peninsula: the shabby beauty of a faded resort, enclaves of Tudor houses like his own, housing projects and working-class neighborhoods, and a single room occupancy hotel where he set “No Rooms Lobby,” a day in the life of a mysterious man who lives alone in a bare room and survives on odd jobs.
Mr. Sarnoff’s entire film oeuvre is shot in the Rockaways, within a few miles of his home.
“There’s an artistic part of me that sees it as beautiful — even, in some sense, ugliness,” he said. “I don’t think of myself as a scribe, but there must be a compulsion that wants me to capture and reveal some truths, some essences. I’m intrigued by the layers, that underneath there’s always more.”
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