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New Jersey Film Festival: Spring 2019
First 2 Weeks Preview

originally published: 12/22/2018

New Jersey Film Festival: Spring 2019 - First 2 Weeks Preview

The New Jersey Film Festival - Spring 2019 takes place between January 25 and March 1, 2019 on the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries, the festival features over 35 film screenings.

Here is a preview of the first two weeks of the festival.  For the full schedule visit

Friday, January 25 at 7:00pm  Voorhees Hall #105

Geometry – Simo Liu (Los Angeles, CA) - A short animation inspired by the work of experimental filmmakers Oskar Fischinger and John Whitney. 2018; 2 min.

Diary of Rooftop Water Towers – Nobuyuki Asai (New York, NY) - A poetic homage to New York City’s water towers as they evolve through the seasons, their mutability comparable to that of human lives. Over 200 shots of rooftop water towers are separated by brief intervals of black leader, which evoke a city symphony that changes throughout the day and through the seasons. 2018; 103 min Q+A Session by Director Nobuyuki Asai and Producer Keiko Shinonaga. Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University Cinema Studies Program.

New Jersey Film Festival: Spring 2019 - First 2 Weeks Preview

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Saturday, January 26 at 7:00pm  Voorhees Hall #105

Rule Of Thumb – Bill Rosenthal (Newton, MA) - When a woman has trouble maintaining her romantic relationships, her partners pay the price. 2018; 10 min.  Q+A Session with Director Bill Rosenthal.

Ashes – Anthony La Pira (Norwood, NJ) - A psychological horror film about a drug-addicted man, who reluctantly receives ashes on Ash Wednesday to please his family, and is sent into a downward spiral of hallucinatory, religious-themed body horror. 2018; 17 min.   Q+A Session with Director Anthony La Pira.

Teenage Bloodsuckin’ Bimbos – Anthony Catanese (Trenton, NJ) - Struggling with her alcoholic mother and a love-struck neighbor, while taking care of her baby brother, high school student Jessica longs to be part of the in-crowd and escape the confines of her trailer park life. When she’s accepted by a trio of fun-loving ladies of the night she finds herself thrust into a subterranean world of blood suckin’ pros.  Will her choices come back to bite her, or will a legendary, mysterious Russian vampire hunter, Boris Von Yelsing, catch up with her and her bloodsucking besties first? 2018;  105 min. Q+A Session with Director Anthony Catanese and Producer Sara Casey.

Sunday, January 27 at 7:00pm Voorhees Hall #105

The Bug – Dean Cameron (Burbank, CA) - In this funny short film, Dave’s life changes completely when he is befriended by a singing and dancing bug. 2018; 7 min.

Everything’s Fine: A Panic Attack in D Major – Zack Morrison (East Brunswick, NJ) - A musical comedy about a woman at the onset of her quarter-life crisis and her existential journey through the various stages of anxiety in song and dance. 2018; 15 min. Q+A Session with Director Zack Morrison.

How They Got Over – Robert Clem (Stone Ridge, NY) - A stirring documentary about African-American gospel quartets like the Soul Stirrers, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Blind Boys who developed a hugely influential musical spirit and style.  Featuring interviews with legendary singers, the film documents how quartets choreographed their gestures -- shouting, bending over backwards, dancing, jumping off the stage – to move their audiences. Pioneers of rock and roll, they created the unforgettable music that animates this film. 2018; 87 min. Q+A Session with Director Robert Clem. Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University American Studies Department.

Friday, February 1 at 7:00pm Voorhees Hall #105

New Jersey Film Festival: Spring 2019 - First 2 Weeks PreviewHarls – Kenzie Sutton (Millburn, NJ) - A guy named Harls keeps getting reincarnated in this wonderful animated film. 2018; 2 min

Mimi Vang Olsen:  Pet Portraitist– Anthony Maranville (Los Angeles, CA) Pets are not just members of the family—they deserve their own portraits!  Creating such portraits is the life’s work of Mimi Vang Olsen, a painter with her own store front in New York’s West Village who immortalizes the lives of her clients and their pets.  This loving profile of the artist is a thoughtful meditation on the importance of pets and art. 2018; 33 min.

Leaving an Impression: A Portrait of Edward Dufner – David Koh and Emma Quong (Millburn, NJ)  100 years ago, the American Impressionist Edward Dufner created two large paintings depicting night and day. He generously gifted these paintings in 1957 to Millburn Township, New Jersey.  This documentary follows the restoration process that brought these two beautiful paintings back to life.  Celebrating the work of the art restorers, and the volunteers who helped along the way, the filmmakers track the techniques that reversed the damage brought on a by century of neglect, with clarity, passion and humor. 2018; 43 min. Q+A Session with Co-Director David Koh and Producer Laraine Brennan Barach! Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University American Studies Department and the Zimmerli Art Museum.

Saturday, February 2 at 5:00pm Voorhees Hall #105

Queenie and the All or Nothing Thin King – Benni Quintero (Valencia, CA) A mixed-media animation film that tells the story of the internal and unhealthy thought processes of a little felted blobby person named Queenie. 2018; 4 min. 

Here We Are –David Bellarosa  (Austin, TX) - A romantic comedy about two human lab rats who fall in love over meds. Andy, a talented young writer stuck in Austin with a growing debt and a broken down rv hears of a way to make some fast money at a pharmaceutical testing facility.  Checking himself in, he starts taking some really weird experimental drugs,but also finds Misty, a vibrant and mysterious young woman with whom he may actually have a true connection. 2018; 108 min. Q+A Session with Director David Bellarosa


For the complete schedule of films visit

Black Maria Film Festival To Kick Off 38th Annual Tour On February 9
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Black Maria Film Festival will kick off its 38th annual tour with a screening of five award-winning films on Saturday, February 9 at the James Stewart Film Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The screening will begin at 7:30pm, preceded by a pre-screening reception at 7:00pm. Some of the filmmakers and Festival Director Jane Steuerwald will be at the screening to discuss the films being shown. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
UCPAC Presents Three Classic 80s Films on 35mm Film
 (RAHWAY, NJ) -- A series of three classic films is being presented on 35mm film at Union County Performing Arts Center’s Main Stage theater. All viewings cost a $5 admission ticket that includes a 30 minute pre-show on the theater’s historic "Biggest Little Wurlitzer" organ and free popcorn along with the film screening. The films include The Breakfast Club (January 25), Pretty Woman (February 15), and The Karate Kid (March 8).
Hopewell Theater Hosts Special Valentine's Screening of "Casablanca" With Supper
(HOPEWELL, NJ) -- Hopewell Theater will host a special “date night” celebration of Valentine’s Day with a screening of the classic romance film Casablanca paired with an optional Moroccan supper on Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14. An undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood's quintessential statement on love and romance, Casablanca has only improved with age, boasting career-defining performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
A Look At New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies, presents the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019 which marks the festival's 37th Anniversary.  The Festival will take place between January 25 and March 1, 2019. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries, the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019 will feature over 35 film screenings. 
NJPAC Presents Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert With The NJSO
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The Harry Potter Film Concert Series returns to New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert, on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm. See the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra perform the magical score live while the entire film plays in high-definition on a 40-foot screen.

Here We Are: An Interview With David Bellarosa
David Bellarosa is a filmmaker from New Jersey currently living in Austin, Texas.  His first feature film, Here We Are, is a terrific coming of age story about a writer that finds himself seemingly trapped, broke, and stuck in Austin. Unlike typical slacker films, this is one of hope.
REVIEW: "The Wild Pear Tree"
Writer/director Nuri Bilge Ceylan follows up his 2014 Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep with another lengthy drama set in rural Turkey. And as with his previous film, The Wild Pear Tree gives us a protagonist who considers himself the intellectual and moral superior of the residents of a town he wishes to “drop an atom bomb on.”
Mimi Vang Olsen: Pet Portraitist
Within two minutes, I knew I wanted to write about Mimi Vang Olsen: Pet Portraitist.  It’s a wonderful film - just over a half hour long - that chronicles the last West Village painter with her own storefront as she enters the lives of several eccentric clients and immortalizes their pets.  
How They Got Over: An Interview With Robert Clem
Robert Clem’s How They Got Over: Gospel Quartets and the Road to Rock and Roll shows how black quartets began traveling in the 1920s as radio and records became popular.   Young black men with few ways to escape poverty saw music as a way out, traveling the “chittlin’ circuit” of churches, schools and small auditoriums across the South.   Beginning with spirituals sung in an acapella “jubilee’ style, playing to all-black audiences, these groups developed over time a harder, often blues-influenced style with guitars, drums, organ and piano, playing at concert halls like the Apollo Theatre and large auditoriums across the country.   
REVIEW: "Glass"
When M. Night Shyamalan followed up his breakout 1999 hit The Sixth Sense with 2000’s Unbreakable, audiences were largely unsure what to make of this slow-burning movie about finding strength in survival. Arriving just before 9/11 and the rise of the superhero movie, Unbreakable was a film ahead of its time, predicting as it did with its villain - Samuel L. Jackson’s embittered, wheelchair bound Mister Glass - the threat that would rise in the early 21st century from entitled men obsessed with books (be they comics or religious texts) and striking out at a world they believe has left them behind.

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Newark Black Film Festival

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​​​​​​​Richard Wesley is a playwright, screenwriter, and professor of Dramatic Writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and has been involved with the Newark Black Film Festival for well over three decades. A Newark native, he’s currently the Chairperson of the festival’s Selection Committee. The NBFF is currently in full swing, with a screening of Cadillac Records tomorrow, and the biennial Paul Robeson Awards for young filmmakers taking place on Wednesday, August 8. This season’s program also features the films Selma, I Called Him Morgan, The Art of the Journey, Coco, and Hidden Figures. We recently spoke with Wesley about the history and mission of the Newark Black Film Festival, the role it plays in the lives of young filmmakers, and a chance encounter with Sidney Poitier that launched him into the film industry.

Winners of the 2018 New Jersey International Film Festival Competition Announced!

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Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 24, 2019

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

American Theater Group: Tell Them I’m Still Young @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 7:30pm

Some Girl(s) @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm


Josh Gates Live! @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

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