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Spotlight On The New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2022

Spotlight On The New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2022

(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 2022, which marks its 40th Anniversary, on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between January 28 – February 20, 2022.  The festival will presented online due to covid.

All the films will be available virtually via Video on Demand for 24 hours on their show date. Ticket buyers will also have special access to Filmmaker Introductions and Q+A Sessions for many of the films.  Tickets: $15=Per Program; Festival All Access Pass=$100.

Spotlight On The New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2022

Friday, January 28 - Experimental Film Program with 6 short films including Battle –  Hüseyin Mert Erverdi (Istanbul, Turkey). In this experimental animation film, Shodo-Budo and abstract expressionism as well as eastern and western sensibilities of calligraphy and painting, are put to a Zen like dynamic visual dialogue to evoke a feeling of an inner battle. Battle also in a sense a salute to Stan Brakhage’s final film Chinese Series, made during his own battle with cancer, by wetting a filmstrip with saliva and using his fingernail to scratch marks into the emulsion. Battle is about the daily struggle of being in the world. It is dedicated to all the silent and not so silent battles we fought. 2021; 3 min. 2021; 3 min. caprice x2 – Claudia Ungersbäck (Wien, Austria) - In this lovely black and white experimental animation, forms and gestures, marks and notes happen while light resounds. 2021; 4 min. mise en abyme – Charly Santagado (Metuchen, New Jersey) - What happens when the muse of our daydreams is displaced by egoism parading as a deep exploration of identity? In mise en abyme, the “artist” is consumed with herself and gradually neglects her muse. As the room around her becomes increasingly ornate, the artist is more and more consumed by her “work”, which is merely a simultaneously idealized and dumbed down projection of herself. All the while, the muse’s frustration at the emptiness of the whole endeavor swells. 2021; 5 min. Pottero – Lindsay Martin (Athens, Ohio) - A humorous and dark animated film based on family folklore and issues surrounding mental health, accessible healthcare and social mobility. 2022; 10 min. Flux - Cléa van der Grijn (Sligo, Ireland) - FLUX is about creating a space between now and then. Exploring the dynamism of emptiness in a realm where time and space are altered. Past, present and future are considered in the gaps in-between, blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction. Expressing emotions, ideas and concepts through literal and abstract imagery, through the creative use of editing and sound design incorporating Irish Sean Nós song. Characters emphasize the fragile and emotional states of mankind, with prominence on dreamscapes and mindscapes. An oneiric land cinematically beautiful and psychologically disturbing. A world that explores significant topics such as death, loss, love, isolation and mental-fragility. 2021; 17 min. Home in the Air - Elena Vilallonga (Barcelona, Spain) - Home in the Air is a reflection both on our idea of home and caretaking, and on our passage through this patch of sky. Built like a nest, with the bare essentials, the film has a poetic dimension with its focus on the bird’s and children’s watchful observation and on a listening ear for their songs and flutterings. Home in the Air is not about aesthetics or anything premeditated, it’s a natural prayer of the soul, an ode to animal and human behavior. The sharp eye of a bird and the children’s voices off-camera give shape to this film which places itself somewhere between the Earthly and the Divine. In Spanish, subtitled. 21 min.

Saturday, January 29 - Ruth Stone's Vast Library of the Female Mind – Nora Jacobson (Norwich, Vermont). Ruth Stone was a promising young poet, living an idyllic life with her beloved husband, a poet and professor. When he died unexpectedly by suicide, Ruth was flung out into the world, destitute with three daughters to support. Though not well known outside of the poetry world, Ruth won accolades and awards, such the National Book Award for Poetry, the Wallace Stevens Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Delmore Schwartz Award, and she was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, among many others. Beloved by many, Ruth’s house in Goshen, Vermont became a mecca for students, poets, friends and family members. There she inspired people to make art and write, not only through activities such as the “poetry game”, but by providing solace and nurture, surrounded by nature and camaraderie. After Ruth died, her granddaughter Bianca Stone and husband Ben Pease, began renovating Ruth’s house and turning it into a writer’s retreat. Their goal is to create an enduring legacy that will keep Ruth’s name alive and nurture a new generation of poets. 2021; 77 min.

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Spotlight On The New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2022

Sunday, January 30 - Short Film Program with 7 films including Slow Moving Houses – Mischa Jakupcak (Seattle, Washington) - While a man is in the midst of an existential crisis, a mysterious young girl appears and leads him into a future he can’t imagine for himself, forever altering the course of his life. 2021; 8 min. Galileo – Ryan Gentle and Austin Quarles (Hixson, Tennessee) - Alexander, a space-loving day dreamer hopes to pass that love on to his son Galileo. As he grows up, Galileo realizes he needs to break away from his father's hope to find his own path, but his path is closer to his father's dreams than he ever thought. 2021; 13 min. Counting Down – Oya Babaoglu (Atlanta, Georgia) -  A young psychiatrist in 1875 is promoted to be the head doctor of the city asylum, but she has a secret, she suffers from arithmomania - a form of OCD where sufferers have a strong urge to count. She is committed to cure herself all on her own, but she only has one week. Can she succeed? 2021; 15 min. It’s Not Safe For You In This Zoo – John Garet Stoker (Los Angeles, California) - An aimless Angeleno decides to write a pop song, sending his relationship into the deep end. 2021; 17 min. The Call of the Water - Kaya Tone (New York, New York) - Flung into the astral-plane, Nadia must face ancient forces in order to realize her responsibility to her homeland. 2021; 19 min. Waiting for Deading – Paul Sestakov (Austin, Texas) - Two apprentice Grim Reapers are sent on their first assignment, but everything turns from bad to even f-ing worse when this bickering duo stray from the protocol. 2021; 28 min. Dilemma – Luis Alberto Suarez (Madrid, Spain) - In a rural setting, a young nun, disenchanted with her faith, wishes to hang up her habit. In Spanish, subtitled. 2021; 6 min.

Friday, February 4th - Twotwo by Jun Hoskulds (Los Angeles, California) - David had the dream life. Good education, suit and tie job in the corporate world, an apartment with a view Downtown LA. His life collapses when he loses this job, can’t find any other work, and can’t pay his rent. Depressed and hung over after a night of pills and drinking, David wakes up in a dirty back alley. A homeless man starts talking with him. David doesn't care to listen, but the old man seems to know a lot about life, and strangely, about him. He makes David an offer: to “give it all up, in order to find it all over again”, in a very similar, but much better, parallel universe. In this new world he meets the mysterious and beautiful Twotwo, a woman with a number for name, who likes artists and has unique powers she uses to help them. She has no memory of her past, no belongings and no home, but many places she can stay. Somehow even if it seems like they have nothing in common, she likes to spend time with David, teaching him things, and ultimately revealing his own truth to him. As she tries to enlighten David, his faith is tested. Is he ready? It’s a double trip, one for David as he gets to know Twotwo and learn from her, and the other for us, seeing more into this other world that David can’t see. Twotwo is a fantasy film, a metaphor about life, purpose, connecting, spirituality, love, creativity, parallel universes, and the unseen presence of a power always watching. 2021; 98 min.

Spotlight On The New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2022

Saturday, February 5th - When Claude Got Shot by Brad Lichtenstein (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) - When Claude Got Shot follows five years in the life of Claude Motley as he tries to recover mentally and physically from being shot in the face by 15 year old carjacker, Nathan King. The day after shooting Claude, Nathan was shot and paralyzed by Victoria Davison who used a conceal and carry gun to stop his attempt to rob her. With Claude's journey at the center, three strikingly unique experiences of gun violence, justice and healing unfold. A striver seeking to get back on track to a legal career, Claude persists through multiple surgeries, catastrophic health care bills and trauma that affects him and his family. All the while he and his wife remain engaged in the criminal justice process determining his shooter's fate. Torn between punishment and the injustice of mass incarceration of young black men, Claude reflects on his own life and its similarity to Nathan's. Ultimately, Claude discovers that the path to healing leads back to the boy who shot him. 2021; 97 min.

Sunday, February 6th - Letters2Maybe by Yehuda Sharim (Merced, California) - Letters2Maybe offers an intimate portrayal of those who refuse to surrender amidst daily devastation and culminating strife, offering a vision for equality and a renewed sense of solidarity in a divisive country. Letters2Maybe offers a fluid and eclectic tapestry of physical and emotional movement of different immigrant communities as they encounter impossible challenges in a country of compounded catastrophes. By embracing a kaleidoscopic style of storytelling to highlight the poetics and precarity that follow the craving for freedom, Letters2Maybe is an unfinished letter, articulating the ever-growing yet unflinching demand for justice and tenderness in our world today. 2021; 92 min.

Friday, February 11 - Short Program #2 with 6 films including ¡Llámame Chinita! – Stacy Chu (Los Angeles, California) - Lulu, a 30-year old woman from China, travels alone to Mexico in the middle of the Pandemic. Despite her distance from home, her daily life and pressures seem to follow. In Chinese and Spanish, subtitled. 2021; 22 min. Threads of Desire – Bianca Di Marco (New York, New York) - Threads of Desire tells the story of Bettina, a lonely and overlooked farmer who steals an elegant dress from a small Italian town. Riddled with guilt, Bettina must choose between following her conscience or her fantasies of owning a beautiful gown. In Italian, subtitled. 2021; 9 min. Covid Crusader: The Carla Brown Story – Randy Slavin (Port Washington, New York) - Motivated by the death of her husband due to COVID-19, Carla Brown is on a mission to vaccinate the African American population of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 2021; 3 min. Joey Skaggs: Fish Condos – Judy Drosd and Joey Skaggs (New York, New York) - This short documentary is the fifth in the ongoing and growing series, Joey Skaggs: Satire and Art Activism, 1960s to the Present and Beyond. In 1983, Joey Skaggs invented condominiums for upwardly mobile guppies and forever changed the status quo of fish tanks. Decades later, his Fish Condos are still thriving. In this film, Joey shares the origin story and traces the saga of his satirical aquatic sculptures. 2021; 19 min. Memory Builds The Monument – Isaac Yowman (Houston, Texas) - Compelled by the vivid memories of the legendary Club Matinee by aging citizens, this film leaps into the music, the art, and the community of Houston's historic 5th Ward. The doc highlights the impossible to ignore cultural and social challenges of African-Americans in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s living in the South. The through-line of this story showcases how the music of these eras played a part in defining generations and bringing people of all ethnicities and backgrounds together and how memories, at the verge of being lost can be shared to propel the future. 2021; 15 min. Just Like Water - Manos Triantafillakis (Athens, Greece) - This lovely short is about the father of the director, Spyros, his life and experiences. 13 min.

Spotlight On The New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2022

Saturday, February 12 - The Outwaters by Robbie Banfitch (Los Angeles, California) - The Outwaters is a naturalistic, slow-burn story about a group of travelers who encounter menacing phenomena while camping in a remote stretch of the Mojave Desert. 2022; 104 min.


Friday, February 18 - The History of Metal and Horror by Mike Schiff (Bronx, New York) A documentary that explores the history of heavy metal and horror, and how the two genres merged over time. Hosted by Michael Berryman, and featuring Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Kirk Hammett, John Carpenter, Tom Savini, Dave Mustaine, Jonathan Davis, Corey Taylor, and many more. 2021; 101 min.

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Friday, February 18 - Not Today by Aditya Kripalani (Singapore, Singapore) - In this tense and gripping feature film, a 24-year-old from a traditional Muslim family in Mumbai goes to work secretly as a suicide prevention counsellor. On her first day, she encounters a 52-year-old man, standing atop a high-rise, wanting to jump. In trying to bring him down, she is forced to confront why she became a Suicide Prevention Counsellor in the first place, and also share a lot of herself to get him to share and open up. In English and Hindi, subtitled. 2021; 93 min.

Saturday, February 19 - 2022 United States Super 8mm Film & Digital Video Festival Day 1 - Program 1 with 11 short films including III. – Tim Dübbert (Mönchengladbach, Germany) - A long time ago a sailor received a letter with 9 rules. They guide him on his long journey back to his beloved. Entirely shot and animated on Super 8 film. 2021; 13 min. When I die - Alan Griswold (Los Angeles, California) - Over the course of the pandemic and amidst the lockdowns, while digging through massive amounts of paperwork, media, and other detritus that had built up over the past few decades, several reels of black-and-white super 8 film were uncovered. Shot in St. Louis, MO, back in 1995 and lost in a move to Los Angeles two years later, they were the bones of a short film that never made it past an initial assembly cobbled together with a slap-dab film transfer that was nothing more than the reels projected on a wall and shot with a VHS camcorder. The pandemic – a forced time of reflection – was the perfect time to finally finish what was started. When I Die was always envisioned as a non-narrative eulogy of sorts set to The Magnetic Fields’ song “The Dreaming Moon.” As luck would have it, The Magnetic Fields very kindly allowed the song to be licensed, finally bringing this 26 year old project to a close. 2021; 9 min. Foreign Ages - Sally Walker-Hudecki (Toronto, Canada) - Epistolary experiment in presenting fractured consciousness as a complex partial seizure (in which one stays awake but in an altered state) blurs life spontaneously. In dystopian, claustrophobic Toronto, “foreign ages” is a young woman’s quick clip at a life interrupted. super 8mm and digital action and music, synced through collages, capture the experience of recognizing oneself despite potent fear in active neurological events. This type of seizure can cause extreme déjà vu as well as jamais vu: inability to recognize what is familiar to you. The film depicts experiences of a seizure from the inside rather than the outside. 2021; 7 min. Deconstructed Origins - Paul Vinsonhaler (Memphis, Tennessee) - Music Video shot on expired 8mm film from the 70s. 2021; 5 min. Parenthesis, a short impressionistic poem, liberates the inserted thought from its master. The film's mirrored beginning and ending render the inserted material, not as an explanation or afterthought but rather as the dominant point where the natural and civilized worlds claim their separate space before colliding, as the continual breathing of the sea becomes increasingly intense and urgent. Whatever may be going on in the outside world is kept at bay by the visual parentheses. Noösphere – Miles Sprietsma (Portland, Oregon) - A playful take on an outdated anthropocentric philosophy, Noösphere juxtaposes the beauty of a supplanted landscape against the inescapable detritus of a self-absorbed species. 2021; 5 min. The guy on the bed – Mike Hoolboom (Toronto, Canada) - News from another pandemic, the one that ‘changed everything’ before it fell out of the news cycle and collective memory, except for the newly infected, or those who, like myself, managed a new life after death. Based on a text by David Wojnarowicz. 2021; 4 min. My Parents Wanted Me To... – Cheryl Hess (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) - In this micro documentary cabaret performer Dito van Reigersberg aka Martha Graham Cracker talks about his relationship with his parents and their reaction to his drag persona. 2021; 3 min. Film for Storm de Hirsch - Gwendolyn Audrey Foster (Lincoln, Nebraska) - Rephotographed psychedelic painted and scratched images, collaged and abstracted. An homage to underground experimental poet and filmmaker, Storm de Hirsch; one of the great unsung women in avant-garde film. Film for Storm de Hirsch [aka "Women's Time"] is a handmade film and a tribute to legendary filmmaker Storm de Hirsch, one of the pioneers of underground experimental cinema in the 1960s. Film for Storm de Hirsch includes images of clothespins and film leader, slowed down to suggest the idea of women's waiting, women's time, women's spaces; women artists and filmmakers 'waiting' to be rediscovered. Their work lives on and inspires so many young experimental filmmakers and female video artists who search for the path of the many avant-garde women who paved the way in experimental film, video and art. 2021; 3 min. Nostalgia’s Window – Charlotte Griffin (Irvine, California) - Body partakes in the stippled play of light and dark. Through the window of nostalgia, the dancer marks her memory of forgetting. Produced by director/choreographer/editor Charlotte Griffin with cinematographer Grant Speich, dancer/assistant editor Waeli Wang, and composer Milica Paranosic, this meditative imagery is also in development as a multi-screen installation and mixed media live performance. 2021; 16 min. Swimming in the Clouds: Dreams & Videos from Covid Time - Collection One - Dorothea Braemer/Termite TV (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) - Filmmakers share their COVID dreams which range from funny and deeply personal to political and traumatic. With work by Anula Shetty, Roxana Walker-Canton, Mike Mulcahy, Meryl Perlson, Kyla Kegler, Alan Powell, and Jim Ospenson. 2021; 24 min.

Saturday, February 19 - 2022 United States Super 8mm Film & Digital Video Festival Day 1 - Program 2: Hallucinations by M. Wild (New York, New York) - In this trippy sci fi feature, aliens descend in crystal spaceships to make contact with people through guitar amp distortion and glowing animal skulls. 2021; 97 min.

Sunday, February 20 - 2022 United States Super 8mm Film & Digital Video Festival Day 2 with 3 films. Getting That Note Out – Francesca Soans (Waterloo, Iowa) - An aging blues guitarist re-connects with her music, revealing the power and resilience of the creative spirit. Past collides with present in this intimate slow cinema documentary about blues guitarist Etheleen Wright as she re-connects with band members to perform at a local music festival. As she visits abandoned buildings and plucks remembered strings, Etheleen’s memories reveal a story of struggle, loss, and resilience. Getting That Note Out is a story about the power of creativity in all of us. 2021; 57 min. Deerwoods Deathtrap – James Gannon (Brooklyn, New York) While on a trip to Cape May New Jersey in 1971, Jack and Betty survived an accident that not many other humans have...they were hit by a train. Not only did they survive, but their 4-year-old son, infant daughter, and elderly Mother survived the crash as well. 50 years later, they return to the scene of the accident to recount their conflicting memories. 2021; 9 min. Polavision, An Instant Failure – Álex López (Ferrol, Spain) - The instant-processing Super-8 Polavision was one of the most important technological achievements of the 20th century. This documentary describes the process, with interviews with those responsible for its development, with sequences shot on this additive colour cinema system for the first time in the 21st century. In Spanish, subtitled. 2021; 20 min.

All the works being screened are part of the New Jersey Film Festival and United States Super 8 Film and DV Festival Competitions and were selected by a panel of judges including media professionals, journalists, students, and academics. These judges selected the 40 finalists which will be publicly screened at our Festival. The finalists were selected from over 633 works submitted by filmmakers from around the world. In addition, the judges will choose the Prize Winners in conjunction with the Festival Director. Prize winners will be announced after the screenings on February 20, 2022.

40  films will have their New Jersey or Area Premiere (Middlesex County) screenings as part of the New Jersey Film Festival and the United States Super 8 Film and Video Festival. Some of these include: Nora Jacobson’s enlightening documentary Ruth Stone's Vast Library of the Female Mind; New Brunswick native Robbie Banfitch’s psychological horror film The Outwaters;  central Jersey native Stacy Chu’s beautiful short film ¡Llámame Chinita!;  Metuchen, New Jersey resident Charly Santagado’s terrific animation mise en abyme;  Lindsay Martin’s humorous and dark animated film Pottero; Cléa van der Grijn beautiful experimental film from Ireland entitled Flux; Elena Vilallonga’s Home in the Air -- a poetic film from Barcelona, Spain; Oya Babaoglu’s Counting Down which is about a young psychiatrist who suffers from arithmomania; Paul Sestakov’s Waiting for Deading -- a short about two apprentice Grim Reapers who are sent on their first assignment; Jun Hoskulds’s gorgeous fantasy feature Twotwo which focuses on David and his mysterious muse; New Jersey Film Festival alumnus Peter Luisi (who won Best Feature for his film The Sandman back in 2011) is back with his new feature film entitled Princess; Brad Lichtenstein’s impressive documentary feature When Claude Got Shot;  Yehuda Sharim’s documentary Letters2Maybe offers a fluid and eclectic tapestry of physical and emotional movement of different immigrant communities; Isaac Yowman’s Memory Builds The Monument which focuses on Houston’s legendary Club Matinee; Manos Triantafillakis’s touching short from Greece Just Like Water; Bianca Di Marco’s lovely short Threads of Desire which was shot in Italy; Mike Schif’s eye-opening documentary The History of Heavy Metal and Horror; Aditya Kripalani’s Not Today – about a 24-year-old from a traditional Muslim family in Mumbai who goes to work secretly as a suicide prevention counsellor and many others. 

Also, during the Spring 2022 season, the Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC will present the 34th anniversary of the United States Super 8 Film & Digital Video Festival -- the longest running, nationally recognized, juried 8mm Film/Video Festival in North and South America.  Each of the two days (February 19+20) will feature three different program of films from throughout the USA, Canada, and the world. Filmmakers are competing for many Best of Prizes. Prize winners are announced on the last night of the Festival. The Super 8 Festival is open to works predominantly shot on either Super 8/8mm film, Hi8/8mm video and/or Digital Video. This program is being co-sponsored by Pro 8mm. A complete festival line-up will be listed here: 

Special Guest Appearances by Directors, Artists, and Actors: This fall, the festival will have many virtual appearances by film directors, producers, and actors to the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2022!  Some of these include Nora Jacobson who will be presenting her documentary Ruth Stone's Vast Library of the Female Mind, New Brunswick native Robbie Banfitch who will be presenting his feature film The Outwaters central Jersey native, Stacy Chu who will be presenting her film ¡Llámame Chinita!,  Charly Santagado presenting her animation mise en abyme,  and many others.

Sponsors: The New Jersey Film Festival is funded and/or sponsored in part by The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center; The Rutgers University Program in Cinema Studies/School of Arts and Sciences; Middlesex County, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts - Funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund; The Rutgers University Office of Summer and Winter Sessions; OVID/Icarus Films,  The Rutgers University American Studies Department; Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program;  Johnson & Johnson; WRSU; New Jersey StageThe Home News TribuneThe Asbury Park Press; New Brunswick City Center; The Rutgers University Office of Community Affairs; Design Ideas; Advanced Printing; Steven C. Schechter, Esq.; Share and Harris.

originally published: 11/26/2021

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