New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

Inside the New Jersey Film Festival

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/22/2016

Inside the New Jersey Film Festival

Albert Nigrin is the creator and founder of the New Jersey Film Festival and has been running it for about 35 years.  Located on the campus of Rutgers University, the film festival’s seasonal approach makes it unique in the area and it’s highly curated film lineup is what keeps film lovers coming back year after year.

All of the films screened at the festival are selected by a panel of judges that includes media professionals, journalists, students, and academics. Sixteen judges were part of the Spring 2016 festival.  Each film was scored on a scale of one to ten with ten being the highest.  Generally films scoring seven or more are selected as finalists.  Scoring is based on originality, creativity, production values, and performances.  All total, the Spring 2016 festival includes 21 films from over 300 submissions by filmmakers around the world.  

Many of the films screened include an introduction and Q&A session with the director or a principle member of the film’s cast.  Over the years, the festival has had some of the biggest names in cinema make appearances.

“One of the most amazing sessions we had was when Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonrmaker-Powell (top photo) came to present Powell/Pressburger’s The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp back on a frigid evening in February of 1994. Over 700 people came to see the show,” recalled Nigrin. “Other great ones included when Todd Solondz (bottom photo left) came to present his very controversial film Happiness back in 1999. Over 1000 people came for that screening at the State Theatre in downtown New Brunswick. D.A. Pennebaker, who is a huge fan of our festival, came three different times to present Monterey Pop, Moon over Broadway, and Don’t Look Back. I also loved when Paul Morrissey, Director of Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls came two different times to present his incredible film. More recently I really enjoyed when Steve Tozzi, Director of Riot on the Dance Floor (bottom photo right) - a documentary about the infamous music venue in Trenton - came to premiere his film last January.”

In addition to being a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist with work that has been screened on all five continents.  He understands the value of filmmakers being able to meet and learn from others in their craft.  In fact, the New Jersey Film Festival is very much designed with the filmmaker in mind.



The article continues after this ad

 


“As a filmmaker who has also submitted to hundreds of film festivals, I know how it feels to be rejected and accepted,” he explained. “To filmmakers that enter our festival I give them the same advice I adhere to: ‘Keep working hard if you get in or if you don’t.’ Our Film Festival caters to the filmmaker. We make sure films are not being screened at the same time as others so all the audience’s attention is on their work. Plus we bend over backwards to get as much press and media attention for all the films that are selected for public viewing. Filmmakers that have seen their film on our big screen and terrific hi-def projection system frequently comment on how great their film looks. Some have even used the term: Wow!”  

Many of the films shown over the years have gone on to be screened in movie theaters, on television, and released on home video.  Some of the recent success stories include Wildlike, which was named Best Feature of the Spring 2015 festival.  The film went on to have a very successful theatrical run in the United States.  Another recent success story was Lies I Told My Little Sister, which went on to be picked up and released nationwide on DVD as a Geena Davis Selection from her 2015 Bentonville Film Festival, championing women and diversity in media.

On February 19-20, it’s time for the 2016 United States Super 8 Film & Digital Video Festival — another unique aspect of the New Jersey Film Festival.  Now in its 28th year, it is the largest and longest-running juried super 8mm film and digital festival in North America.  

“The Super 8 Festival is very dear to me as I began my filmmaking career as a Super 8 filmmaker and wanted to help the small film gauge gain more prominence,” said Nigrin. “Back in 1988, Toni Treadway and Bob Brodsky of the International Center for 8mm encouraged me to create this festival so I did. The first year it was an invitational festival where I reached out to Super 8 filmmakers that I admired to submit films. I curated that first festival but all of the 27 others have been juried just like the New Jersey Film Festival.”

Screenings for the festival take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night in Voorhees Hall #105 (Near the corner of George Street and Hamilton Street) in New Brunswick. All programs begin at 7:00pm. Seating is general admission with at $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $9 for Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC friends.  For more information on the festival visit www.njfilmfest.com.

Inside the New Jersey Film Festival





For more by this author, click here






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.
Rahway Presents Pop-Up Screening of "Best of Rahway Reel Shorts"
(RAHWAY, NJ) -- In 2019, the Rahway Arts and Business Partnership will continue to expand the Culture Crawl Concept to include the Culture Crawl Film Series, with the first pop-up screening, “Best of Rahway Reel Shorts,” scheduled for Saturday, January 19th from 8:00pm-10:30pm at Atelier Rosal (74 E. Cherry St.) in downtown Rahway.
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.


REVIEW: "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Outside of cinephile circles, filmmaker Barry Jenkins is perhaps best known for his role in arguably the greatest debacle in the history of the Academy Awards. On February 26th, 2017, La La Land was mistakenly announced as the Best Picture winner, only for it then to be revealed that Jenkins’ Moonlight was the actual winner.
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 www.njfilmfest.com
REVIEW: "Cold War"
Back in 2006, German cinema scored something of a breakout global hit with Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others, which followed the travails of a group of disgruntled, pro-western artists in communist era East Germany. At the time I couldn’t help view the protagonists of Von Donnersmarck’s drama as the sort of people who would be just as discontented with their lot if they found themselves living in the capitalist west. The grass is always greener on the other side.
REVIEW: "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald"
For better or worse (worse in this writer’s eyes), the success of the Harry Potter franchise is largely responsible for the current Hollywood landscape of endless sequels, prequels and that awful phrase “universe building.” The Potter films showed Hollywood that it was a far safer financial model to hook audiences into returning for instalments of an ongoing series rather than taking a punt on the unknown quantity of original properties.
REVIEW: "Shoplifters"
Earlier this year, writer/director extraordinaire Hirokazu Kore-eda surprised us with The Third Murder, a legal thriller that made for a stark departure from the sentimental family dramas he’s become known for. With his Palme d’Or winning Shoplifters, Kore-eda is back on familiar ground, but this particular family drama shares much in common with The Third Murder. With his thriller, Kore-eda deconstructed the genre, forcing us to question how willingly we place our trust in a storyteller. Similarly, Shoplifters sees Kore-eda lull his audience into a false sense of security, making us develop a warmth and affection towards people who may not warrant such empathy.






Event calendar
Saturday, Jan 19, 2019


MUSIC

ALABAMA @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

Cimorelli @ iPlay America, Freehold - 6:00pm

TRAMPS LIKE US @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

Jennifer Holliday @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

Zhang & Upshaw: Earth & Heaven @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm


THEATRE

ShowKids Invitational Theatre Presents Newsies @ Voorhees High School, Glen Gardner - 7:30pm

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 3:00pm and 8:00pm

Annie Jr. @ The Oakes Center, Summit - 2:00pm and 7:30pm

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







COMEDY

THE CAPITOL STEPS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Woman of a Certain Age Comedy @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 8:00pm


FILM

Best of Rahway Reel Shorts @ Atelier Rosal, Rahway - 8:00pm


KIDS

AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 2:00pm and 5:30pm

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.