(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Over 20 films will have their New Jersey or Area Premiere (Middlesex County) screenings as part of the 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival, which takes place on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between June 3-12. The 27th annual festival will be a hybrid - presented online as well as with select in person screenings at Rutgers University. All the films will be available virtually via Video on Demand for 24 hours on their show date. Each ticket or Festival Pass purchased is good for both the virtual and the in person screenings.
The in person screenings will be held in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ beginning at either 5:00pm or 7:00pm on their show date. There will also be special Filmmaker Introductions and Q+A Sessions available for many of the films. Tickets are $15 per program. A Festival All Access Pass is available for $100.
The Afterthought of Life – Svenja Wichmann (Cologne, Germany) -This experimental documentary shows calm and precisely framed shots of Sunset Boulevard, while various voices of people living in Los Angeles can be heard talking about aspects and experiences of their lives. Their narratives are interrupted now and then by poetic reflections on absence and presence, accompanied by linear slow-motion shots along Sunset Boulevard. Other times they are contrasted by music and subjective close-ups of the sidewalk. The Film addresses various social realities, experiences and power structures and uses the example of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles to explore the contrast between glamorous expectation, everyday experience and the various conditions and images that shape our reality. 2022; 54 min.
The Art of Un-War – Maria Niro (New York, New York) - The Art of Un-War reveals an artist's deep commitment to exposing the travesties of war and its aftermath for over five decades. This feature-length documentary explores war, trauma, displacement, and xenophobia through the work of the internationally renowned artist Krzysztof Wodiczko. We witness Wodiczko inviting war veterans, refugees, and the homeless to be creative participants in his projects. As the process unfolds, he records their testimonies. Each project reveals the participant's unscripted plights to the public as he projects their moving images and voices onto historical statues in New York City and other metropolises across the world. The participants’ stories of loss, displacement, abuse and PTSD combined with Wodiczko’s own story of trauma emerge in tandem as the projects become a vehicle for healing. In English, French, Japanese, subtitled. 2021; 63 min.
Faithbreaker - Piotr Złotorowicz (Warsaw, Poland) - Anna comes back home after years away to take care of her mother in last months of her life. She left the village as a child and now she comes back as a young adult and meets her childhood love, Alko. To her parents this encounter is an echo of old mistakes. None of them knows that they will have to confront their past. None of them knows that today they are going to forgive. Faithbreaker is a meditation about a moral cost of truth. In Polish, subtitled. 2021; 72 min.
Leftover Feelings: A Studio B Revival – Ted Roach and Lagan Sebert (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) - Two Nashville music legends, John Hiatt & Jerry Douglas, team up during the pandemic to record their album Leftover Feelings in Elvis’s favorite studio, RCA’s fabled Studio B. Walking in the footsteps of Elvis, Dolly, and Waylon through the house that Chet Atkins built, John & Jerry attempt to revive and capture the magical sounds of this historic room where so many early hit songs were made. They set the bar high for their first-ever collaboration, chasing a special album that exceeds their high expectations after two lifetimes full of musical accomplishment. Featuring commentary along the journey from Lyle Lovett, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Molly Tuttle, Jeff Hanna, and Connie Smith, this film spotlights the legacy of Music City’s most significant studio through the lens of two godfathers of Americana music. 2022; 73 min.
The Mental State – James Camali (Brooklyn, New York) - In the heart of rural Kentucky, a high school senior and his family struggle to cope with the true identity and intentions of a dangerous town shooter. The film follows Andy Cady, an artistic loner, whose severe mental illness causes him intense hallucinations and delusions of his deceased, former-Navy SEAL uncle, Dylan. Dylan convinces Andy to believe destructive conspiracies. Andy’s battle with his illness and the lack of resources for his impoverished mother, Angela, crescendos when he brings a gun to school in the midst of his mania. 2021; 105 min.
Miss Futuro – Antonio Morales (Madrid, Spain) - Sister Ada's quiet, cloistered life is turned upside down when she’s busted reading secretly about cinema and the seductive life of movie stars by her superiors in the convent. To atone for her sins, she’s entrusted a mission: she must go to the cruising area of the city park and lead the sinners and deviants she finds there to the more righteous path. However, once among them, Ada recognizes herself in the sinners and decides to leave the convent for good. She flees to New York, beckoned by a city she had so often been dazzled by on glimmering movie screens. The city is mesmerizing but mysterious dangers lurk, and Ada will only be able to find her true deliverance with the support of the new gods she discovers in Manhattan. In English and Spanish, subtitled. 2021; 91 min.
NICHOLAS WINTON: THE MAN WHO SAVED 669 CHILDREN - Frédéric Tonolli (Paris, France) - Nicholas Winton, a former British banker, saved 669 Jewish children from the Nazi barbarism in the spring of 1939 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. This story, unknown to many people, relates the heroic act of this great man which earned him to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. 2021; 54 min.
Voice of the Game – Tom McCabe and Kirk Rudell (Denville, New Jersey) - In 1963, a humble young German immigrant — a factory worker, with a special love for soccer — arrived to America’s shores. Quietly, over decades, his unique coaching approach and life philosophy, has inspired countless of his “students” to achieve playing and coaching success at the highest levels of the sport in the United States and beyond. You’ve likely never heard his name, but his players know him as “the voice of the game." A foundational figure, Manfred Schellscheidt is the least known, but most influential coach in American soccer history. His “coaching tree” remains unrivaled in American soccer history. And its branches continue to expand today. 2021; 60 min.
Bacon ‘N’ Laces - Stephen Michael Simon (Brooklyn, New York) - Bacon ’N’ Laces is a short documentary, shot in New Jersey, about a single dad of three boys who manages a diner. But, there’s more to him than meets the eye. 2021; 19 min.
Beacon – Jayme Coveliers (New York, New York) - While deep in the mires of depression, Raúl discovers a new connection through his bedroom window. 2022; 8 min.
Bendix: Sight Unseen - Anthony Scalia – (Lodi, New Jersey) - Surrounded by highway traffic sits the unassuming Bendix Diner, owned and operated by John Diakakis. As the blind, single father of three young children who also work at the diner, John attempts to address and overcome his obstacles in order to provide a better life for his family. 2021; 26 min.
A Cartoon of a Cat Sleeping – Randall Scott Christopher (San Diego, California) - A 7-minute animation comedy which unfolds entirely in one shot with no edits, cuts, or camera movements. As the story gets more and more chaotic, one big question looms: Will the cat ever wake up? 2021; 7 min.
Chiaroscuro – Asia Vo (Boston, Massachusetts) - Chiaroscuro is an immersive sound and video installation that follows an anonymous glowing figure as they traverse an empty, black and unknown plane. They move through a series of events, from witnessing strange shadows dancing across the void, to an exchange of fruit with a mystical body of water. The character's quest does not reach a point of fulfillment. Caught in an endless cycle, they find themselves with an empty bucket and nothing gained. Chiaroscuro investigates the relationship between the mind and the unknown. 2022; 7 min.
Composition – Paul Sestakov (Austin, Texas) - An experimental tale of a young grieving mother whose intense connection to her art has taken a dark turn. 2021; 13 min.
Emoticon – Padrick Ritch (Boston, Massachusetts) - An experimental film examining the impact and influence of media. 2022; 2 min.
Eureka – Miida Chu (Toluca Lake, California) - A young indentured Chinese prostitute must overcome her toxic dependency on the brothel madam on the eve of the 1885 anti-Chinese riot in Eureka, California. In English and Cantonese, subtitled. 2021; 15 min.
The Everyday Show – Viren Shinde (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) - Diya is an acclaimed film director who appears on Sam’s talk show to promote her latest film. But Sam insists on unearthing a decision from Diya’s past that she would rather not discuss on live television. 2022; 11 min.
Fire-Man’s Fetish – John Slover (Los Angeles, California) - After 50 years in a state penitentiary, a pyromaniac (Danny Trejo) is released back into society, and immediately embarks on a raucous arson spree. 2022; 8 min.
Free Fall – Emmanuel Tenenbaum (Bordeaux, France) - Tom is a young trader in a London bank, whose recent performance has put his job on the line. When the first plane hits the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, Tom jumps into the biggest trade of his life. Inspired by a true story. 2021; 19 min.
Gruf and Me – Dovi Keich (Tel Aviv, Israel) - Gruf is a graffiti character that comes to life in animation. Gruf falls in love with the street artist who created him. He desperately tries to find her in the shabby streets of Tel Aviv and discovers that inter-dimensional love is not easy. 2021; 9 min.
Harriet: The Black Swan in the Year of COVID-19 – Klair Etheridge (Gig Harbor, Washington) - Four seasons of the life of Harriet Tubman are told through ballet. Spring Harriet: An enslaved girl; Summer Harriet: A young woman reaching for freedom; Autumn Harriet: A woman leading enslaved people to freedom; Winter Harriet: A mature woman reminisces about her purposeful life. 2021; 34 min.
Love Forbids You…- Will Rittweger (Howell, New Jersey) - Film noir meets a dream. While searching for a missing girl, the Seeker encounters a labyrinth of desperation, desire, and awakening. 2022; 8 min.
MALCAH – Anthony Maranville (New York, New York) - MALCAH is a rare glimpse inside the jubilant world of renowned Jewish Folk Artist Malcah Zeldis. Discover how the longtime Tribeca resident went from being a struggling single parent to one of the most widely exhibited naïve painters of our time in a male dominated field. She’s the only living artist to have a solo exhibition by the Museum of American Folk Art—made all the more impressive considering she didn’t even pick up a brush until she was 38! This whimsical profile celebrates the life and work of a true American original. 2021; 9 min.
Once I passed – Martin Gerigk (Krefeld, Germany) - A lovely collage animation film based on Walt Whitman’s poem Once I Passed Through a Populous City which features the collage work of Serbian artist Nikola Gocić. 2022; 10 min.
POLDi an Immigrant Story – Cesar Velasco Gil (Highland Park, New Jersey) - POLDi is an Austrian immigrant who left her home country. After many years of living in the US, POLDi reflects on her homesickness and identity. 2022; 5 min.
Self Defense - Joni Whitworth and Sam Tam Ham (Portland, Oregon) - Self Defense is a short film documenting a poetic performance art piece. The piece explores my time navigating the world as a neurodivergent person. Neurodivergence refers to variations in the human mind — variations in sociability, learning, mood, sensory processing, and behavior. Many people are leaning towards the word "neurodivergent", and away from the word "autistic". I don't mind what term we use, so long as we can have a creative conversation about the label's implications. Against the violence and degradation of this year, marginalized creatives are tasked with generating an equal and opposite response. This piece is an attempt at such, knowing that queer and autistic writers have a lot to offer in terms of social and cultural feedback and constructive criticism. 2021; 20 min.
Tundra - José Luis Aparicio (Madrid, Spain) - Walfrido Larduet, a lonely electrical inspector, dreams of the Red Woman, whose image persists and becomes an obsession. Something tells him she is near. Over the course of a day, Walfrido will follow her trail as he travels through the suburbs of an infested city. Individuals, like beasts, are made of fears and desires. Tundra is a film about these drives, about all the frustration that leads to paralysis. Sometimes, Cuba seems -- to Cuban director José Luis Aparicio -- like a stopped landscape: the desolate wasteland where nothing grows, where nothing ever happens. The country has taken on the physical aspect of our inner chaos, it stands as a vestigial, post-disaster region. Here the catastrophe occurred silently at some point in the past. What came after is outside of history, it is the inconsistent survival of ghost citizens. This film delves into the ghostly aspect of a Cuban's life, usually driven by inertia and automatism, a life full of mental obstacles, where frustrated desires become entrenched and do not allow us to move forward. For this, we have chosen the aesthetics and codes of fantasy cinema. In Spanish, subtitled. 2021; 3 min.
Unforgotten - Sujin Kim (Tempe, Arizona) - Unforgotten, an experimental animation, weaves together the testimonies of four South Korean women who were forced to become “comfort women,” the sex slaves of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. The film shines a light on the atrocious sexual violence that occurred around the world during this period, while employing metaphorical and fairytale-like visuals so as not to perpetuate violent imagery and revictimize the survivors in the film. In Korean, subtitled. 2021; 8 min.
Western Exit – Scott Ballard (Portland, Oregon) - Three estranged sisters reluctantly reunite over a hopeful inheritance. 2022; 13 min.
This June, the festival will have many virtual and live and in person special guest appearances by film directors, producers, and actors to the 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival!
All the works that we are screening are part of the 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival Competition and were selected by a panel of judges including media professionals, journalists, students, and academics. These judges selected the 29 finalists which will be publicly screened at our Festival. The finalists were selected from over 667 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 June 12, 2022.
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 Stage, The Home News Tribune; The Asbury Park Press; New Brunswick City Center; The Rutgers University Office of Community Affairs; Steven C. Schechter, Esq.; Share and Harris.