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2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

originally published: 05/10/2024

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The 29th Annual New Jersey International Film Festival will take place May 31 to June 9, 2024 on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. The Festival will be a hybrid one as it will be presented online as well as with 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 General Admission 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 5:00pm or 7:00pmM on their show date. General Admission Ticket=$15 Per Program; Festival All Access Pass=$100; In-Person Only Student Ticket=$10 Per Program

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

FRIDAY, MAY 31 at 7:00pm - Film Is Dead. Long Live Film! Peter Flyn (Wakefield, MA). This film explores the vanishing world of private film collecting—an obsessive, secretive, often illicit world of basement film vaults, piled-high with forgotten reels, inhabited by passionate cinephiles devoted to the rescue and preservation of photochemical film. Condemned as pirates and hounded by the FBI, film collectors have long lurked in the shadows. Yet their efforts have resulted in the survival of countless films that would otherwise have been lost to history. Archives and studios now look to private hands for long-lost titles and many collectors have begun restoring and releasing films themselves. As analog film fades from memory, the basement-dwellers and bootleggers of old are finally being given their due. Film Is Dead. Long Live Film! is a lively tribute to the private film collector, a celebration of the fetishistic subculture of pre-video movie-love, and a timely reminder of the glories of analog film. 2024; 102 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

SATURDAY, JUNE 1 at 5:00pm - AltonaShame on You. Altona – The Affolter Brothers (New Westminster, BC, Canada) His throat was slit. He was set on fire. Left for dead. Yet his greatest challenge... was learning to forgive. This true crime documentary examines the far-reaching effects of a deadly attack that shattered a community and the survivor who needed to face his demons in order to overcome them. The debut feature from the award-winning Affolter brothers, Altona combines stunning animation with never-before-told eyewitness accounts to ask the question, can you forgive what you'll never forget? 2023; 94 min. *This film contains extremely graphic and sensitive material that may be triggering to some audiences*

Shame on You – Jeffrey Himpele (Princeton, NJ) - This film exposes the untold personal costs of victims of the debt collection industry that is enabled by fear of the judicial system and hidden shame about debt. In this animated documentary, we recreate our telephone interviews and the personal stories of people trapped in debt collection lawsuits. We want audiences to openly discuss how shame is used in relation to debt, and to assertively talk about their own debt collection cases. The low value/high volume debt collection business is massive - 1 in 4 people have been pursued by a debt collector. But the stories are untold and cases are unopposed because of shame. Consequently, in some states 90% of debtors are unrepresented in courts and many of those end in default judgements against debtors. Here, our interviewees start a conversation about an industry that uses shame and the courts against people who have everything to lose. This is the shame that should be carried by those who put them in these debts in the first place. 2023; 11 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

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SATURDAY, JUNE 1 at 7:00pm - The Featherweight. Robert Kolodny (Brooklyn, NY). Set in the mid-1960s, The Featherweight presents a gripping chapter in the true-life story of Italian-American boxer Willie Pep—the winningest fighter of all time—who, down and out in his mid-40s and with his personal life in shambles, decides to make a return to the ring, at which point a documentary camera crew enters his life. Painstakingly researched and constructed, the film is a visceral portrait of the discontents of twentieth-century American masculinity, fame and self-perception. 2023; 99 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

SUNDAY, JUNE 2 at 5:00pm - Shorts Program #1. There are 8 films in this program. STUCK – Giselle Bonilla (Los Angeles, CA). A man gets stuck in a sex doll who has become attached to him romantically. 2023; 3 min.

Judy’s Garden – Evie Metz (Richmond, VA). In Judy’s Garden, a woman is confronted by death and taken on a journey through her past. The garden is shown as a cosmic arena of continuous death and renewal, one which all living things, including the gardener herself, are a part of. The film is an ode to these cycles in the natural world and a meditation on what it means to be alive. 2024; 7 min.

Tennis, Oranges – Sean Pecknold (Los Angeles, CA). A robotic vacuum suffering from burnout quits its job at a hospital and sets out to find community and a greater purpose on a quiet street where two lonely rabbits are stuck in perpetual loops. 2023; 11 min.

Use Your Words – Michelle Tattenbaum (Maplewood, NJ). A new friendship between two lonely mothers is plunged into jeopardy when they discover that a painful event from one's past lives on in the other’s present. Use Your Words is a story of the healing power of friendship. 2023; 14 min.

The Double Room – Martin Del Carpio (New York, NY). Honor, both an artist and dreamer, finds himself in a dystopian reality of the corporate world. Having to face himself, his choice remains in whether to give in for the sake of survival or exist independently from what our culture has conditioned us to accept. 2024; 15 min.

Brain Freeze – Kelsey Comeau (Brooklyn, NY). A snapshot of life long friends Carrie and Madison Hu as their relationship crumbles at the seams. In their safe bubble of Northern New Jersey, the friends have hit their breaking point on Rae’s eighteenth birthday. Crossing paths years later, in a queer abyss that is Fire Island Pines, the friends are no longer. Dealing with themes of adulthood, queer identity, female friendship and mortality, Brain Freeze tackles two formative moments in adolescence otherwise overlooked: the friends who fade away. 2024; 15 min.

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Along The Rail – Jonathan Harkel (NJ). After moving on from a career of shooting medium format film for celebrities and high-end clients, a photographer begins capturing graffiti with his cell phone from the window of a commuter train, then builds a device to develop cyanotype prints at home. "I found it fascinating that there were people out there in the middle of the night making art on the side of these train tracks," he says. "It became an experiment of documenting the graffiti. Since I had very little time to make my own art, placing my cell phone on the windows of these trains and trying to capture these pieces of graffiti felt like it was at least celebrating this form of art. On these incredible old walls along the Montclair-Boonton line, there are people making beautiful art along the rail." 2023; 21 min.

Tlaloc (Lines Drawn in Water) – Abinadi Meza (Austin, TX). Tlaloc (Lines Drawn in Water) is a hand-painted cameraless 16mm film - an enigmatic otherworld where hues of water evolve into prismatic blooms. Tlaloc is the deity of waters, rain, lightning, and growth in the Aztec pantheon; he is the lord of the drowned. This film explores the membrane of film itself - a moving skin marked by fluid, punctured by light. The soundtrack was entirely made with contact microphones to capture handmade surface markings and gestures. 2023; 5 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

SUNDAY, JUNE 2 at 7:00pm - Crossing The River; FIRE TOWER; I Still Love You. Crossing The River – Allan Novak (New York, NY). If there is such a thing as a heartwarming Holocaust film, this is it. Crossing the River is the story of the world's oldest living Holocaust survivor siblings and captures more than 100 years of one family's history in approximately 30 minutes. Along the way, we learn about their unlikely savior, Joseph Stalin, and a lesser-known World War II narrative. Now 101, 100, 98 and 96, inseparable, informed and unfailingly optimistic, the Fink siblings have outlived spouses, offspring, hundreds of friends and relatives and arguably the most horrific genocide in human history. What is the secret to their longevity? How have they defied all odds? With unparalleled access to the subjects and their archives, filmmaker Allan Novak has been filming his family for the past 40 years and uses the occasion of their newfound celebrity as an opportunity to look back and fill in the missing pieces of their past. Along the way, the film reveals how this seemingly ordinary family is actually quite extraordinary. 2023; 30 min.

FIRE TOWER – Tova Krentzman – Whitehorse, YT. Canada). FIRE TOWER is a character driven documentary with dramatic landscapes, intense conditions and far-out stories - akin to astronauts and lighthouse keepers. Perched in the Rocky Mountains above empty expanses across northern Canada, we meet the people behind the binoculars. Fire tower “lookouts” all experience the rush of spotting smoke and pre-empting evacuations. They all take pride in protecting the land and its people. They have all been struck by lightning. For more than a century, lookouts have been the dedicated “eyes in the sky”, a critical first-line of defense. In this documentary, the cast of lookouts remind us that climate change and technology are encroaching on all our lives and livelihoods. Today, despite the unprecedented number of wildfires, there are only four Canadian provinces that continue to employ human radar. How can they compete with fleets of drones, satellites, and cell phones? The best way to stop a fire is to spot it early – lookouts are still critical anchors in our fire safety networks. When lightning strikes, they can spot a wisp of smoke 60 miles away and interpret its intensity in shades of grey, ahead of infrared imagery. Within minutes, they radio other responders to mobilize their planes, helicopters and equipment before forests and communities are devastated. Beyond the action, gazing out from their towers also grants the lookouts telling moments of introspection. In our hyper-connected, multi-tasking world, Fire Tower invites us to contemplate how solitude can inspire a different kind of connection with nature, community and our own creativity. 2024; 47 min.

I Still Love You – Diane Pontius (New York, NY). Bob Pontius operates on children with heart defects, and in the 1960’s helps bring pediatric heart surgery to Bergamo, Italy. Then his life is radically altered. He has a mental health crisis. In this short documentary, his photographer daughter turns her camera on him to reveal his ferocious desire for independence, commitment to an existential philosophy, and reluctance to accept medical treatment. Using family photos, her father’s 16mm surgical films, and iPhone video, she constructs an intimate narrative about the human mind. 2024; 15 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 at 7:00pm - I Want to Live on Mars; Pripyat Horse; Five Loaves; The Miracle of You; Muted. I Want to Live on Mars - Mariya Somova (Lancaster, PA). Two unlikely friends embark on a journey to escape life in a ghost town devastated by disaster. In broad strokes, two young women (Pickles, very rural, and Breezy, very urban) are brought together by the mistakes or the circumstances of their guardians beyond their control. After months of a prickly, unlikely friendship, and a series of poetically unexpected events, the two strike out on their own, leaving behind whatever scraps they had in exurban Pennsylvania in search of "Life on Mars." 2023; 80 min.

Pripyat Horse – Sally Patricia Pearce (Penmachno, United Kingdom). ‘A sparrow flies swiftly in through one door of the hall, and out through another…. Even so, man appears on earth for a little while; but of what went before this life or of what follows, we know nothing.’ Bede A moment for mourning, for a friend, for the earth. 2024; 2 min.

Muted – Chris Zou (Bridgewater, NJ). Jessica is a Chinese-American high schooler studying for a chemistry test late at night. Faced with the immense pressure of perfection, she turns to pills to enhance her studying. Her actions threaten to jeopardize her relationships with her friends, while exploring her tumultuous relationship with her mother. 2024; 6 min.

The Miracle of You – Peter Spruyt (Hollywood, CA). A man takes us on his meditation journey towards inner-peace and harmony, showing that in these enlightened times one can achieve self-forgiveness for just about anything. 2023; 5 min.

Five Loaves – Nicholas Diodato (Shamong, NJ). The ongoings at a food pantry reveal the workings of a corrupt church. 2024; 6 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

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FRIDAY, JUNE 7 (online only) - Claire Facing North; Anima #1-4; This is a Story Without a Plan. Claire Facing North – Lynn Lukkas (Minneapolis, MN). Claire returns to Iceland, a place she visited decades earlier, to tend to a difficult task. While on the road she meets Iris, a young aimless hitchhiker, and together they connect and collide as they struggle to come to terms with the realities of their lives. 2023; 90 min.

Anima #1-4 – Vaco Diogo (Lisbon, Portugal). Anima # 1-4 is a mash up of four different experimental animations that finish a cycle of creative work. The film explores interior sensations and emotions from intra-uterine memories to growing shadows, ghosts and chaos that emerged in a context of generalized anxiety. Instead of trying to give solutions to problems the film expands a space of mystery through screen awareness. 2024; 3 min

This is a Story Without a Plan – Cassie Shao (Pasadena, CA). A short animated film about two people and an explosion. 2024; 8 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

SATURDAY, JUNE 8 at 5:00pm - Shorts Program #2. There are 5 films in this program. Good Girl – Jenny Kleiman (Elmhurst, NY). After ending a six-year relationship, a well-behaved, Jewish, OBGYN decides to turn her brain off and her body on by exploring BDSM; instances of which are popping up in the most unusual places. 2023; 12 min.

INFINITY! – Benjamin To (Chino Hills, CA). A famous Japanese-American ballroom dance duo must choose between their passion or their lives as WWII concentration camps begin to rise in the U.S. 2023; 12 min.

Game Interrupted - Ilayda Iseri (Instanbul, Turkey). 1979, Turkey: While the mood on the streets of capital Ankara is charged with tension shortly before the military coup, a young sister and brother find their way out of boredom by switching from one game to another during their winter break. Their mother is at work all day and their grandmother is sleeping on the couch as usual. However, something goes wrong that day. While trying to figure out what happened, they notice a strange intruder at the door, who resembles Khomeini or Darth Vader. They must fix the course of events before their mother returns home. In Turkish, subtitled. 2023; 15 min.

National Pride – Rod Ibsen (Silkeborg, Denmark). During a national match, the football stadium is packed with cheering fans in football jerseys and beers in their hands. However, a completely different battle is taking place in the stands; a battle between two groups of friends with Julius and Robert on the front line. A collision between a brutal cancel culture and a male-dominated football culture evokes a relationship between the two boys that is far from simple. In Danish, subtitled. 2023; 17 min.

Gary – Irina Arnaut (Jackson Heights, NY). Gary is a dark comedy about an early-career artist couple who make ends meet by moonlighting as contract killers. I like to describe it as a Bonnie and Clyde tale, but if Bonnie and Clyde were a couple of artists from NYC who don't have the means to pay off their student loans. 2023; 18 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

SATURDAY, JUNE 8 at 7:00pm - Found: The King of Matsutake Ridge; Fencing for the Edge. Found: The King of Matsutake Ridge - Anastasia Forde (Palmyra, NJ).A documentary short subject that explores the beautiful and intense world of Philip Manganaro, renowned chef, forager, and owner of Park Place Café in Merchantville, NJ. For over a year, a team of award-winning creatives followed Phil to his “wild farms” including his secret Matsutake mushroom site.2023; 34 min.

Fencing for the Edge – Holly Buechel (South Orange, NJ). A team of New Jersey high school girls strives to unseat its rival as State Champion in the modern sport of fencing. Tensions rise as an intense coach pushes the team, culminating in an unexpected test of sportsmanship and integrity. A decade later, they revisit the lasting impact of the season and its challenges. 2023; 75 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

SUNDAY, JUNE 9 at 5:00pm - Cowgirls and Synthesizers, Live FeedMusical Angels. Cowgirls and Synthesizers – Joe Wallace (Springfield, IL). UK hit-maker and Eurovison songwriter Ricardo Autobahn follows the synthesizer pop duo Hyperbubble, described by Alternative Press as "the sonic equivalent of a truckload of Twizzlers", as they drive to Nashville to record a country and western album using only synthesizers, drum machines, and theremin. Along the way, Hyperbubble members Jess and Jeff meet cartoon cult heroes Samantha Newark of Jem and the Holograms and Manda Rin of Bis/Powerpuff Girls fame, Theremin diva Dorit Chrysler, music fashion guru Manuel Cuevas, cosmic cowboy Garett T Capps, air-drumming filmmaker Ari Gold, Do-It-Yourself vinyl pioneers Shoes, synth-pop sweeties Freezepop, Lederhosen Lucil, Helen Love, and Our Daughters Wedding, and somehow end up winners in Dolly Parton's Netflix song contest. Cowgirls and Synthesizers is a fast, fun, fanzine telling the true story of Hyperbubble's over 20-year career, splattered with color, animation, and comedy. 2023; 80 min.

Live Feed – Daniel Maldonado (New York, NY). Live Feed is an interpretative short that playfully examines the role of intermedia ( as an “in-betweeness) and the work of award winning electro acoustic composer, Jeff Morris. Using the form of a tangled live performance that includes interviews, motion controlled piano algorithms, painting and found object percussion, new musical voices are shaped. The “four way triangle” that emerges opens up questions about creativity and the arts in the 21st century. 2023; 13 min.

Musical Angels – Saul Pincus (Toronto, Canada). A heartbroken violin maker tests the healing power of music. 2024; 9 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

SUNDAY, JUNE 9 at 7:00pm - Stakes is High, Carnivora. Stakes Is High – Jean-Pierre Caner (Los Angeles, CA). Much like Taxi Driver was a reflection of post-Vietnam America, Stakes Is High captures America right now. Will Goldin is the everyman of this moment, living off the fumes of a dream, turning to the gig economy with hopes of a better future only to find a rat race to the bottom – a story that has only become more and more relevant. Accordingly, Stakes Is High is a ride. One scene leading to the next, the story building as Will tries to get ahead while risking it all. 2023; 90 min.

CARNÍVORA – Felipe Vargas (Los Angeles, CA). When their mother vanishes, two estranged sisters are forced to caretake for their catatonic grandma… only to realize that grandma isn’t grandma at all. 2023; 12 min.

2024 New Jersey International Film Festival Preview

In addition, the festival also presents Marissa Nadler In Concert on Saturday, June 15th at 7:00pm.  This event is only available in-person, there is no livestream or video on demand of the performance. Over the course of nearly 20 tireless years of writing, recording, and touring, Marissa Nadler has amassed one of the most singular catalogs in contemporary music. Her work glides between delicate folk, windswept Americana, doom metal-adjacent darkness, meditative ambient music, and fearlessly experimental sounds, all anchored in her unmistakable singing voice and finger-style guitar.  Shortly after finishing her Masters degree at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Nadler released her first proper full-length album, the ethereal Ballads of Living and Dying, in2004. Though she was initially associated with the indie-folk movement, Nadler soon distinguished herself with her willingness to go darker and more personal, writing songs that felt deeply intimate with solitude and heartbreak while still retaining an otherworldly sheen. If she was born a century earlier, it’s not a stretch to imagine that her vast talents would be mistaken for conjured magic. After a decade of releasing records with various labels and on her own, Nadler joined forces with Sacred Bones Records and Bella Union for 2014’s seismic July. That record marked a kind of reset in Nadler’s career, and the sounds she explored there served as a jumping off point for subsequent modern classics like For My Crimes and her collaboration with Stephen Brodsky, Droneflower — both of which she created the cover art for. The Path of the Clouds is Nadler’s ninth solo album, and it feels like yet another significant evolution. Two decades into a storied career, there’s still an untapped reservoir of thrilling musical ideas and stirring emotions lurking in her endlessly creative mind.



FILM IS DEAD. LONG LIVE FILM! – Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 7PM!

Friday, May 31, 2024 @ 7:00pm
New Jersey International Film Festival
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: film

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The Featherweight – Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 7PM!

Saturday, June 01, 2024 @ 7:00pm
New Jersey International Film Festival
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: film

Click here for full description

Altona, Shame on You – Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 5PM!

Saturday, June 01, 2024 @ 5:00pm
New Jersey International Film Festival
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: film

Click here for full description

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Inspiring documentary Along the Rail premieres at the 2024 New Jersey International Film Festival!

Art can portray many things and occupy many mediums. Some artists utilize subjects such as cities, animals, and people. For Craig Wallace Dale, this choice of subject has ranged over the years and currently rests with railroad track graffiti. Jonathan Harkel’s Along the Rail displays and honors this longer-than-three-decade journey.

Two Enthralling Animation Shorts screen at the 2024 New Jersey International Film Festival on Sunday, June 2!

WWII Documentary "Rohna Classified" Available for Streaming Memorial Day Weekend

2024 Lighthouse International Film Festival Preview

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