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Manalapan Filmmaker's "Why I Had to Kill You While You Slept" to Screen at Garden State Film Festival

originally published: 02/29/2024

Manalapan Filmmaker

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) takes place March 21-24 in Asbury Park and Cranford.  Among the 200 films being screened are feature length and short films, documentaries, comedies, children's, thrillers, pilots, student films and "Home-Grown”" films shot in New Jersey. One such film is Why I Had To Kill You While You Slept, which was written, directed and edited by Manalapan resident, Anthony Marinelli, will screen on Saturday, March 23rd at 2:30pm at Asbury Hall in the Asbury Hotel, block TA10.

The film is a dark comedy about a not-so-desperate housewife who decides to kill her terrible husband and enlists her best friend for moral support. Nicholas Marinelli, the director’s son and drummer for local band Via Ripa, composed the original theme music. The film also features performances by New Jersey residents Joseph Cassese, Jackie Kuczinski, Peter Argento, Michael Yadvish and Denise Reed, and co-stars Texas resident Amanda Greer, who traveled to Jersey for the seven day shoot.

“We are extremely proud to present Why I Had To Kill You While You Slept as a part of our 22nd Annual Film Festival, and to share this work with our global audience,” says Lauren Concar Sheehy, the festival’s Executive Director.

The director also just completed a three-week run of an original play, Dancing Mad, by another NJ resident, Matthew Edward Gustavsen, for Center Players in Freehold.

“Since New jersey has seen record production numbers in recent years, thanks in no small part to Governor Murphy’s competitive financial incentives and the film-friendly environment created here in the state, including the efforts of the NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission, we’re seeing an increase in the number of projects that qualify for this category.  It is wonderful to see our filmmakers live where they work, and to fulfill their creative dreams,” explains Lauren.  “And since New Jersey offers so many different kinds of locations and settings; mountains, beaches, cities, farms and more, we see Jersey appearing in so many different kinds of films.”

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The entire GSFF program of this year’s selections will be presented in multiple venues in the Asbury Park area, with special events and screenings each night. A full day of screenings will also be presented at The Cranford Theater in Cranford, NJ on Saturday, March 23 starting at noon with the last screening ending at 10:15pm.  The film schedule indicates which films have subtitles available for universal-access for the hearing impaired. Free on the website is the GSFF “Cinema for the Ears” series for those with visual impairment. Over 440 students will be attending our sold out 2024 statewide filed trip will be introduced to vocations by UARTS Karl Staven as well as New Jersey’s place in the birth of film.  You can check the schedule at for showtimes and to see which films are screening at which venue.  

Following 2023’s successful event, this year’s 22nd Anniversary celebration, will include world premieres, celebrities, industry panels, parties, and networking, along with entertainment for all.  Catch the not to be missed panel, “Filmmaking is booming in New Jersey! Find out why that’s good for YOU”, with special guest speakers on Saturday, March 23th at 9:30am in the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel Johnny and June Room.

Founder Diane Raver said, “The GSFF is action-packed and there is something for everyone!  Come one, come all, it only happens once a year and we don’t want you to miss it.”

The Garden State Film Festival is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization, created to promote the art of filmmaking on all levels. This globally recognized festival also provides creative arts education programs and creates a forum where local and international independent filmmakers can exhibit their work. Their outreach programs also support the U.S. Military, seniors, children and the underserved.  Since 2003, thousands of films have made their public premieres, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have attended; and the total infusion of cash to local businesses since inception exceeds $10 million.



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