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Garden State Film Festival Redefines Accessibility with Innovative Programs

originally published: 03/18/2024

Garden State Film Festival Redefines Accessibility with Innovative Programs

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- New Jersey's Premier Independent Film Festival, the Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) is proud to announce its pioneering accessibility initiatives aimed at creating an inclusive and diverse cinematic experience for all audiences. The GSFF proudly continues its commitment to accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

During its 22-year history GSFF has been on the forefront of ADA needs and provides free tickets to its wheelchair bound guests and their helper, subject to seating availabiillty.  As a champion of inclusivity, the festival is dedicated to ensuring that all patrons have equal access to its diverse array of cinematic offerings.

Among these groundbreaking programs is "Cinema for the Ears," a four-part series dedicated to showcasing compelling audio stories, including the critically acclaimed "Fading Kingdoms”.  This captivating audio story transports listeners to a world of magic, intrigue, and adventure. Written and produced by acclaimed Shrewsbury, NJ filmmaker Daniel Meyers, "Fading Kingdoms" has garnered widespread acclaim for its rich storytelling, immersive soundscapes, and compelling characters.

GSFF sees this as an immersion program for adults who are blind or have experienced a change in vision. These oral stories involve a cast of over thirty actors, most of whom are professionals including performers such as Shawn Mims, aka Mims the Rapper, famous for This is Why I’m Hot, number one on the Billboard charts in 2008.

In a bold move to expand the boundaries of cinematic storytelling, the GSFF recognizes the importance of accessibility and inclusivity in the arts. By forging "Cinema for the Ears," the festival seeks to elevate the art of audio storytelling and provide a platform for creators to showcase their talent in a new and immersive format.



 
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"'Cinema for the Ears' represents our commitment to celebrating diverse voices and narratives," says Stephanie Clineman, board executive committee member and ADA Chair. "We believe that everyone should have access to great storytelling, regardless of their sensory preferences or limitations. Through this innovative series, we aim to break down barriers and foster a more inclusive film community."

"We are thrilled to feature 'Fading Kingdoms' for free as part of our 'Cinema for the Ears' series," adds Lauren Concar, Executive Director of the Garden State Film Festival. "This remarkable audio story exemplifies the power of sound to evoke emotion, ignite the imagination, and transcend traditional storytelling boundaries. It's a testament to the boundless creativity of our filmmaking community."

In addition to "Cinema for the Ears," the Garden State Film Festival has a range of accessibility measures, including subtitles for select films and all wheelchair-accessible venues. These efforts underscore the festival's commitment to making cinema more accessible and welcoming to all.

A great subtitled Film block is BK17 screening at the Berkeley on Saturday, March 23.  Look for subtitled films on their website, program book and on the “Listings at a Glance” schedule.

The GSFF Express, the festival’s Jitney transport is also ADA compliant and will be traveling from venue to venue in Asbury Park on March 23th and 24th. Please allow extra time to use this service.  More info can be found at www.gsff.org which includes an Accessibility menu. Look for the ADA icon to access it.

Garden State Film Festival Redefines Accessibility with Innovative Programs

The Garden State Film Festival invites filmmakers, artists, and audiences from around the world to join them in celebrating the art of storytelling at this year's event. Following 2023’s successful event, 2024 is scheduled for March 21 – 24 in Asbury Park and Cranford, New Jersey.  The upcoming 2024 Festival electrifies with film screening events to experience +200 films from 14 countries over 4 days in 8 venues hosting parties, professional panels, events, special honors, live podcasts and more.

Diane Raver created an all-encompassing event to the State of New Jersey. It premiered in 2003 and was immediately deemed a huge success. Since that time, industry notables such as Glenn Close, Christopher Lloyd, Matthe Modine, Batman producer Michael Uslan, Austin Pendleton, Kurtwood Smith, James Gandolfini, Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen, Lainie Kazan, Diane Ladd, Laura Dern, Bebe Neuwirth, Armand Asante, Sally Struthers and our biggest supporter the late Ed Asner as well as others have lent their support.



 
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