(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The Fall 2022 New Jersey Film Festival will take place on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between September 9-October 16. The Festival will be a hybrid one as it will be presented online as well as doing 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 7:00pm on their show date. There will also be special Filmmaker Introductions and Q+A Sessions available for many of the films.
Seventeen films will have their New Jersey or Area Premiere (Middlesex County) screenings as part of the Fall 2022 New Jersey Film Festival. One is Tayo Giwa’s documentary The Sun Rises in The East which chronicles the birth, rise and legacy of The East, a pan-African cultural organization founded in 1969 by teens and young adults in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Area premieres also include M. Woods crazy experimental feature Commodity Trading: Dies Irae; Martin Del Carpio and Martin Gerigk’s experimental collage film Howl; Brian Jame’s passionate Argentine Tango dance fantasy Cabeco; Charly Santagado’s Soldier Island -- a feature length screen dance loosely based on the best-selling murder mystery novel And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie; and John Alexander’s Little Satchmo – a documentary on Louis Armstrong and his daughter.
Other highlights include Kasey Vincent’s The Hauntings of New Hope – a short documentary profiling one of the most haunted locations in Pennsylvania; a series of gripping short films by Liang-Chun Lin, KWA, Andrew Serban, Chuanfa Wan; Judy Drosd’s most short film Joey Skaggs: Metamorphosis, Cockroach Miracle Cure which is part of a series of oral histories on the notorious activist and prankster Joey Skaggs; Michelle Dragun’s short documentary film Saving Strays which is about her sister who details her emotional journey of saving stray cats in New Brunswick, New Jersey; and Alastair Evan’s beautifully shot and scored environmental documentary A Crack In The Mountain.
Other notable films include Tymofii Biniukov’s short drama Frontier which was shot in the last days before the full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war; Larry Hanover’s heartfelt Holocaust documentary Rebuilt from Broken Glass and Haruo Inoue’s Vertigo – a documentary on Jonas Mekas, the poet deemed the godfather of American avant-garde cinema; and Cat Brewer’s Sign the Show: Deaf Culture, Access & Entertainment which brings together entertainers, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HOH) community, and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to discuss accessibility.
Tickets are $15 per program; Festival All Access Pass is available for $100.
All the works that we are screening are part of the Fall 2022 New Jersey Film Festival Competition and were selected by a panel of judges including media professionals, journalists, students, and academics. These judges selected the 18 finalists which will be publicly screened at our Festival. The finalists were selected from over 421 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 competition screenings on October 10, 2022.
Here is the complete schedule for Fall 2022 New Jersey Film Festival.
Friday, September 9 - The Sun Rises in the East by Tayo Giwa (Brooklyn, New York, USA). The Sun Rises in The East chronicles the birth, rise and legacy of The East, a pan-African cultural organization founded in 1969 by teens and young adults in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Led by educator and activist Jitu Weusi, The East embodied Black self-determination, building more than a dozen institutions, including its own African-centered school, food co-op, newsmagazine, publisher, record label, restaurant, clothing shop and bookstore. The organization hosted world-famous jazz musicians and poets at its highly sought-after performance venue, and it served as an epicenter for political contemporaries such as the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords and the Congress of Afrikan People, as well as comrades across Africa and the Caribbean. In effect, The East built an independent Black nation in the heart of Central Brooklyn. The Sun Rises in The East is the first feature-length documentary to explore this inspiring story. The film also examines challenges that led to the organization’s eventual dissolution, including its gender politics, financial struggles and government surveillance. Featuring interviews with leaders of The East, historians and people who grew up in the organization as children, The Sun Rises in The East delivers an exhilarating and compelling vision, showing just how much is possible. 2022; 58 min.
Sunday, September 11 - A Crack in The Mountain by Alastair Evans (Tokyo, Japan). Deep in the jungle of Central Vietnam, lies a magnificent underground kingdom.Hang Son Doong which translates as “mountain river cave”, is the largest cave passage in the world and a place of spectacular beauty. With more people having climbed Everest than visited Son Doong, its pristine charm has remained undisturbed for millions of years. In 2014, Son Doong’s future was thrown into doubt when plans were announced to build a cable car into the cave. With many arguing that this would destroy its delicate eco-system and the local community divided over the benefits this development would bring, the film follows those caught up in the unfolding events. Beautifully shot and scored, A Crack In The Mountain is a powerful exposé about how both good and bad intentions can ultimately lead to one of the world’s greatest natural wonders being trampled for money. As well as inspire those who care about our natural heritage to fight to protect it. In English and Vietnamese, subtitled. 2022; 100 min.
Sunday, September 18 - Little Satchmo by John Alexander (Clearwater, Florida). To the world, Louis Armstrong is iconic — a symbol of musical genius, unparalleled success, and unassailable character. To Sharon, he was simply Dad. Armstrong’s wholesome, non-threatening image preserved his singular career as a black performer with unfettered access to a white man's world. Yet he was more than a caricature; he had desires, he had longings, and in private, he held tightly to the things he loved. Perhaps closest to his heart was a child whom he hid from the world: a daughter sworn to a life of secrecy until now. 2021; 61 min.
Friday, September 23 - Soldier Island, Howl & Cabeco.
Soldier Island by Charly Santagado (Metuchen, New Jersey, USA). Soldier Island is a feature length screen dance loosely based on the best-selling murder mystery novel And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. In the novel, ten characters from various, seemingly unrelated walks of life are invited by an unknown host to spend a weekend at a mysterious mansion on Soldier Island. Within a few hours of arrival, the guests start to be killed off one by one. The death of the guests follow the trajectory of a rhyme that’s framed and hung in each bedroom of the house. 2022; 65 min.
Howl by Martin Del Carpio and Martin Gerigk (New York, New York). Experimental collage film where the filmmakers purge their inner demons. 2022; 3 min.
Cabeco by Brian James Crewe (Studio City, California, USA. A passionate Argentine Tango dance fantasy featuring a woman exploring the sensual and dangerous possibilities presented by a potential new lover. 2022; 8 min.
Sunday, September 25 - Commodity Trading: Dies Irae by M. Woods (Evanston, Illinois). A void in time-space is opens as bitter spirits circle one another searching for the Numb Spiral. The double of reality knocks the USA off the map in this crazy experimental feature film. 2022; 86 min.
Friday, September 30 - Joey Skaggs: Metamorphosis, Cockroach Miracle Cure, Urania Leilus, The House, Panta Rei, The Hauntings of New Hope - Shorts Program
Joey Skaggs: Metamorphosis, Cockroach Miracle Cure by Judy Drosd (New York, New York). Since the 60s, artist Joey Skaggs has pioneered the use of the mass media to make social political commentary. In 1981, Entomologist Dr. Josef Gregor (a.k.a. Joey Skaggs), along with his cult-like clinical volunteers, unveiled his revolutionary Cockroach Vitamin Pill developed to cure all ailments known to man including the common cold, acne, anemia, and menstrual cramps. It also made people invulnerable to nuclear radiation and could save humanity from self-annihilation. This short documentary is the sixth in the ongoing short film series of oral histories, "Joey Skaggs: Satire and Art Activism, 1960s to the Present... and Beyond". 2022; 27 min.
Urania Leilus by Andrew Serban (New York, New York). A young female journalist is subjected to death threats and intimidation after witnessing human rights abuses at an ICE detention center for undocumented immigrant children. Urania Leilus is intended to be a warning about what might happen when a democracy succumbs to far-right extremists and descends into fascism — when immigrant children are ripped from their parents and locked up in cages without adequate food or medical care; when journalists and dissidents are regarded as “enemies of the people”, to be harassed, intimidated or "disappeared" by unidentified agents in unmarked vehicles — all of which have occurred (and continue to occur) in authoritarian regimes and have recently occurred in the United States. 2021; 21 min.
The House by Liang-Chun Lin (Los Angeles, California, USA). Amy, the kind of person who would steal your vodka and replace it with water, moves into a haunted house for the great rent. She finds herself surrounded by ghosts whose personalities are suspiciously similar to her own. These beings don’t want justice or eternal rest. They want Hulu. They want potato chips. And they expect Amy to help. When Amy can no longer take their harassment, she decides to exorcise them…on a budget, of course. 2022; 9 min.
Panta Rei (everything is in flux) by KWA (Fishers, Indiana, USA). "A New Cinema Where Your Perceptions are the Star". Come along for this wild white-water ride where everything is becoming and nothing ever is. A place where each audience members perceptions are the star of the show. For no one walks into this same river twice; Life is flow in constant flux. 2022; 8 min.
The Hauntings of New Hope – Kasey Vincent (New Hope, Pennsylvania). A short documentary profiling one of the most haunted locations in Pennsylvania; New Hope. Quirky, artsy, historical and haunted, this town is nestled in Bucks County and features The Ghost Tours of New Hope & The Creeper Gallery. 2022; 7 min.
Sunday, October 2 - Sign the Show: Deaf Culture, Access & Entertainment by Cat Brewer (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA). Sign the Show: Deaf Culture, Access & Entertainment brings together entertainers, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HOH) community, and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to discuss accessibility at live performances in a humorous, heartfelt, and insightful way. 2021; 96 min.
Saturday, October 8 - Rebuilt from Broken Glass, Saving Strays & Frontier.
Rebuilt from Broken Glass by Larry Hanover (Voorhees, New Jersey). At age 12, Fred Behrend’s life was ripped apart. He was living 65 miles from home with the family of Cantor Max Baum so he could attend a secular Jewish school after the Nazis banned Jews from public school. In November 1938, he witnessed the horrors of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), seeing synagogue after synagogue torched in the city of Cologne. Fred did not know that back home, his father, like 30,000 other Jewish males, had been arrested for transport to a concentration camp. All Fred knew was that his idyllic time with the Baum family and his friend Henry was over. His mother frantically sent a car to pick him up. Fred’s family lost most of its material possessions. But they escaped to Cuba and, eventually, America. Fred would turn the tables in 1946 as an American GI. He was part of a little-known denazification initiative called the Intellectual Diversion program at a Virginia military base. Selected for his ability to speak German and his counterintelligence training, Fred was taught by elite professors to give crash courses to German POWs about American-style democracy. In his later years, Fred began to speak to schoolchildren about his Holocaust past. In 2018, he was speaking to students at a Jewish day school on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht about that fateful day and his friend Henry Baum. The head of the school left the room for 10 minutes and returned later holding a cellphone. He handed it to Fred. On the line was Henry Baum. Soon they would meet—in one more powerful victory over Hitler and the Nazis. 2022; 40 min.
Frontier by Tymofii Biniukov (Kyiv, Ukraine). This film was shot in the last days before the full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war. Natalia has been living in peaceful Kharkiv for a long time, she considers it her home. Her mother wants to return to Luhansk, which is occupied by militants, because she was born there. So Natalie makes her way to her native city to check on her parents' house. But the area is already strange to her. And not strange at the same time. In Ukrainian and Russian, subtitled. 2022; 15 min.
Saving Strays by Michelle Dragun (New Brunswick, New Jersey). Saving Strays is a short documentary film about Lauren Dragun who details her emotional journey of saving stray cats. 2022; 10 min.
Sunday, October 9 - Vertigo by Haruo Inoue (Shinjuku, Japan). Gozo Yoshimasu, a pioneer of Japanese contemporary poetry, pursued the vision of his ally, the late Jonas Mekas in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The time is the end of January 2020, just before the coronavirus strikes NYC, and the trip is just in time. This film depicts the dramatic birth of a poem that could be called a requiem on the first anniversary of the death of Mekas, who was considered a giant of experimental cinema. “Why are your poems and films so shaky?” Someone asked this question to Jonas Mekas, the poet deemed the godfather of American avant-garde cinema. Mekas replied “My life is shaky.” In English and Japanese, subtitled. 2022; 118 min.
Saturday, October 15 - The Mental State by 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, as he covertly follows the directives of a local, Navy SEAL veteran, Dylan. Dylan convinces Andy to believe destructive conspiracies. Andy's impoverished, single mother, Angela, worries about Andy's health and safety when Andy's recent erratic behavior and beliefs causes him to emotionally harm a fellow student. Angela tries to find resources she needs to keep Andy out of trouble until the film crescendos with a tragedy at the local high school. 2022; 105 min.
Sunday, October 16 - Best of the Summer 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival with Bendix: Sight Unseen, Composition, Eureka & Self Defense. James Camali’s The Mental State which won Best Feature; Anthony Scalia’s Bendix: Site Unseen which was an Honorable Mention winner; Miida Chu’s Eureka which won Best Short; Joni Whitworth and Sam Tam Ham’s Self Defense which won Best Animation and Paul Sestakov’s Composition which won Best Short.
Bendix: Sight Unseen by 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.
Composition by 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.
Eureka by 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.
Self Defense by 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. The work addresses several cultural issues, including how an autistic person can defend a Self moving through various categories of spaces and relationships. The words unfold as slowly, in juxtaposition to the most commonly known cultural narrative of autism, which is that of Rain Man or a weird or quirky man. Many other types of people are autistic; there are dozens of unexplored autistic elements, areas that may be not related to math or memorizing facts but details that are more generous, emotional, or sensual. 2021; 20 min.
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; The Rutgers University Zimmerli Art Museum; The Rutgers University Writer’s House; The Rutgers University Office of Disability Services, WRSU; New Jersey Stage; The Home News, The Asbury Park Press; New Brunswick City Center; The Rutgers University Office of Community Affairs; Design Ideas; Advanced Printing; Steven C. Schechter, Esq.; Share and Harris.