NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–A renowned New Brunswick based film festival will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on Saturday, May 30th, by opening the festivities until the 14th of June in the Hub City. The New Jersey International Film Festival, which began in 1996, is an annual festival where feature length independent films are screened in a competition.
The organization, which is headed by Rutgers Experimental Film Professor Albert Nigrin, is throwing the festival in conjunction with the Rutgers Film Co-op and New Jersey Media Arts Center, both of which were created back in 1985.
According to Professor Nigrin, the New Jersey International Film Festival has received 383 submissions from around the world. However, according to the competitive nature of the festival, Nigrin iterated that only 25 of the submissions (almost 7%) will be screened during the event.
This is an increase in competition, when in their first year in 1996, 30 films considered finalists. Nigrin, who also is the Executive Director of the Rutgers Film Co-op and New Jersey Media Arts Center, stressed the importance of the festival and how it provides an alternative outlet for both filmmakers and audiences.
Nigrin states that the main goal of the festival is to entertain and engage the community with the art pieces that they present to the community.
“We want to support Independent Film Making,” Nigrin said to New Brunswick Today, “and we premier works before being picked up for distribution.”
Last year, the New Jersey International Film Festival received up to 5,000 audience members, who were able to participate in ways that other film festivals do not necessarily offer, such as meeting with the participating filmmakers and actors.
The film festival also offers discussions, lectures, seminars, and workshops that are held by either the filmmakers, actors, scholars, and/or media art specialists.
Previous guests who appeared at the New Jersey Film Festival include Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker-Powell, Paul Morrissey, D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Todd Solondz, Veronica Burstein, and Jem Cohen; among many other professionals in the field.
The festival contains works of mostly professionals, however, it also includes student and amateur filmmakers as entrants.
The movies for the International Film Festival range from full length features, short films, to animations, and documentaries, providing a wide spectrum of choices for audiences interested in the independent film circuit.
According to Nigrin, the films are chosen by a jury of fifteen people, whom are divided into five groups of three. The judges are made up of academics, students, media professionals, and journalists, whom rate the submissions in a numerical scale from 1 to 10, with the latter being the highest possible score.
The film pieces that are under review are also scored within specific categories, which reflect the nature of the festival’s mindset – originality, creativity, production values, and performances- and are graded from either not being applicable/poor to being superior quality in all groupings.
Some of the 25 films that will be screened at the 2015 New Jersey International Film Festival are:
- Soap by Chris Brown – a short film from England
- M Cream by Agneya Singh – an irreverent feature film from India
- Chris Brown’s Soap — a steamy short film from England
- Tick Tock by Zeynep Kocak– an animated film from Turkey
- Keeper of the Past by Marco Riedl – a supernatural thriller from Germany
- Nocturne by Saul Pincus – an eerily beautiful film from Canada
- America’s Blues by Patrick Branson – a feature length music documentary from the U.S.A.
- When Things Go Wrong: The Robin Lane Story by Tim Jackson– a documentary on the first woman to front her own all male rock band from the U.S.A.
- Secrets of Llewellyn Park by William Davis – a documentary on parks from New Jersey, U.S.A.
The New Jersey International Film Festival will run from May 30 until June 14 from 7:00 pm to 10 pm, every night, and will take place at Voorhees Hall Room #105 at Rutgers University – 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.
For additional information and the screening schedule please visit http://www.njfilmfest.com/.
Jad is a local writer, organizer, and life-long resident of New Brunswick. He is a graduate of both Rutgers University and The University of Toronto.