The New Jersey Film Festival marks its 31st anniversary with 60 screenings running from Thursday, September 13, through Friday, November 2, on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, the State University. The celebrated annual event is produced by the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center and the Rutgers University Program in Cinema Studies.
Coordinators note that all but three programs were part of the New Jersey Film Festival competition and selected by a panel of judges that included media professionals, journalists, students, and academics.
Included in the festival offerings, which boasts 25 films having their state or regional premiere screenings are early French film pioneer Georges Melies’s restored “A Trip to the Moon” and the documentary “The Extraordinary Voyage” which focuses on Melies’s film career; Erik Canuel’s “Barrymore,” a new feature film starring Academy-Award winner Christopher Plummer on legendary actor John Barrymore; and New Jersey born director David Spaltro’s highly acclaimed independent feature “Things I Don’t Understand.”
Other enticing screenings include Megan Peterson and John Douglas Sinclair’s “Heathens & Thieves.” It’s a western crime drama set during the 1849 Gold Rush. Then there’s Italy’s Mark Bacci’s “Five Hours South,”an unconventional dance film from Italy. For local interest, Princeton Junction based director Diane Ciccone’s short documentary “An Act of Faith” chronicles the efforts of the members of three churches to create housing for African-Americans in Princeton. Lawrenceville’s Leigha Cohen’s documentary “99% Solution” places New Jersey in the context of global clean water concerns. Both Ciccone and Cohen will be on hand during the screenings of their films.
In addition to the Melies films already noted, other films that explore the art of film are also scheduled. Most notable are Cathy Lee Crane’s “ Pasolini’s Last Words,” a biography of the controversial and innovative Italian director that seeks to explore Pasolini’s interest in poetic images and spirit. And then there’s visual artist and director Han Ricter’s 1948 “Dreams that Money Can’t Buy,” created with input by famed modern artists Man Ray, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Fernand Leger, and Marcel Duchamp.
The competition component of the festival concludes on Sunday, October 7, when jurors name 21 recipients from the 223 submissions from around the world.
Film Festival screenings are held in Voorhees Hall on the College Avenue Campus and the Ruth Adams Building on the Douglass College Campus. For the complete schedule that includes the lineup of programs, screenings, presentations by filmmakers, venues, and special events (including free sandwiches, posters, and free screenings), visit the festival website at www.njfilmfest.com or call 848-932-8482.