The New Jersey Film Festival starts its new season of world and regional premieres starting Friday, September 15, and continuing through Friday, November 3.
The opening weekend gives an indication of the juried festival’s sweep. There is “Hitching with a .357 Magnum” by Jeremy Bryant from Oregon; “Greeting in the Afternoon” by South Korean filmmaker Minwoo Song; “Hello Hello Hello: Lee Ranaldo: Electric Trim,” a New York City-produced film on Sonic Youth founding member Ranaldo’s creative process; and the Canadian film “Melody Makers,” about the birth of rock ’n’ roll journalism in the 1960s.
Yet the festival is also fittingly New Jersey focused — with the following works:
“Riverkeeper,” a short documentary by Brooklyn filmmaker Sara Leavitt that focuses on Bill Sheehan, founder of the Hackensack organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the New Jersey Meadowlands — once regarded as a polluted swamp and now a thriving ecosystem.
It is paired with Chatham filmmaker Scott Morris’s “Saving the Great Swamp: Battle to Defeat the Jetport.” The film looks at the nine-year struggle to save 10,000 acres of wetland from becoming the world’s largest jetport. Both screenings are set for Sunday, September 24, at 7 p.m. and the filmmakers for both will be on hand for a Q&A session.
“Swiped Right,” a short by Nutley filmmaker Dana Marisa Schoenfeld, tells the story of an early middle aged women who, in search of love, joins an online dating service and meets a man who doesn’t live up to his provocative profile name. Friday, October 6, 7 p.m.
And two New Jersey encores billed as “Best of the Summer 2017 New Jersey International Film Festival.” Included is Millburn director Douglas Underdahl’s “Passaic,” a son’s investigation of his investigative journalist father’s last unsolved case. And South Orange’s Beth Kruvant’s “Levinksy Park,” a documentary following freedom-seeking sub-Saharan Africans fleeing to Tel Aviv and setting in motion a clash of cultures. Both filmmakers will participate in a Q&A. Friday, October 20, 7 p.m.
Films are shown mainly in Voorhees Hall on the Rutgers Campus on Hamilton Street in New Brunswick. Ticket range from $9 to $12 (with two free feature films). www.njfilmfest.com.