Festival Schedule

A New Filmmaker Offers His Take on Film Noir

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared by Deb Cooperman for the April 27, 2005

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

World Class Filmfest in Trenton

There’s a film festival about to begin – right down the street. In

Trenton. That’s right, Trenton. Movie lovers can see great revivals,

international and made-in-the-U.S.A. features and documentaries, short

subject and animation films; meet fellow movie buffs; and rub elbows

with producers and directors of new and buzzworthy films at the

Trenton Film Festival.

The event kicks off its second year on Friday, April 29, showcasing

over 65 short films and 25 features through Sunday, May 1. Screening

venues include the New Jersey State Museum, the Contemporary, the

Trenton Marriott Hotel, and Gallery 125 – all within walking distance

of each other. Even Bobby (as de Niro’s friends call him) makes an

appearance – more on that later.

According to festival director and filmmaker Kevin Williams, the idea

for a film festival in Trenton was born at the end of 2002 as several

film buffs got together at Cafe Au Lait to talk about their passion.

"We had all been thinking the same thing, that it would be cool to

have a film festival in Trenton," Williams says. The vision gelled

almost instantly. "We wanted to have the best films by the best film

makers. We didn’t want to have a political agenda – if a film festival

has one agenda they get tagged. Like Sundance – it’s a very

political/social-leaning festival. With ours, we want the films to be

shown on their merits; we wanted to make sure we had a diverse

content."

And in its sophomore year, the program is certainly diverse. The

festival received more than 300 submissions from around the world

including offerings from Albania, Japan, Germany, France, Italy,

China, Australia, Greece, and Thailand. For those who think that film

making only happens in New York and Los Angeles, festival director

Williams – along with Michael McClure, director of "Cup of Joe," the

winner of the Trenton Film Society’s short film contest, and several

other New Jersey filmmakers of documentaries and short subject films

prove that there is life beyond those film-making meccas.

A native of Trenton, Williams grew up in the Wilbur section and went

to McCorristin Catholic High School in Hamilton. His father, George,

worked for Princeton University Press, and his mother, Grace, was a

nurse at St. Francis Hospital. His father died in late 1997, and his

mother died five years later. His father’s love of film was Williams’s

greatest influence. "For someone who was blue collar, he was a learned

man, particularly in the arts," Williams says. "He was always bringing

home books like ‘How to Read a Film’ by James Monaco. And he was

always quoting lines from movies."

Although Williams’s interest in film began when he was young, it

wasn’t until after he received his undergraduate degree in marketing

from LaSalle 1990 and earned an MBA in marketing and finance from

Tulane in 1993 that he started moving toward a career in cinema. "The

Pelican Brief," a big budget movie starring Denzel Washington and

Julia Roberts, came to film in New Orleans – the home of Tulane

University – and Williams got a job as a production assistant. But a

combination of production delays and Williams’s dwindling bank account

brought the Jersey boy back home.

Back in Trenton, he took a job in marketing but when "I.Q.," a

fictionalized tale about Albert Einstein (Walter Matthau) playing

matchmaker to his brainy niece (Meg Ryan) and a good natured garage

mechanic (Tim Robbins), came to Princeton to film, Williams landed a

job in casting. "When I got done on ‘I.Q.,’ I kept working on other

people’s projects – often for free. I would call the Philadelphia film

office and find out what was filming in the area. And then I worked on

a movie called "Surrender Dorothy," which did well at Sundance."

A colleague on "Surrender Dorothy" encouraged Williams to take a shot

at applying for New York University’s intensive film program, a

four-month immersion into movie making. He did, and he was accepted.

"That experience changed my life," he says.

After completing the program, Williams found work making commercials,

a rap video, and then, he says "I was fortunate enough to work on ‘A

Beautiful Mind’ (which was filmed in Princeton) for six months.

Russell Crowe? I don’t care what you read about him, he always showed

up so well prepared. And (director) Ron Howard? I learned so much."

Immediately after that he got a job running the production office on

M. Night Shyamalan’s "Signs," filmed in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

He recounts the next several years by ticking off the credits: "Like

Mike," the pilot for "Hack," "Jersey Girl." But the harried pace began

to drain him. "I really enjoyed film production, but the days are 14

to 16 hour days. I had to make the decision: do I want to keep working

like this, or do I want to work on my own projects?" He decided to try

his hand at writing and producing, which eventually led to the

creation of the film festival. "I wish my father could see what we’ve

created here; it is my passionate labor of love," he says.

Besides film, Williams has another labor of love in the works. His

wife, Tamara, who works in the fashion industry in New York, is due to

give birth to their first child any day now (as of press time,

Williams was at the hospital with his wife and baby Williams was "on

the way"). "We have great support and wonderful volunteers and we’re

trying to get as much done as we can; we’re hoping the baby doesn’t

make a dramatic entrance during the festival."

If Baby Williams makes an appearance at the festival, he or she will

have a lot to compete with. The selections range from old favorites

and Oscar nominees and winners to locally-produced features and

shorts, foreign films, as well as big buzz documentaries.

The festival gets started with a kick-off/opening night party and

screening of the thriller "Wilderness Survival for Girls" at the State

Museum. The directorial team – husband and wife Kim Roberts and Eli

Despres – will be present to share their filmmaking experiences. "When

programming the opening film, it’s like bringing you an appetizer,"

says Williams. "It should get you excited for the rest of the meal.

This opening film is fun and exciting."

Closing the festival is a screening of the documentary, "Trudell," the

story of John Trudell, a Native American activist and poet. "It’s

deep," Williams says, "but it’s fully accessible. HBO is probably

going to show it in 2006 but you can see it here first." And, he adds,

director/producer Heather Rae will be at the screening for a Q & A –

something you can’t get on HBO.

In addition to film screenings, the festival offers seminars on the

craft of film making for would-be actors and screenwriters. Held on

Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1, the seminars are presented by

professionals working in the business. Seminars are $10 each.

On Saturday evening, April 30, fellow film buffs can schmooze with the

folks who make the films at the festival’s filmmaker party at the Mill

Hill Saloon, 300 South Broad Street, at 9:30 p.m., where you can catch

the buzz on what you shouldn’t miss the next day.

One of the movies getting a lot of buzz is "Anytown USA," which

receives its New Jersey premiere on Sunday, May 1, at 2 p.m. at the

State Museum. The film is a documentary about the 2003 mayoral

election in Bogota, New Jersey. Williams anticipates a possible

sell-out of the venue. "The candidate in the movie is Republican Steve

Lonegan, who is running for governor now," he says, adding that

because of high interest, they had to move the screening to a larger

venue.

Another movie that Williams expects to draw a sizable crowd is "Sister

Rose’s Passion," a 2004 Oscar nominee in the documentary short subject

category. The film, which will screen on Saturday, April 30, at 8 p.m.

at the State Museum, was executive produced by Hunterdon County

residents Peter LeDonne and Kellie Pyffer. The documentary tells the

story of Sister Rose Thering’s determination to fight anti-Semitism,

which led her to take an active part in Vatican II – a major

ecumenical council from 1962 to 1965, which gave voice to liberalizing

concepts within the Catholic church – and also to denounce Church

doctrine blaming the Jews for Jesus’ death. Both LeDonne and Pyffer

will be attending the screening.

There are other New Jersey connections at the festival, including "Art

of a New Library," which focuses on the artists who contributed to the

new Princeton Public Library. The film has a screening on Saturday,

April 30, at the Trenton Marriott at noon.

"We’re on to something," Williams says. "We’re attracting great

people. We have been a conduit for film makers, and we would like to

be a cog in the economic renaissance of the city."

So, where does Bobby DeNiro fit into all this? DeNiro makes his

appearance on the big screen at the Contemporary on Saturday, April

30, in his Oscar-winning role as Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese’s

"Raging Bull." As Williams says, "Most people have never seen it on

the big screen, and that’s really the way films were meant to be

seen."

Trenton Film Festival, Friday, April 29, through Sunday, May 1. $8 for

individual screenings; $75 for an all-access pass for the weekend.

Student and senior discounts are available, and a family screening on

Saturday costs just $3 per person. For a full schedule and screening

venues visit www.trentonfilmsociety.org. For more information call

609-396-6966.

Top Of Page
Festival Schedule

Friday, April 29

New Jersey State Museum, The Contemporary, Marriott Hotel, Gallery

125, 609-396-6966. First day for the second annual film festival in

Trenton features more than 65 short films, 25 feature films, seminars,

parties, and awards. Through May 1. All-access weekend pass, $75;

students and seniors, $60. Regular screenings, $8; seminars, $10;

kick-off party, $20. Visit www.trentonfilmfestival.org for

information, schedule, and tickets.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. In the

Public Service Series, nine short films will be shown for free.

"Adopting Ginny," 9:30 a.m.; "One Night Sit," 10 a.m.; "Gay Pioneers,"

10:30 a.m.; "Rue des Juifs (Jew Street), 11:15 a.m.; "Bottom of the

Ninth," noon; "Arise!, 1 p.m.; "A Doula Story," 2:15 p.m.; "Portrait

of Artists as Latino Immigrants," 3:30; and "Keeper of the Kohn," 4:15

p.m. 9:30 a.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Kick-off party. $20. 6 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of opening film, "Wilderness Survival for Girls," The

husband and wife directorial team of Kim Roberts and Eli Despres will

share their filmmaking experiences. $8. 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 30

Trenton Film Festival, Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton,

609-396-6966. Gotham Writers Workshop Screenwriting Seminar with Doug

Katz. $10. 9 a.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of documentary feature: "Dirty," preceded by short," Winner

Takes All." $8. 10 a.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of children’s feature "Fantasia. $3. 10 a.m.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening of the films of

the Trenton Film Society II. $8. 10 a.m.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Laurie

Scheer Screenwriting Seminar. $10. 11 a.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of documentary shorts "Why Shakespeare?," "Caught in Paint,"

"Art of a New Library," and "Urban Renewal is People Removal." $8.

Noon.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening of foreign

feature, "The Moonless Night," Albania. $8. Noon.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of documentary feature, "Seoul Train." $8. 12:30 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of narrative feature, "Home." $8. 2 p.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of documentary feature, "The Big Question,"Italy, preceded

by short "Caught in Paint." $8. 2 p.m.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening of foreign shorts

#1 include "All My Mothers," "Anna and the Soldier," "Savior," "Candy

Viola," and "Winner Takes All." $8. 2 p.m.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening

of feature Film "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession." $8. 2:30 p.m.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Independent Filmmaker Seminar: "Panasonic HD 24P Cameras" with Gary

Snyder of Clark Media. $10. 2:30 p.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of experimental films, "Tahara," "One Balloon," "Pillow

Girl," "Archive," "Strokes in Harmony," "Nod," "Another Song About

Love," "Late Winter Lament,"and "Light is Calling." $8. 3:40 p.m.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening of feature film,

"Baby It’s You," 1983. $8. 4 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of narrative feature, "Four Eyed Monsters." $8. 4 p.m.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening

of feature film "My Big Fat Independent Movie." $8. 5 p.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of narrative feature "Ocean Front Property." $8. 5:45 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of narrative shorts, "Blinding Goldfish," "Love, Mom," "How

I Got Lost," "Twitch," "The Big Thing," "The Decisive Moment," and

"The Netherbeast." $8. 5:45 p.m.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening of feature film,

"Raging Bull," 1980. $8. 6:30 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of Oscar short spotlight, "Sister Rose’s Passion." Executive

producers Peter LeDonne and Kellie Pyffer visit. $8. 8 p.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Screening of feature film "What’s So Funny?" $8. 8 p.m.

TFF Filmmaker Party, Mill Hill Saloon, 300 South Broad Street,

Trenton, 609-396-6966. Wilbo Wright and Wingdam perform. Free for pass

holders or $5 cover. 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 1

Trenton Film Festival, New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street,

Trenton, 609-396-6966. Foreign feature, "Sandstorm (Sha Chen Bao),

Canada. $8. 10 a.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Foreign

feature "Sense of Need," Israel. $8. 10 a.m.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Foreign

feature "Al’Leessi.".An African Actress." $8. 10 a.m.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening of narrative

shorts "Rock On," "Final Sale," "Life," "The Ends of the Alphabet,"

"My Scarlet Letter," and "Eyes Don’t Lie." $8. 10 a.m.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Narrative feature, "Year in

the Death of Jack Richards" preceded by short "Another Song About

Love." $8. Noon.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Documentary shorts "Roosevelt’s America," "More Than Two Million," and

"Freedom Road." $8. Noon.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Animation program "The Dust Bunny," "Skippy," "Flyaway," "Egg," "Red

Planet Blues," "Dentist," "Guard Dog," "Herman the Legal Labrador,"

and "Daikon Ashi." $8. Noon.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. "The

Craft of Acting," presented by David Gideon of The Actor’s Studio.

$10. Noon.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Documentary feature,

"Anytown, USA." $8. 2 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Foreign shorts "Holding On," "Painter of the Land," "Samuel Demango,"

and "Be Very Quiet." $8. 2 p.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Documentary feature film "This is a Game Ladies." $8. 2 p.m.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. "Acting

for the Camera" presented by June Ballinger and David White of Passage

Theater. $10. 2 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Foreign feature film "Rififi," 1954, France. $8. 4 p.m.

Contemporary Club, Trenton, 609-396-6966. Screening of narrative

shorts "Duck, Duck, Goose," "Wishtaker," "The Cowboy," "Soaked,"

"Focus Group," and "Cup of Joe." $8. 4 p.m.

Marriott Hotel, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Documentary feature film "Shivah For My Mother." $8. 4:30 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966. TFF

award ceremony and reception. Free. 6:30 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street, Trenton, 609-396-6966.

Closing film "Trudell". Director Heather Rae visits. Free. 7:45 p.m.

Top Of Page
A New Filmmaker Offers His Take on Film Noir

‘Cup of Joe," a narrative short with a film-noir style was written,

produced and directed by Michael McClure, a former actor and dancer

who is now co-owner of the Professional Center for the Arts (PCA) in

Hamilton. The movie, shot in a gritty black and white film noir style,

is about a vacuum cleaning salesman who is reexamining his life. "It’s

comedy-ish," says McClure. "On the darker comedy side. It is about a

guy in his mid-30s who is unhappy – thinking what he might have done

and what he could have done."

Every summer PCA offers a seven-day movie camp, where McClure and his

students write a script, shoot it, and edit it – all in one intensive

week. McClure submitted a couple of these student-produced films to

the Trenton Film Festival) but the committe ultimately selected

McClure’s "Cup of Joe."

McClure says the festival offers a filmmaker like himself excellent

exposure. "This whole business is about exposure and who you know. You

never know who is going to see your film. The other exciting thing

about a film festival is the opportunity to see what new film makers

are doing. Ninety percent of movies today are funded by the big

studios and their interest is getting as many people to pay their $8

to see the movie. It’s about product, big stars, broad humor.

Artistically, it’s not very satisfying. A film festival is all about

artistry."

er exciting thing

about a film festival is the opportunity to see what new film makers

are doing. Ninety percent of movies today are funded by the big

studios and their interest is getting as many people to pay their $8

to see the movie. It’s about product, big stars, broad humor.

Artistically, it’s not very satisfying. A film festival is all about

artistry."


Next Story


Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments