GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL 18th Annual Starts Wed, 25 - Sun, 29 March | Asbury Park, NJ
ASBURY PARK, NJ - Celebrating its 18th Anniversary, the artistic philosophy of the Garden State Film Festival is rooted in the celebration of the independent film genre and celebrates this spirit through dramatic screenings and unparalleled film collaborations attracting a diverse audience from around the world. From Wednesday, 25 - Sunday, 29 March 2020 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, GSFF unveils world premieres, Hollywood stars, industry panels, and as a nonprofit enterprise, serves as an added economic engine for Asbury Park’s vitality through art, commerce and culture. Make your plans to be a part of intriguing panel discussions and can’t miss parties, all held in numerous locations all over the city by the sea.
This year's notables include Linda Hamilton (Terminator) who will receive the Icon Award, Matthew Modine (Stranger Things) who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, Robert Patrick (Terminator) Patriot Award, Ashley Platz (Grey’s Anatomy) Rising Star Award, director Tara Wood Independent Spirit Award, David Burke Home Grown Hero Award, Perry Lang Renaissance Award, Rock & Roll Forever Foundation Broader Vision Award, Arianna Bocco Exceptional Women in Film, Robin Kampf Educator of the Year Award, Nick Falcone MVP, Jack Ford Honorary Chair, alongside films that feature John Goodman (The Big Lebowski), Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap), Jodie Foster (Taxi Driver), Dash Mihok (Ray Donovan), Uzo Abuda (Orange is the New Black), Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), Richard E. Grant (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), Devon Bostick (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Frank Stallone (Rocky), Cathy Moriarity (Raging Bull), M Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner), Xander Berekely (The Walking Dead), Jessica Siposa (DC’s Legend’s of Tomorrow), Joel McHale (Ted), Jason Mewes (Clerks), Supermodels Chanel Iman, Elsa Hosk, Jessica Stam, Nadine Leopold, John Carter Cash (Walk the Line), Sam Waterston (Law & Order), Catherine Hardwicke (Director, Lords of Dogtown), Lou Gossett Jr (Officer and a Gentlemen), Evan Handler (Sex and the City), Gary Pastore (The Sopranos), Barry Primus (The Irishman), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Chad L. Coleman (The Walking Dead), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), Tate Donovan (Argo), memorial music video for Avicii by Chris Martin (Coldplay), original music by Patrick Carney (The Black Keys), The Bouncing Souls, members of Gaslight Anthem, Travis Barker (Blink 182), James Arthur (musician), NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal’s award-winning film Foster Boy and many more.
This 5-day event brings a large number of producers, directors, actors, investors, distributors, and industry talent to the State of New Jersey, the birthplace of American filmmaking.
In one weekend, you can enjoy over 240 films on all subjects, in a variety of lengths, showing in numerous locations all around Asbury Park, plus parties, celebrities, seminars, networking, free shuttle rides, and lots more. It’s a fast-paced weekend of non-stop fun for all ages. Films are shown in two-hour-long screening blocks that include a variety of works like shorts, feature-length, music videos, and trailers. Each screening block concludes with a question and answers session with the filmmakers and actors. Other events held throughout the festival include panel discussions and seminars on topics such as SAG-AFTRA Contracts 101 for Filmmakers, ESports & Virtual Reality, Demystifying SAG-AFTRA for Actors, Directors Panel entitled Small Screen, Big Screen: Directing Choices Different or not, and film distribution. Planning ahead and using the Garden State Film Festival App will help you not miss a thing. For more information including schedule, tickets, and travel visit https://www.gsff.org
MEDIA REQUESTS Interested media who wish to interview Garden State Film Festival Executives, film talent, obtain screening reviews or industry entry please contact WORKHOUSE, CEO Adam Nelson via email email@example.com or telephone +1 212.645.8006
GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL | OPENING NIGHT FILM Marco, 12, is obsessed with his iPad and hardly leaves the house. But when his grandmother dies and his grandfather moves in, Marco's life is turned upside-down and he's forced...to go play outside. "Nonno" (Grandpa) introduces him to bocce ball and to the neighborhood crew of old Italian men who play daily at the local court. With sport, laughter, and love, Marco finds a connection to other people and rounds up a team of neighborhood kids to take on Marco's grandfather and his pals. Directed by Julio Vincent Gambuto. Screens Thursday, 26 March at 8pm at The Paramount Theater located at 1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.
TICKETS $15 in advance or $17 at the door (+ venue service charge) for a two-hour screening block, and $50 in advance or $55 at the door (+ venue service charge) for the multipass that gets you into events including the Friday Night Gala Cocktail Party. You can buy a ticket for a block or get the unlimited all-access Multi-Pass for maximum fun. With the pass you can attend as many films and events as you wish, plus the Friday Night Gala Party (Awards Banquet not included). Single block screening tickets are $17, All-access MultiPass passes are $55, formally the weekend pass- we are now more than a weekend!
BLACK TIE GALA The festival ends with Closing Night Black-Tie Gala Awards Dinner on Sunday, March 29. Join GSFF at The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel for this exciting evening where the “best” in various categories of films and celebrity honorees are recognized. All events are open to the public.
NEW JERSEY PREMIERE A documentary that focuses on the first 21 years of Quentin Tarantino's career and includes interviews with his frequent collaborators including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Diane Kruger, Christopher Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Lucy Liu, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Eli Roth, and Robert Forster to name a few. Directed by Tara Wood. Screens Thursday, 26 March at 7pm at The Paramount Theater located at 1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.
NEW JERSEY PREMIERE Winner of 10 awards including Best of the Fest, Best Narrative Feature, and Best Feature Film at festivals across the nation, Shaquille O’Neal presents Foster Boy, a pulse-pounding cinematic legal drama that activates reform against corruption in foster care. Michael Trainer (Matthew Modine) is a lawyer at the center of a trial in which a for-profit foster care agency is accused of putting a known sex offender into the same foster home as his young client Jamal (Shane Paul McGhie), with catastrophic results. Michael, a successful litigator with a long career protecting corporate interests, at first wants nothing to do with Jamal’s case until a Judge forces him to accept it. Initially, he sees Jamal as a kid off the street looking to grab a piece of corporate profits. But when Jamal refuses to settle the case for any amount of money, Michael begins his representation in earnest. Louis Gossett, Jr. (Watchmen, An Officer and a Gentleman) also appears as the judge overseeing the case. As their work together reveals the horrifying depth of the corrupt and abusive for-profit foster care agency, Michael is transformed from cynical skeptic to fierce warrior in the pursuit of justice. Amy Brenneman and Evan Handler round out a formidable cast. Screens Saturday, 28 March at 4:45pm at The Paramount Theater located at 1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.
Written by Jay Paul Deratany and based on one of the most formative cases of his law career, Foster Boy brings to light the dark corners of the foster care system and hopes to start a national dialogue concerning the state of the system. Foster care run for profit is permitted in the majority of the states reporting. Foster Boy seeks to throw light on the outrages of this little-known system – and create momentum for urgent corrective action by communities, states, and the federal government. Join film producer Shaquille O’Neal and step up to help thousands of foster kids across America. Follow the film online + take action --> https://www.fosterboy.com
NEW JERSEY PREMIERE An inside look into the fascinating life, career, and survival of one of the most unknown famous entertainers in Hollywood. Featuring never-before-seen interviews with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Dee Williams, Talia Shire, Duff McKagan, John Oates, and many more. Directed by Derek Wayne Johnson. Screens Sunday, 29 March at 12:15pm at Asbury Park Senior Center located at 1201 Springwood Avenue, 2nd Floor, Asbury Park, NJ.
A MUST SEE! Asbury Park is stocked with local and legendary voices who resonate with creativity that is simple, imaginative, and fresh. It is a place that burns with diverse artistic expression, crackles with an authentic, off-center spirit. From the start, Asbury has concentrated on breaking revolutionary new ground through a wellspring of music, gay, and concrete culture. Meet the creators who have made it the center of its own unlike anywhere else in the world. Featuring Asbury Lanes Founder Mel Stultz, Parlor Gallery’s Jenn Hampton, Filmmaker/DJ Adam Worth, Wooden Walls artist Pork Chop, LGBTQ activist Geena Alessia Buono, Renaissance Woman Tina Kerekes, Artist/DJ Neil O’Brien, Wonder Bar’s Lance Larson, early Springsteen manager Tinker West, and famed retired Police Lt. George Corbin, the shorts spotlight a set of pioneers who helped expand the defining spirit that makes Asbury Park an attractive destination. Presented by Tito's Handmade Vodka. Conceived & Produced by Adam Nelson, Directed by William DeVizia and Michael Lucio Sternbach. Screens Saturday, 28 March at 5:15pm at The Asbury Hall located at The Asbury Hotel at 210 Fifth Avenue, 1st floor, Asbury Park, NJ.
WORLD PREMIERE Punk icons and New Jersey natives, The Bouncing Souls, celebrate 30 years as a band, leading up to their big "Stoked for the Summer" show in Asbury Park. Directed by Pete Bune. Screens Saturday, 28 March at 1:45pm at The Paramount Theater located at1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.
EAST COAST PREMIERE Starring Linda Hamilton, two small-town buddies and their accidental hostage careen across the1970s Southwest on a treasure hunt turned crime spree.Easy Does It is a freewheeling road adventure about unlikely friendships and the giddy futility of chasing the American dream. Directed by Will Addison. Screens Sunday, 29 March at 2:45pm at The Paramount Theater located at 1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.
An inside look at the Punk movement from those who were in it and helped form it. Archival footage edited together brings this story together in an informational way. FeaturingThe Ramones, Howie Pyro, The Cramps, Hilly Kristal (Owner of CBGB), Dead Boys, Seymore Stein, Iggy Pop, Max’s Kansas City, Bob Gruen, Bebe Buell, Stiv Bators, Marcia Resnick, Danny Fields, The New York Dolls, Peter Crowley, The Clash, Johnny Thunders, Wayne Country, Billy Idol, Roberta Bayley, Mick Rock, Jim Jarmusch, Nick Zedd, Leg’s McNeil, Lee Black Childers, David Godlis, Debbie Harry, Alan Vega, Penny Arcade, William Burroughs, Television, Patti Smith Group, John Holmstrom, Dead Boys, Stive Bators, Divine, Talking Heads, Lenny Kaye, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Wayne Kramer MC5, Sex Pistols, and Malcolm McClaren to name a few. Directed by Beth Lasch. Screens Saturday, 28 March at 8:15pm at Asbury Hall located at The Asbury Hotel at 210 Fifth Avenue, 1st floor, Asbury Park, NJ.
NEW JERSEY PREMIERE This stylized, animated thriller, inspired by noir classics, the film features the talents and likenesses of supermodels Chanel Iman, Elsa Hosk, Jessica Stam, Nadine Leopold, and actor Nolan Funk. When a mysterious briefcase is stolen, a young woman (Chanel Iman) battles to reclaim it while her ex-boyfriend and his team of ruthless female assassins do everything in their power to destroy her. Burning Bright is the story of a young woman who has given away her power to an unworthy man and must fight to recapture it before she loses her life and possibly her soul. Directed by Aaron Bierman. Screens Saturday, 28 March at 11am at The Paramount Theater located at 1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.
NEW JERSEY PREMIERE 1972. Vietnam war protests and racial tension is sizzling in the late summer heat of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Billy Mitchell (Devon Bostick, Diary of a Wimpy Kid), a recent college graduate, spends the summer working on an old-world mental institution run by his psychiatrist father played by Tate Donovan (Argo). Billy falls in love with Virginia, played byNatalia Dyer (Velvet Buzzsaw, Stranger Things), a patient who is possibly crazy, or perhaps she is the only sane person Billy has in his world. Billy's best friend. Nigel (Marchant Davis) becomes involved with a radical civil rights terrorism movement against Tuscaloosa's power elite, which includes Billy's father. Billy is torn between Nigel, his father and his cronies, and Virginia who is planning her escape with or without Billy. Directed by Philip Harder. Screens Saturday, 28 March at 5:15pm at The Asbury Hall located at The Asbury Hotel at 210 Fifth Avenue, 1st floor, Asbury Park, NJ.
When Alice Guy-Blaché completed her first film in 1896 Paris, she production in 1897, and her subsequent illustrious 20-year career in France and in the United States, as the founder of her own studio right here in Ft Lee, NJ. As writer, director, and/or producer of 1,000 films, she was veritably erased from history. Until now.... narrated by Jodie Foster. Directed by Pamela B. Green. Screens Saturday, 28 March at 11:30am at The Berkeley Hotel, Continental Ballroom located at 1401 Ocean Avenue, 2nd floor, Asbury Park, NJ.
EAST COAST PREMIERE The story of how a tiny, broke Silicon Valley startup slew giants of the movie rental world, warded off Amazon and forced movie making and distribution into the digital age. Directed by Shawn Cauthen. Screens Saturday, 28 March at Noon at Asbury Park City Council Chambers located at 1 Municipal Plaza, Asbury Park, NJ (entrance on Bangs Ave at Mai Street).
Based on a true story, Miss Virginia stars Emmy® winner Uzo Aduba as a struggling single mother who is losing her fifteen-year-old son to the rough streets of Washington, DC. Unwilling to see him drop out and deal drugs, she places him in a private school. But when she can’t afford tuition, she launches a movement to change the system that is destroying him and thousands like him. Attacked and threatened by those who don’t want change—from corrupt politicians to the local drug lord—Virginia must discover depths of strength she never knew she had. Emmy® nominee Vanessa Williams (Soul Food), Emmy® nominee Aunjanue Ellis (When They See Us), Amirah Vann (Underground), Emmy® nominee Adina Porter (American Horror Story), Niles Fitch (This is Us), Nadji Jeter (Wonder), and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Modine(Stranger Things, Full Metal Jacket) round out Miss Virginia’s stellar cast. Directed by R.J Daniel Hanna. Screens Saturday, 28 March at 2:30pm at the Jersey Shore Arts Center located at 66 South Main Street, Ocean Grove, NJ.
THE GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL was born in 2002 after a chance encounter in a Sea Girt, New Jersey grocery store by film industry veteran Diane Raver and the well-known Hollywood actor Robert Pastorelli. Through their deep ties to Hollywood, Mr. Pastorelli and Ms. Raver were able to bring an all-encompassing event to the State of New Jersey. It premiered in 2003 and was immediately deemed a huge success. Since that time, industry notables such as Glenn Close, Christopher Lloyd, Batman producer Michael Uslan, Austin Pendleton, Kurtwood Smith, James Gandolfini, Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen, Lainie Kazan, Diane Ladd, Laura Dern, Bebe Neuwirth, Armand Asante, Sally Struthers and our biggest supporter Ed Asner as well as others have lent their support. The artistic philosophy of the Garden State Film Festival is rooted in the celebration of the independent film genre and the creation of a forum where local and other independent filmmakers can exhibit their work. It was also created to pay tribute to New Jersey’s legacy as the birthplace of the American filmmaking industry in Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratories where he invented the first film cameras and projectors, to Fort Lee, where the original studios were founded. Our event provides novice and aspiring filmmakers, actors, and others interested in careers in the film business, the opportunity to meet and network with industry professionals in an atmosphere conducive to learning and mentoring. Further, we are happy to present each spring in Asbury Park and to serve as an added engine for the city’s vitality through arts, commerce, and culture. For more information visit https://www.gsff.org
“GSFF is proud to assist in providing advocacy and support to advance public education. We believe in the transformative power of arts education to substantially improve children’s lives and academic outcomes, and prepare them for 21st-century careers. This year GSFF kicks off a new student submission category, “New Jersey Hometown Documentary Short”. This new student category was added to the festival following the collaboration of GSFF with The New Jersey School Boards Association, Artists Alike Studios, the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission and Steven Van Zandt’s Teach Rock initiative and Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. We are thrilled to have so many respected leaders in the filmmaking industry with us in Asbury Park. The legendary TV personality, Jack Ford, is this year’s GSFF Honorary Chair.” Executive Director, Lauren Concar Sheehy said.
Founder Diane Raver said, “GSFF is screening 240 films. Further, we are happy to present each spring in Asbury Park and to serve as an added engine for the city’s vitality through arts, commerce, and culture. GSFF also has an annual statewide student field trip with this year's topic on Virtual Reality & E-Sports. We even have a free ADA accessible Jitney service all weekend to make getting to screening locations easy. The films are great and there is a selection for all tastes, from films about veterans to thrillers, shorts, animated offerings, children’s films, documentaries, and so much more. There is something for everyone! Come one, come all, it only happens once a year and we don’t want you to miss it.”
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