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Montclair Film: new screenings announced

in Arts/Montclair Film

“Coming of Age in Suburbia,” a retrospective of movies about youth in American suburbs, and “Filmmakers Local 505,” a new initiative partnering with local filmmakers to showcase movies by Montclair and New Jersey artists, will be featured in the June lineup for Cinema505.

“Coming Of Age In Suburbia, Part I” will show films that, according to a release, show “representations of suburban youth culture down the decades, featuring films that express the eternal conflict between the constraints of small town living and the experience of being young and, for the first time, confronting the values and expectations of the American dream.”

June 2 and 3: “Donnie Darko: The 4K Restoration” (2001), directed by Richard Kelly

June 3 and 4: “The Virgin Suicides” (2000), directed by Sofia Coppola

June 9 and 10: “Over the Edge” (1979), directed by Jonathan Kaplan

June 10 and 11: “My Girl” (1991), directed by Howard Zieff

June 23 and 24: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012), directed by by Stephen Chbosky

June 24 and 25: “River’s Edge” (1987), directed by Tim Hunter

June 29 and 30: “Ghost World” (2001), directed by Terry Zwigoff

The Filmmakers Local 505 initiative offers local filmmakers the opportunity to share new films with local audiences, and also offers a revenue-sharing opportunity, with a percentage of all ticket revenue given to the filmmakers. This program is open for submissions on an ongoing basis by contacting with inquiries. The inaugural line-up will feature a week-long run of Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl’s “Letters from Baghdad,” which recently screened to a sold-out audience at the 2017 Montclair Film Festival.

Finally, the lineup includes a special screening of the classic “Thelma & Louise,” co-presented by Watchung Booksellers, in conjunction with the launch of “Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge,” with author Becky Aikman in attendance for a post screening Q&A.

The Films

June 7 and 8: “The Black Monk” with Q&A, directed by Marylou & Jerome Bongiorno

June 14 and 15: “Saving the Great Swamp: Battle to Defeat the Jetport” with Q&A, directed by Scott Morris

June 16-22: “Letters from Baghdad” with Q&A, directed by Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl

Special Screening

June 28 and 29: “Thelma & Louise,” directed by Ridley Scott

Co-presented by Watchung Booksellers in conjunction with the launch of “Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge” with author Becky Aikman in attendance for a post screening Q&A on June 28 only.

“We’re excited to open our doors year-round and welcome film lovers to our new home at Cinema505,” said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall. “The inaugural programs represent a wonderful range of stories and storytellers that we hope will inspire audiences to visit us often.”

The complete lineup, including showtimes and tickets, is at

Montclair film: fun, funny, fundraising on Red Nose Day

in Arts/Montclair Film/Nonprofit
Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall, left, and MF board officer Luke Parker-Bowles are hosting a bake sale and film marathon to raise money for Red Nose Day. Courtesy Neil Grabowsky.


Abbot and Costello.

Laurel and Hardy.

The Blues Brothers.

French and Saunders.

Parker Bowles and Hall.

Luke Parker Bowles, board officer of Montclair Film, and Tom Hall, executive director of Montclair Film, banter and bounce jokes off one another without letting up.

They are joining together in comedy to raise money for Red Nose Day USA, a charity that provides protection for children throughout the world, including America.

Inspired by the U.K’s Comic Relief and Red Nose Day, Red Nose Day debuted in America in 2015. NBC will hold Red Nose Day programming, and people across the U.S. will wear red noses and raise money to honor it. For more information on the organization, visit

Fundraising activities by the duo in Montclair include a bake sale, to be held today, May 25, from 10 a.m. to noon, outside of Local Coffee, 107 Watchung Plaza, and then a 24-hour movie marathon. Each man will watch 12 movies, with money raised per movie, similar to the way people raise funds for each mile in a marathon.

Posters for the Red Nose bake sale on Thursday, May 25, are all over Montclair. Courtesy Neil Grabowsky.

Red-nose-themed baked goods will be provided by the Little Daisy Bake Shop, the Pie Store, and Local Coffee, and sold by Parker Bowles and Hall at the stand. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to their Facebook campaign, because all Facebook donations are eligible for matching contributions from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The movie marathon is not for a Montclair audience, though: Parker-Bowles and Hall are raising money by watching 24 hours’ worth of films and live-streaming their reactions.

And they can’t stop trying to top one another.

“To be frank, the reason for a second year, is that I won big time last year and Tom’s never got over it. He’s a bitter man,” said Parker Bowles.

Parker Bowles, who heads BAFTA New York (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), said that Hall accused him of raising more money because he knows more celebrities.

“Renée Zellweger and Emma Thompson both donated to my campaign,” Parker Bowles said.

Hall said that while he didn’t have famous people he had more people in total “than those fancy pants movie stars.”

Last year, the duo chose films for one another. This year, they chose their own: Hall focused on films about children, and Parker Bowles chose comedies, “because I’m hilarious,” he said. “It made sense that I should learn more funny over 24 hours.”

Hall, who will screen his 24 hours’ worth of films at Cinema505, has raised $5,672 so far. Parker Bowles, who will screen movies “in my poky little office above the hardware store on Park Street,” has raised $4,387. They will both live-stream their experience, answering questions and topping each other’s jokes.

Their film-watching is described as a “battle” in Montclair Film materials.

One man will get the glory, but the children will take the prize.

Hall’s page is, Parker Bowles’ page is, and their battle is waged here: .

Montclair Film Festival winds down with Cinema 505 party

in Arts/Montclair Film/Montclair Film Festival


A large crowd turned out Saturday night for the Filmmakers’ Party at Cinema 505. PHOTO COURTESY TONY TURNER




The Montclair Film Festival had its closing night with a housewarming party of sorts.

At the end-of-festival filmmakers’ party at Cinema 505, it was a packed house: “cheek by jowl,” as Executive Director Bob Feinberg termed it on Tuesday, with filmmakers, donors and patrons mingling in high spirits.

The May 6 Filmmakers’ Party was held in Montclair Film’s new home, Cinema 505, on Bloomfield Avenue.

“I think it’s been great. We’ve had very enthusiastic audiences,” said Evelyn Colbert, board president of Montclair Film. She noted that the previous day’s rain had not impacted any of the scheduled events. “And it’s so fabulous to have everyone in our new space,” she said of Cinema 505.

“I mean, everyone who works on the festival is extremely passionate about it,” said Garrett Sergeant, whose firm, Simple DCP, has worked with the Montclair Film Festival for three years. He said that the festival had the right mix of up-and-coming filmmakers and seasoned veterans. “I always support festivals that support that mix of talent,” he said. “Plus, they take really good care of their filmmakers,” he added.

Filmmaker Allison McGourty was presenting a film at the festival for the first time. Her film, “American Epic,” is to be aired on PBS later in the month. And the audiences at the festival had given “American Epic” a very warm reception, she said: “The audience clapped after every song and gave us a standing ovation,” she said.

And Brendan O’Brien, director of “Fry Day,” had just arrived in Montclair that day and was looking forward to his film being screened on the last day of the festival.

Wesley Jones and his family had a total of two films in the festival. One was Jones’s own film, “Cat Killer.” The other was “The Indubitable Molly Davis,” directed by Jones’s 15-year-old daughter Lily, a student at Montclair Kimberley Academy. The film won a special jury prize in the festival’s Emerging Filmmakers competition for middle and high school students. And both films, Jones said, got a warm reception from the crowds.

The ground floor of Cinema 505 was packed with filmmakers, donors, support staff and the general public, as hors d’oeuvres were handed around – including hot dogs, White Castle sliders and crab cakes.

So what was the mood among the film festival organizers on Tuesday, after the festival was all over?

“Everyone is really, very excited,” Feinberg said.

The festival volunteers met for an end-of-festival party at the Pig and Prince on Sunday evening, after the last film had been screened. “And it was a combination of excitement and exhaustion, and a little of both,” Feinberg remembered.

The general consensus at the party was that the festival had been a massive success. “Our only frustration was, we’ve already outgrown our new space,” Feinberg said on Tuesday, referring to the massive turnout at the Filmmakers’ Party.

When asked for his own favorite moments from the festival, Feinberg immediately pointed to Bill Nye. “We sold out the Wellmont, there was a line around the block,” Feinberg said. Another favorite was the screening of “Megan Leavey,” the story of a Marine and her military service dog. Feinberg had admitted via email that he had tears in his eyes during the screening.

So what’s next?

The crew had been working virtually non-stop for the past 10 days. “People will take a couple of days to regroup,” Feinberg said. As of Tuesday, however, Montclair Film was in the planning phases for the rest of the year’s events, including the summer film series.

Ex-mayor’s ‘Hello’ captures creative process of guitarist Lee Ranaldo

in Montclair Film/Montclair Film Festival
Lee Ranaldo, left, a legendary electric guitarist and former member of the group Sonic Youth, was filmed working with record producer Raul Fernandez on a new album in Hoboken for “HELLO HELLO HELLO : LEE RANALDO : ELECTRIC TRIM,” which was co-produced and edited by former Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried. PHOTO COURTESY OF FRED RIEDEL

MFF: Friday, May 5, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 6, 7:45 p.m.
Clairidge Theater, 486 Bloomfield Ave.


Former Township Mayor Jerry Fried is pleased to return to his roots as a filmmaker and to have a work he co-produced and edited, a documentary on legendary guitarist Lee Ranaldo, premiere close to home at the Montclair Film Festival.

Fried and Fred Riedel produced “HELLO HELLO HELLO : LEE RANALDO: ELECTRIC TRIM,” which chronicles the creative process behind the musician’s new album.

“I’m just as proud as can be and happy that a film that I made with Fred, a film that we made together, is showing at the Clairidge Cinema, which is like a three-minute walk from my house,” Fried said. “I’m just really happy.”

Fried and his wife, Karen Nielsen-Fried, knew Ranaldo long before his rise to fame as a member of the experimental indie rock group Sonic Youth. They were all students at the State University of New York-Binghamton in the mid-1970s, studying painting together at that time, according to Fried.

“And Lee went on to become a rock ’n’ roll star,” Fried said.

“HELLO HELLO HELLO,” which took director Riedel about a year to shoot, depicts how electric guitar master Ranaldo worked with record producer Raul Fernandez, who is from Barcelona, Spain, and novelist Jonathan Lethem as well as other collaborators to make the album “Electric Trim,” which hasn’t been released yet.

The camera acts as a “fly on the wall” as Ranaldo and Fernandez passionately and painstakingly experiment and try different approaches to the music, working with other musicians and laboring over a mixing board. Ranaldo and Lethem also team up to write lyrics for the album, another process on view in “HELLO HELLO HELLO.”

Fried said that he’s pleased that the “festival appreciated the way the film shows collaboration, and particularly artistic collaborations, in a very unique way.”

“It was just kind of a magical collaboration where the three of them kind of put their egos aside and just were all-in on it, this work of art,” Fried said.

Riedel also knew Fried and Ranaldo from SUNY-Binghamton, and Riedel and the guitarist over the years remained in close contact as friends. Riedel approached Fried about the film, and the editing process took about a year. Fried said he was also involved in shooting some of the scenes, traveling to Maine to interview Lethem, for example.

“It was one of the most fascinating conversations I’ve had in my life,” Fried said. “He’s a brilliant guy.”

In addition to his stint as Montclair mayor from 2008 to 2012, Fried spent 30 years in communications and advertising, in part editing commercials. He said he is glad to be back to filmmaking and editing following his forays into local government and on Madison Avenue.

Riedel captured Ranaldo and Fernandez working on the album in a studio in Hoboken, Echo Canyon West, that Sonic Youth has used over the years, according to Fried. Riedel wanted the studio footage to be nitty-gritty and have a “black-and-white look,” Fried said. Those sections are in contrast to colorful animated wave forms — similar to what one would see on Pro Tools digital-audio software, which is used for sound production and recording — that have been incorporated into the film, Fried said.

“We really wanted to focus on the sort of gritty realism of the creative process and contrast that with … animated sections where there are almost sound paintings, which are based on the way music-editing programs look, ” Fried said.

Ranaldo is slated to attend the Saturday night screening of “HELLO HELLO HELLO” and perform several songs from his new album, according to Fried.

MFF: Former NBA star Kenny Anderson shows the good, bad and ugly of retirement in ‘Mr. Chibbs’

in Montclair Film/Montclair Film Festival
‘Mr. Chibbs’ follows former NBA star Kenny Anderson, center, as he deals with retirement and grapples with the sins of his past as he looks to the future.
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Abramorama/BMG Brokers

‘Mr. Chibbs’
Saturday April 29, 2:45 p.m.
Sunday, April 30, 4:45 p.m.
Clairidge Theater
486 Bloomfield Ave.

by Andrew Garda

Kenny Anderson was an NBA player. Kenny Anderson is becoming a life coach.

The journey from the first sentence to the second is what “Mr. Chibbs,” a new documentary featuring the transition from professional basketball player to dad, coach and regular citizen, is all about.

Anyone who has followed basketball should be familiar with Anderson. A high school phenom from Queens, New York, Anderson dominated while at Georgia Tech and then played professionally for 15 years, from 1991 to 2006.

Once a guy like Anderson leaves the court, though, we lose track of him. That’s when things can get interesting, and that’s what director Jill Campbell was attracted to.

“I met him 10 years into retirement in a major midlife crisis,” she said. “To see what an athlete actually goes through in retirement and how Kenny really had to reconcile who he was going to be for the rest of his life. I thought it was a really interesting place to start a documentary.”

For Anderson, the movie was an opportunity to help people deal with issues like depression, lack of direction and fatherhood.

“I’m just trying to pay it forward and try to help others,” Anderson said. “And tell people how I felt going through this process.”

What was most important to him was being honest, though, even when that honesty was ugly.

That made things easier — though not easy — for Campbell. Anderson is so engaging that it was hard at times to show him in a negative light.

In one scene in the documentary, Anderson is coaching his son’s South Florida Elite youth basketball team and they lose an important game. Anderson’s reaction is raw, rough and will be uncomfortable to watch for some. Campbell knew it had to be in the movie — it was too good a moment — but also knew it was a risk because it’s not a great moment for Anderson.

In the end, the scene has garnered some of the biggest laughs as the movie has played in festivals. In retrospect, that makes perfect sense, she said.

“It’s really real,” Campbell said. “And it’s what really happens when you coach.”

As far as Anderson, the coach himself, was concerned, showing the uncomfortable moments was the point.

“I was telling the truth and not sugarcoating it.”

Over the course of the film, which spans four years, Anderson travels and debates whether he will pursue a career in coaching basketball or perhaps move in another direction.

At the time of the film’s release, Anderson says he leans much more toward being a life coach — someone who helps people find positive direction in their life while avoiding bad choices. His time talking to young ballplayers while filming made him feel as though his calling should be helping kids avoid the type of pitfalls he fell into.

Anderson knows he didn’t have it easy, and knows a lot of children — basketball players or not — have it just as bad, if not worse. If he can help just a few by mentoring them, teaching them or just being a shoulder to lean on,

Anderson feels as though his legacy would be much more important than titles or wins.

It’s part of a humble point of view he has begun to cultivate later in life. Even the choice of the title for the movie —Mr. Chibbs — comes from a humble source. That’s the name his family used to call him when he was a baby, and his mother would call him when he got a bit too full of himself later in life.

Campbell feels Anderson will be an easy person for audiences to connect with regardless of their background because of how honest he is about his flaws.

“In life we’re all on that journey, all circling, all trying to figure it out,” she said. “That’s why I feel like we can all relate to Kenny.”


MFF: Montclair kids say “Action!”

in Arts/Montclair Film/Montclair Film Festival/Montclair Kimberley Academy/Montclair Public Schools
A screenshot from “Personal Space,” one of the films in the Emerging Filmmakers competition. The film, produced by a team of Montclair High School students, won the grand prize for narrative in the “Visionaries” division for high school students. PHOTO COURTESY OF AIDAN CHAMPEAU

The Montclair Film Festival includes a chance for young filmmakers in New Jersey and beyond to shine.
Each year, the festival offers the Emerging Filmmakers competition for students in fourth grade through their senior year of high school.
The competition has three levels: “Cinemaniacs,” for grades four through six, “Storytellers,” for grades seven through nine, and “Visionaries,” for grades 10 through 12.
“We got a lot of great submissions … really a range of submissions,” said Sue Hollenberg, the education director for the festival.
The majority of the 90 entries were in the Visionaries division, she said.
The festival announced this year’s winners in April. Of the 18 winning entries, five were from students at schools in Montclair.
Besides the entrants, a panel of 15 local students served as the junior jury for the contest.
“Personal Space” brought home the grand prize for narrative film. Aidan Champeau, the film’s director, was part of a team of Montclair High School students. The rest of the crew included Lucia Ledesma, Jake Weinberg, Lilli Herrick, Jacob Manthy, Petra Fox and Jake Diamond.
Champeau, 16, is a sophomore at MHS. He has entered in the Emerging Filmmaker competition before, and has also worked with most of the other team members before.
“It’s basically a conversation between two people,” Champeau said of the film. “It’s probably the nicest thing I’ve ever made.” His film preferences tend to go more toward horror and dark comedy.
Getting the film made and submitted on time was a bit of a challenge, he recalled, because he and the team were working on another, longer film project as well.
And then there was the subject matter. “Are they going to like this movie that takes place in a car?” he wondered.
The filming didn’t go off completely without a hitch: the crew had set up filming at Mills Reservation, only to have the police arrive and tell them that they were not allowed to film there. So the rest of the shoot had to be completed in someone’s driveway.
Lily Jones, 15, is a freshman at Montclair Kimberley Academy. Her film, “The Indubitable Molly Davis,” won the special jury prize for comedy, sharing that honor with “Planet of the Dogs” by MHS student Owen Plofker. “We filmed it all in like two weekends,” Jones recalled during a phone interview.
In the film, Molly Davis wants to adopt a dog from a high-kill shelter. She sets out flyers around town advertising her services as a babysitter. A wealthy family hires her to be a sitter — for their pug.
The film is based a little bit on Jones’s own family life: the starring pug is the Joneses’ own dog.
Jones has entered the festival before. She has done a lot of stop-motion animation, she said, but the live actors of “The Indubitable Molly Davis” represented a new direction for her. The idea for the movie came to her when she took the film festival’s screenwriting class earlier this year.
She wasn’t expecting to be on-camera, so when she had to step in as one of the actors at the last moment, she didn’t have much time to memorize her lines. “I ended up having to re-shoot it, weeks later, after all the snow had melted,” she recalled.
Lily isn’t the only member of the Jones family with a film about animals in the Montclair Film Festival; her father, Wesley Jones, has his own short film, “Cat Killer,” in the main festival.
When asked what she hoped people took away from the film, Jones said that she especially hoped it would make people think about the situation with high-kill animal shelters.

Emerging Filmmaker Competition
Winning films
Saturday, April 29, 11 a.m.
Wellmont Theater
5 Seymour St.

It’s garbage and it’s art: Montclair Film Festival’s Spotlight Project, the Climate Campaign Partnership

in Environment/Montclair Film/Montclair Film Festival/Uncategorized
Students stand behind the art made of plastic bags and water bottles. It will be installed at Montclair Film’s new building at 505 Bloomfield Ave.
Courtesy Neil Grabowsky.


This year, for the second time, the Montclair Film Festival sponsored a Spotlight Project for local teens. Last year’s project focused on immigration and was geared to high school students. This year, Montclair Film (the organization’s new name) sponsored the Climate Campaign Partnership, an integrated STEAM program with the Montclair Cooperative School and National Geographic’s series on climate change, “Years of Living Dangerously.” The program kicked off in February with screenings of the series. In March, participating students received a Student Action Kit containing scripts and templates to help them contact representatives about climate change.

In April, students began attending a series of workshops, led by MFF Director of Education Sue Hollenberg and art teacher and activist Debbie Harner, to create a giant public art installation using plastic bags, bottles and refuse. The art will be installed in MF’s new building at 505 Bloomfield Ave.

Harner said in an email, “The beauty of art is its power to involve people. In this case, our Climate Campaign art installation worked on two fronts. Over the last few weeks it brought kids from our community together to bring this work to life. It was an ongoing process and conversation. The second event will be its debut which will engage viewers to come closer, learn more about this important issue and, hopefully, get involved.”

Students make Earth Day signs. Courtesy Sue Hollenberg.

The conceptual art work students create, Harner wrote, uses plastic water bottles to represent air, and plastic bags and plastic mesh bags to represent water. “Both air and water absorb CO2. These plastics are the tangible things that are being used to illustrate CO2. The innocence of these vernacular objects creates a powerful message when forced to understand its underlining reality. Many students will come together during a series of workshops to add to the size of the piece. The plastic water bottles become unrecognizable due to the sheer number of bottles diminishing its original form.”

Hollenberg said that people will look at the art at first and see it as “really beautiful, then realize it’s all garbage.” The three workshops held to create the art were an open invitation to the community, she said. The program had targeted high school students, then the leaders discovered that parents brought younger children and “kids of all ages were into it, and found stuff to do.”

The workshops had different stations set up. At one station, students made signs for Earth Day. Hollenberg said she was impressed by the students’ focus and the social relevance of the signs they made. At another station, students made art out of plastic, with “the hammering, the squishing of the bottles.”

Students were not surprised the materials could be made into art, Hollenberg said. “They just started hammering away. The little ones were jumping in bags of bottles.”

Though the Student Action Kit suggests some political action, for Hollenberg, climate change “shouldn’t be a political issue. This is about their future.”

Debbie Harner, standing, assists students making art out of plastic bags and bottles. Courtesy Sue Hollenberg.

Montclair Film Festival announces Emerging Filmmaker competition winners

in Arts/Montclair Film/Montclair Film Festival/Montclair Kimberley Academy/Montclair Public Schools
The 2017 Junior Jury
Abby Berberian, Bridgewater Raritan High School
Aidan Champeau, Montclair High School
David Chun, Millburn
Alison Cottingham, Montclair Kimberley Academy
Tyrell Dickerson, Academy 360
Soula Garcia, Bloomfield High School
Hank Greenberg, Montclair High School
Jackson Healey, Middletown High School South
Kianni Keys, Newark Academy
Reymond Lamb, Montclair High School
Noah Levine, Livingston High
Daniel Mathis, Montclair High School
Gabrielle Narcisse, Kent Place School
Sophia Raines, West Orange High School
Kayleen Silva, Ridgefield Park
2017 Emerging Filmmaker Competition Winners
Cinemaniacs (Grades 4-6)
Grand Prize Narrative
“Great Aunt’s Surprise:” Hanmer Elementary
Liv Hammer
Cora Tinker
Edie Carson
Grand Prize Comedy
“How to Make a Film For Dummies:” The Pingry School
Jordan Miller
Vared Shmuler
Jenna Hauser
Meher Khan
Storytellers (Grades 7-9)
Grand Prize Comedy & Grand Prize Narrative
“Sock Monster:” Middletown High School South
Victoria Pater
Courtney Voehl
Olivia Parauda
Cassidy Anontucci
Milla Shinder
Erik Pedersen
Special Jury Prize Comedy
“Bullfrog:” Union Catholic Regional High School
Zachary Reichgut
Grand Prize Experimental
“Imperceptible:” Montclair Kimberley Academy
Luke Gardiner
Grand Prize Documentary
“Project Identity:” South Orange Middle School
Alex Ferrandiz
Sam Cohen
Lucia Garritano
Robin Kalderen
Ray Feinleib
Visionaries  (Grades 10-12)
Grand Prize Comedy 
“Tiny:” Middletown High School South
Matt King
Special Jury Prize Comedy (tie)
“The Indubitable Molly Davis:” Montclair Kimberley Academy
Lily Jones
“Planet of the Dogs:” Montclair High School
Owen Plofker
Grand Prize Experimental
“1600:” Middletown High School South
Charlotte Larish
Lisa Merola
Maria Dragone
Sage Levine
Special Jury Prize Experimental
“The Search for Happiness:” Columbia High School
Jacob Hirsch
Grand Prize Narrative
“Personal Space:” Montclair High School
Lucia Ledesma
Aidan Champeau
Jake Weinberg
Lilli Herrick
Jacob Manthy
Petra Fox
Jake Diamond
Special Jury Prize Narrative (tie) 
“Black & White Revenge:” Montville Township High School
David Champion
Jeff Gallup
Heather Giudice
Samantha Grossman
Alec Grossman
Jack Motherway
Paul Riccio
Veronica Tullo
“Find:” Morristown High School
Kylee Strasser
Grand Prize Documentary & Social Impact
“Xenophobia:” The Hudson School
Sean Riller-Miltner
Special Jury Prize Documentary
“Love Shouldn’t Hurt:” Montclair High School
Blythe Bahramipour
Special Jury Prize Social Impact
“Behind Closed Doors:” Passaic County Technical Institute
Tiffany Cano
“The Hurdle:” Passaic County Technical Institute
Tyrese Watkins

At Montclair Film, ‘cut’ means ‘action’

in Arts/Montclair Film/Montclair Film Festival
Montclair Film Chairman Bob Feinberg and Investors Bank president and CEO Kevin Cummings wielded the scissors at the ribbon-cutting for the new Investors Bank Film & Media Center, 505 Bloomfield Avenue. PHOTO BY ANTOINETTE MARTIN FOR THE MONTCLAIR LOCAL

for Montclair Local

“Cut!” When a film director yells the word, it signals the end of a take. But for Montclair Film Festival lately, it has meant the start of the action. Last week, the nonprofit cut “festival” from its name, to signify its identity as a year-round organization, and cut the ribbon on its new home at 505 Bloomfield Ave.

“Wow! This is a terrific hit for Montclair,” said Township Councilman Bob Russo at the ribbon-cutting Thursday, March 30. “The whole town loves the festival and they are going to love this beautiful facility.”

Almost exactly two years ago, in May 2015, Investors Bank donated an empty old bank building across from the Clairidge Theater to support the festival, which had originally come into existence after a meeting of local arts people in the kitchen of Stephen and Evelyn Colbert.

The sixth annual Montclair Film Festival, now a sprawling and prestigious event, will open on Friday, April 28, and run through Sunday, May 6. The festival will continue to operate in a variety of venues around town, including movie theaters, the Wellmont Theater, and school theaters. The first screening at Cinema505, a cozy multi-purpose space inside the new building called the Investors Bank Film and Media Center, will be on Saturday, April 29, with a restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 “Stalker.”

“The opening of our new building comes just in time for the launch of this year’s festival,” said Bob Feinberg, the founder of Montclair Film and chairman of its board of directors, at the ribbon-cutting. He said he and others had always envisioned a permanent home for the nonprofit.

The gift of the bank building offered the opportunity for a redesign of a structure that had fallen into disrepair. The new center incorporates the bank’s original high ceilings, massive vault and industrial elements in unique ways, said Design Architect Rachael Grochowski. “From a ‘magical’ ticket booth to focused classrooms, I couldn’t be more excited to see how this space acts as a place to bring community together.”

Bob Silver of Montclair’s The Bravitas Group said the new space is the product of creative collaboration among Montclair Film staff and volunteers, the architects, designers and “many talented tradespeople.”

As fundraising continues to pay off the construction loan for the new building, Montclair Film will begin moving in equipment for its new filmmaking studio, classrooms and sound room, said Montclair Film’s capital fundraiser, Warren Ross: “We hope and — well, we know — the community and its establishments will continue to support this gem of a project and our beloved festival.”

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