The dress code was “funky casual,” and the organizers supplied glittery bowler hats to amplify the theme. There was, of course, a red carpet with a motley crew of paparazzi. The open bar featured a grapefruit juice-and-vodka drink called a Hollywood Hangover, and teenagers in bowler hats passed trays of appetizers. There was a screening room with popcorn and chairs and Oscar Best Picture nominees running in a continuous loop. Little Daisy Bake Shop and The Chocolate Path supplied decadent desserts. And the best movie candy of all — Good-n-Plentys and Twizzlers — were in abundant supply.
The Montclair Film Festival’s second Pre-Oscar Party, which sold out weeks before the event, was the place to be last night — especially if you were a candidate for political office in Montclair. Harvey Susswein wore a huge “Harvey Susswein for Mayor” button. Mayoral wannabe Karen Turner posed for a picture with running mate LeeAnn Carlson. And a saucily-dressed Renee Baskerville also worked the crowd, while local pundit Martin Schwartz surveyed everything from the sidelines.
Speeches were minimal, but festival director Thom Powers did take the mic for a few minutes to describe the May 1 through 6 festival in the making, with venues that will include Montclair’s Kasser Theater and the Clairidge, and to put in a plug for Montclair director Bruce Sinofsky, whose “Paradise Lost 3” is in the running tonight in the Best Documentary category.
Stephen Colbert was not in attendance, but his wife Evie Colbert, the film festival’s secretary, was. And a spot of honor was given to the film festival’s inaugural poster, designed by Chris Gash, a visiting specialist at Montclair State University, which was selected in a contest.