NewJersey Governor Phil Murphy speak at the Montclair Film Festival on May 5, 2018 in Montclair, NJ. COURTESY DAVE KOTINSKY/GETTY IMAGES FOR MONTCLAIR FILM

Governor Phil Murphy pledged to sign legislation to lure the film industry back to NJ at the announcement of the Montclair Film Festival’s award winners on Saturday, May 5.

Murphy spoke to the audience at the Closing Night screening of Don Argott’s “Believer,” before a Q&A moderated by Stephen Colbert. The governor praised the festival and announced he would  sign a law in the coming weeks to reinstate financial incentives to film in New Jersey.
The governor pointed out that Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce, who directed and produced “Believer,” had made “Delorean,” starring Alec Baldwin, in New Jersey last fall.
“We have the artists. We have the Art DNA. We have the Film DNA. And so I will tell you, we’re committed, and I’m going to sign a law in the new few weeks that will give the financial incentives back to make movies again in New Jersey.” 
Prior to the Governor’s remarks the Montclair Film Festival announced the winners of the festival’s 2018 film competitions at the festival’s annual awards ceremony. This year’s festival featured four competitive categories: Fiction, Documentary, Future/ Now, and New Jersey Filmmaking.
The 2018 Award Winners were:

Fiction Feature Award: “First Reformed,” Paul Schrader

Special Jury Prize to Helena Howard for her performance in “Madeline’s Madeline,” directed by Josephine Decker

Special Jury prize for Julianne Nicholson for her performance in Matthew Newton’s “Who We Are Now”

Bruce Sinofsky Award for Documentary Feature: “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” by RaMell Ross

Special Jury Prize for “Black Mother,” directed by Khalik Allah.

David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking: “Dark Money”

Future/Now: “We the Animals,” directed by Jeremiah Zagar

 New Jersey Filmmaking: “Crime + Punishment, directed by Stephen Tiang

Special Jury Prize for directors Aaron Kopp and Amanda Kopp of “Liyana”

The festival also features a Junior Jury, made up of 15 area High School students representing 12 area schools. The Junior Jury awarded the top prize to”American Animals,” directed by Bart Layton; with a Special Jury Prize for Social Impact awarded to “Crime + Punishment,” directed by Stephen Maing.

The Festival’s 2018 Audience Awards will be announced at the festival’s conclusion on Monday, May 7th.


2018 Documentary Jury: Patrick Harrison, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Gregory Wakeman, Metro New York, Chris O’Falt, Indiewire

2018 Fiction Jury: Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair, Nekesa Moody, Associated Press, David Fear, Rolling Stone

2018 Future Now Jury: Jim Brunzell, All Genders, Lifestyles and Identities Film Festival (aGLIFF), Stacey Reiss, Filmmaker, Jason Benjamin, Filmmaker

2018 New Jersey Films Jury: Libby Geist, ESPN, Deirdre Haj, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Amy Kuperinsky, Newark Star Ledger