Winners Announced for 2014 Garden State Film Festival
The Garden State Film Festival closed its four-day event with a sold-out Awards Dinner at the Trump Taj Mahal on April 6, 2014. The festival drew an estimated 15,000 attendees to 184 films and events in over ten venues. "The festival was in some ways our best ever, due to the amenities, great venues and high level VIPs who attended. Having Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Mayor Don Guardian both on site serving as advocates for the festival and the arts in Atlantic City, was impactful and exciting. Closing the event with Ed Asner and Diane Ladd presenting awards to Bebe Neuwirth and Laura Dern was more than memorable," said festival director and founder Diane Raver.
Approximately 250 attended the Awards Dinner in the Tiara Ballroom. The program began with 2014 Honorary Chair Mayor Don Guardian being introduced by his predecessor and longtime festival supporter, Tom Hayes, Director of Community Relations, New Jersey Natural Gas. After remarking on the festival's successful move to Atlantic City, Mayor Guardian presented Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno with the Impact Award for Promoting Business & Arts Alliance in New Jersey. "Strengthening the alliance between business and the arts is a priority of our Administration, and for good reason," said Lt. Governor Guadagno. "Every nickel of state arts funding can generate up to a dollar of annual economic impact, and you can look no further than the ongoing urban renaissance of cities such as New Brunswick and Newark as evidence of this fact. It's a pleasure to get the opportunity to highlight the great work being done by our arts organizations statewide, all while reaffirming our unwavering commitment to promoting the arts as a catalyst for job creation and investment statewide."
Other honorees were Laura Dern for Independent Spirit presented by her mother Diane Ladd; Bebe Neuwirth for Wave of Excellence presented by Ed Asner; Franklin Ojeda Smith for Lifetime Achievement in Acting and Education; Scott Neustadter for Spirit of New Jersey; and the Possibility Project for Broader Vision. Up and coming actor Paul Castro Jr. was named the Robert Pastorelli Rising Star named for the festival's co-founder, and presented annually by his sister Gwen Pastorelli. In her remarks, Ms. Neuwirth recalled working with the late actor and commented on "his kindness, his generous spirit."
New Jersey filmmaker Garry Pastore won the Audience Choice for Destressed, his "docudramady" about his journey to eliminate the stress in his life to improve his overall health after a severe illness. Other big winners were Best Narrative Feature, How to Make Movies at Home which opened the festival on Friday Night. A Hillport Maine Productions with Morgan Nichols, director; and Amy Dawn Palmo, Lisa Dowda and Morgan Nichols, producers. How to Be Happy (Ireland) won The International Narrative Feature with Brian O'Neill, Mark Gaster and Michael Rob Costine, directors; and David Brady and Richie Bolger, producers. Farah Goes Bang won The Bud Abbott Award for Feature Length Comedy with Meera Menon, director; and Laura Goode, Erica Fishman and Danielle Firoozi, producers. Dar He: The Story of Emit Till won the Alternative Feature Award with Rob Underhill, directing and producing. Rob Stewart won the M. Carroll Raver Award for Cinematography for Revolution. The Garden State Screenplay Competition Winner is Burleigh Smith for, "You Can't Play the Game If You Don't Know the Rules."
In the Shorts category, A Poet Long Ago with Bob Giraldi, director and Amelia Dallis, producer; tied with Of Teaching of Killer Whales Compassion with Raphe Wolfgang, director and Allison Vanore and Raphe Wolfgang, producers. Riff Raff won theLou Costello Award for Comedy Short with Jeremy Weiss, director and Heather West and Jeremy Weiss, producers.Kush (India) won International Narrative Short with ShubhashishBhutiani, director and AsthaDinghra, Joel Dunn, Sanjay Bhutiani and ShubhashishBhutiani, producers. Mr. Bear (Spain) won the International Comedy Short with Andres Rosende, director and Chris Laszlo and George T. Kimmel IV, producers.
In the Documentary Category, the Emanuel "Manny" Berlingo Award for Feature Length Documentary was presented to KTF Films' The Human Experiment with Dana Nachmanand Don Hardy, Jr., directors and Chelsea Matter, Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, Jr., producers. Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride with Amy Nicholson as director/producer tied. Mortified Nation won BestFeature Length Comedy Documentary with Michael Mayer, director and David Nadelberg, Neil Katcher and Michael Mayer, producers. Mosquito Park Productions'Into the Light won BestShort Documentary with Paul Pawlowski directing and producing. Free China: The Courage to Believe (China/USA) won Best International Feature Documentary: world2be productions/New Tang Dynasty Television with Michael Perlman, director and Kean Wong and Michael Perlman, producers. Mona Lisa: Leonardo's Earlier Version (Switzerland/USA) won Best International Short Documentary with Rafael Feldman, Yan Feldman, director/producers.
A number of other awards were presented for animation, music videos, student films and a entire category for Home Grown films, shot in New Jersey. Destressedwon the Home Grown Documentary Feature. Dynamatt Productions' Two Pints Lighter won the Home Grown Feature award with Matt Lawrence, director; and Mike Lawrence, Matt Lawrence, Ryan Conrath and Scott Ballard, producers. 624 Productions' Two Sides of Love won Best Home Grown Short with Thomas Baldinger as director/producer.GPC Productions LLC's Magic on Music Mountain won Home Grown Documentary Short with Gary Cohen, director and Paul Kaye and Gary Cohen, producer. A full list of winners follows.
The festival kicked off on Thursday, April 3rdwith a co-hosted benefit for the Historic Organ Restoration Committee in Boardwalk Hall. Over 1,000 guests attended a screening of 1926 silent film, the Black Piratewith live organ accompaniment. The Trump Taj Mahal and Resorts Casinos were the prime festival locations with Dante Hall and the Chelsea Hotel also hosting events. They included a live script reading directed by Diane Ladd with Ed Asner, Paul Castro Jr., Franklin Ojeda Smith and several other professional actors presenting. Bebe Neuwirth, Diane Ladd and Scott Neustadter were among participants in panel discussions on the film industry well-attended by fellow filmmakers and aspiring others. "All in all, the move to Atlantic City has been a success," states GSFF Board Chairman, Nick Falco. "We need to grow our audience here and make some adjustments but for a relaunch and learning process, the festival did very well and were made to feel very welcome here by everyone involved."
The Garden State Film Festival
"How to Make Movies at Home"
Hillport Maine Productions
Morgan Nichols, Director
Amy Dawn Palmo, Lisa Dowda and Morgan Nichols, Producers
International Narrative Feature
"How to Be Happy"
Brian O'Neill, Mark Gaster and Michael Rob Costine, Directors
David Brady and Richie Bolger, Producers
The Bud Abbott Award for Feature Length Comedy
"Farah Goes Bang"
Meera Menon, Director
Laura Goode, Erica Fishman and Danielle Firoozi, Producers
"Dar He: The Story of Emit Till"
Rob Underhill, Director/Producer
M. Carroll Raver Award for Cinematography
Rob Stewart, Cinematographer
"A Poet Long Ago"
Bob Giraldi, Director
Amelia Dallis, Producer
"Of Teaching of Killer Whales Compassion"
Raphe Wolfgang, Director
Allison Vanore and Raphe Wolfgang, Producers
Lou Costello Award for Comedy Short
Jeremy Weiss, Director
Heather West and Jeremy Weiss, Producers
International Narrative Short
Shubhashish Bhutiani, Director
Astha Dinghra, Joel Dunn, Sanjay Bhutiani and Shubhashish Bhutiani, Producers
International Comedy Short
Andres Rosende, Director
Chris Laszlo and George T. Kimmel IV, Producers
Emanuel "Manny" Berlingo Award for Feature Length Documentary
"The Human Experiment"
Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, Jr., Directors
Chelsea Matter, Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, Jr., Producers
"Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride"
Amy Nicholson, Director/Producer
Feature Length Comedy Documentary
Michael Mayer, Director
David Nadelberg, Neil Katcher and Michael Mayer, Producers
"Into the Light"
Mosquito Park Productions
Paul Pawlowski, Director/Producer
International Feature Documentary
"Free China: The Courage to Believe"
New Tang Dynasty Television
Michael Perlman, Director
Kean Wong and Michael Perlman, Producers
International Short Documentary
"Mona Lisa: Leonardo's Earlier Version"
Rafael Feldman, Yan Feldman, Director/Producers
Tamara Hahn, Animator/Director/Producer
International Animated Short
Hilaire Van Den Broeck, Director/Animator
Thomas G. Murphy, Producer
James Stewart and Nev Bezaire, Directors
Kennedy Zielke and James Stewart, Producers
Chris Pounds, Ezra Waddell, Jeremy Murphy, Katherine MacDonald
Mike Decroock, Paul Walker and Philip Eddolls, Animators
Guerilla Wanderers Films
Sean McCarthy, Director
Sean O'Hare, Producer
Narrative Short Comedy - College
(New York University)
Bruce X. Li, Director/Producer
Narrative Short Drama - College
(New York University)
Brian Stone, Director
Alyssa Amer, Producer
Narrative Short Period Piece - College
(SUNY Purchase College)
Victoria DeMartin, Director
Cat Iacona, Producer
Animation - College
"The Ninety Nines"
(University of Colorado Denver Digital Animation Center)
Howard Cook, Director
Nicholas "Nico" Montano, Alex Maya, Ben Van Horne, Brian Spiese
Carlie Grubel, Chris Lemon, Danielle Daniels, Gary Ogden
Howard Cook, Jeremiah "Remy" Reynolds, Jessica May
Jonathan Rold, Joshua Shapiro, LeaTrisha Perkins
Maxwell Nelson, Paul Conner, Rachel Stone, Rex Privratsky
Russell Gotthoffer, Ryan Cutter, Sean Blair, Stephen Baker
Stephen Wike, Tom Hopper, Tripp Vroman, Animators
The Garden State Film Festival would like to recognize films shot in the State of New Jersey with the following winners in the "Home Grown Award" categories:
Home Grown Feature
"Two Pints Lighter"
Matt Lawrence, Director
Mike Lawrence, Matt Lawrence, Ryan Conrath and Scott Ballard, Producers
Home Grown Short
"Two Sides of Love"
Thomas Baldinger, Director/Producer
Home Grown Documentary Feature
Willowcreek Entertainment/Destressed Films LLC
Garry Pastore, Director
Fokke Baarssen and Garry Pastore, Producers
Home Grown Documentary Short
"Magic on Music Mountain"
GPC Productions LLC
Gary Cohen, Director
Paul Kaye and Gary Cohen, Producers
Home Grown Music Video
Red Hook Films
P.J. Bracco, Director
Tom Parr, Director/Producer
Home Grown Animation - Short
Brian Kaufman, Director/Animator
Home Grown Animation - Claymation
"Our Mechanical Future"
Jenina Podulka, Director/Animator
Home Grown Student Short - College
Zack Morrison, Director
Christopher Pasi and Zack Morrison, Producers
Home Grown Student Animation - High School
"A Winter Tale" Cicely Tyson High School of Performing and Fine Arts Vincent Potuto, Advisor
Nagia Belton, Tysahn Jackson, Tatiana Crute
David Gymbrah and Kamari Moore, Animators
Home Grown Student Short - High School
(Ridgewood High School)
Hayes Walsh and Spencer Muhlstock, Director/Producers
Home Grown Trailer - High School
"Robert Johnson Blues"
(Charter Tech High School)
John Hicks, Director
David Roehm, Producer
Broader Vision Award
The Possibility Project "Know How"
The Garden State Film Festival Movie Music Competition Winners
James Sale, Composer
Best Vocal Performance
Cole Bonner, Composer
Best Pop Sound Track
"4 Ever Fab"
Performed by: The Atomik Age Project
Phil Curcuru, Composer/Producer
Best Traditional Sound Track
"Lullaby for the Satos"
Fits & Starts Productions, LLC
Hector G. La Torre, Composer
Best Nostalgic Sound Track
"The Star of My Dreams
New Mercury Films
Garen Garson, Composer
Best Animation Sound Track
Stelios Koupetoris, Composer
Best Alternative Soundtrack
Sharks (Dirty Little Stripclub)
Best Country Rock Soundtrack
David John, Composer
Garden State Screenplay Competition Winner
You Can't Play the Game if You Don't Know the Rules
Wave of Excellence Award
Independent Spirit Award
Spirit of New Jersey
Lifetime Achievement Award for Acting and Education
Franklin Ojeda Smith
Impact Award for Promoting Business & Arts Alliance in New Jersey
Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno
The Robert Pastorelli Rising Star Award for Acting
Paul Castro Jr.
The Garden State Film Festival was envisioned by 25-year film industry veteran Diane Raver and the late Hollywood actor Robert Pastorelli in 2002 and launched the following year. Since 2003, thousands of films have made their public premiers, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have attended; and the total infusion of cash to local businesses since inception exceeds $5 million. Until 2013, it was held in Asbury Park, in and around the Convention Center complex. In 2014, it will move to Atlantic City as a major component of DO AC, the marketing campaign to promote arts and culture the city spearheaded by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. The GSFF is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization.
About the Sponsors of the 12th Annual Garden State Film Festival
The 12th Annual Garden State Film Festival could not be possible without the generous support of the following sponsors: For more information about our sponsors please visithttp://www.gsff.org/sponsors