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Ed Asner & More Wrap Up 2015 Garden State Film Festival

Hollywood heavy hitters Ed Asner, Armand Assante and James Wilder were the bold faced names at the 2015 Garden State Film Festival closing ceremonies, but a pair of New Jersey-based actresses brought down the house. Scene stealing comedienne/actress Siobhan Fallon Hogan (Forrest Gump, Men in Black, Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld) stole the show again as she was presented with the Spirit of New Jersey award. While others honorees thanked their families, she mocked hers. When others extolled the virtues of working in film, she extolled the virtues of craft services. The trim actress hilariously plugged her current FOX series Wayward Pines by encouraging people to watch - just to see how fat she gets. "I have about ten chins, but by episode ten I had 20," she said. Ms. Fallon Hogan received a standing ovation for her closing remark, "I want to thank my husband Peter for dragging me to New Jersey 20 years ago, where I am very happy to be."

Quinn Shephard, a star of the film Windsor - which won Best Narrative Feature at the festival - was presented with the Rising Star Award. The radiant 20-year-old actress/writer/director delivered a heartfelt acceptance to thundering applause. Beaming through laughter and moments of emotion, Ms. Shephard graciously thanked her parents, her director Porter Farrell, and a large contingency of Windsor producers and crew in from Texas where the film was shot. "I am so grateful to the Garden State Film Festival for this honor, and the whole experience here has been fantastic meeting so many talented filmmakers. And I will definitely be back," she said before announcing that she and Mr. Farrell have cemented plans to work together on their next project, and her directorial debut.

Two other prominent New Jersey women were featured at the Awards Dinner when Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno presented Frank Theatres' executive vice president Deborah Frank with the Impact Award for Business and Arts Alliance. For three generations, the Frank family has operated theaters and entertainment venues along the Atlantic coastline. The organization was founded by Ms. Frank's grandfather Samuel Frank in 1921 and now numbers over 150 properties. Ms. Frank has been instrumental in delivering art house and independent film to her venues and lending them as resources to non-profit organizations.

"Congratulations to Debbie Frank, who singlehandedly helped foster art films at the Jersey Shore and flawlessly fuses business with the love of art," said Lt. Governor Guadagno. Last year, Lieutenant Governor Guadagno was the inaugural recipient of the honor for her efforts to support arts and culture as catalysts for economic development on New Jersey.

Mr. Asner was at the festival with the Sharon Baker directed documentary My Friend Ed, about the octogenarian's career and activism, and the feature, Joe's War. On his third visit to the festival, he received its first Most Valuable Player award. It was presented by New Jersey resident Michael Uslan, an executive producer of every Batman movie for over 20 years. Mr. Uslan opened his effusive remarks by singing a modified theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Ms. Asner accepted the award with his trademark humor but expressed deep appreciation to the festival, and to his assistant and daughter Liza Asner. Co-producer of My Friend Ed, Ms. Asner accepted the award for Best Short Documentary.

James Wilder (Murder One, Melrose Place), who made his debut playing fellow honoree Ed Asner's drug ADDICTED son in the ABC Circle Theater production Cracked Up, received the Independent Spirit Award. Mr. Wilder attended the festival representing the film, Three Holes, Two Brads, and a Smoking Gun, for which he is receiving honors and accolades for his starring performance in the film (retitled Two Brads and a Smoking Gun for theatrical release). "Independent film is the heart of what we do," he said in his acceptance, "It has been great to meet so many creative and talented people producing such inspiring work."

Armand Assante broke through on the big screen in Private Benjamin in 1980 and has been in constant demand ever since. He co-stars with Ed Asner in Joe's War and received the festival's Lifetime Achievement award. Echoing the sentiments of his fellow honorees, he expressed appreciation to his family. "As a boy with a dream, my parents allowed me to follow that dream as unconventional as it may have seemed," he said. "Without their support I would never have made it to the stage, and television, and film. The body of work you honor is a tribute to them."

The awards dinner presentation concluded the four-day festival and was attended by almost 300 people who dined and danced in the Claridge Hotel's ballroom. A cocktail party in the Holtzman Gallery kicked the evening off. For more information about the event, honorees and award-winning films, contact Anne Kneuer at 732.221.6076. The full list of awards follows:

Narrative Feature
Turnpike Pictures
Adam Dietrich and Suzanne Weinert, Producers
Porter Farrell, Director

Musical Feature
"Waiting in the Wings: The Musical"
JJ Spotlight Productions, LLC
Nancy Criss, Producer
Jenn Page, Director

International Narrative Feature
"Were Dang Min"
(Germany, France, Turkey)
EZ Films
Elie Meirovitz and Huseyin Karabey, Producers
Huseyin Karabey, Director

M. Carroll Raver Award for Cinematography
"As the Crow Files"
Daniel Satinoff

The Bud Abbott Award for Feature Length Comedy
"Nowhere Girl"
Justin Workman, Producer
Jed Rigney, Director

Narrative Short
"One Armed Man"
Bruno Michels, Hallie Foote and Tim Guinee, Producers
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Executive Producer
Tim Guinee, Director
Lou Costello Award for Comedy Short
"Oh Crappy Day"
Dagtype Films, LLC
Steven P. Neilson, Producer
Jon Lance Bacon, Director

International Narrative Short
"The Man who Fed His Shadow"
Mario Garefo, Producer/Director

"The Girl in the Gondola"
(Italy, United Kingdom)
Mad Cat Films Ltd
Rob Speranza
and Abbe Robinson, Producers
Abbe Robinson, Writer/Director

Emanuel "Manny" Berlingo Award for Best Feature Length Documentary
"The Millionaires Unit - U.S. Naval Aviators in the First World War"
Humanus Documentary Films Foundation
Darroch Greer and Ron King, Producer/Directors

Short Documentary
"My Friend Ed"
Sharon Baker, Producer/Director

International Feature Documentary
"Oro Macht Frei" ("Gold Will Set You Free") (Italy/USA)
Ottimo Films, LLC/ Jacklight Productions
Joel Markel, Executive Producer
Catherine Campbell, Producer
Jeffrey Bonna, Director

International Short Documentary
"De Jeweetwels" (The You-Know-Who)
Cosmic Visuals
Fokke Baarssen, Producer/Director

Animated Short
"I Need My Monster"
University of Colorado Denver Digital Animation Center
Howard Cook, Animator/Producer
Stephen Baker and Howard Cook, Directors

"The Looking Planet"
Eric Law Anderson and Anne M. Uemura, Producers
Eric Law Anderson, Director
Eric Law Anderson, Sara Smilnak, Shelbi Caudill and John Sasser, Animators

International Animated Short
"Junk Girl"
Mohammad Zare, Animator/Director

Comedy Music Video
"Sour Goat Sock Puppet Party"
Adam Chinoy and Milan Lazistan, Producers
Adam Chinoy, Director

Music Video
"Hold Tight"
Will Raver, Producer/Director

Animated Music Video
"All of the People"
JC Pratt, Producer/Director
Mark Simon, Jason Campbell, Jon Lamb, Kelly Hay, Neven Nosle, Patricia A. Proulx, and Spencer Wan, Animators

International Music Video
(United Kingdom)
Donna Mabey, Producer
Mariana Conde, Director

Narrative Short - College
Dima Otvertchenko, Producer/Director

Documentary Short - College
"A Portrait of Abuse"
(Vassar College)
Maggie Brelis, Producer
Alex Chianese, Director

International Narrative Short - College
"Agua Blanca"
Alina Montero, Producer/Director

"A Knock at the Door"
Siobhan Caragine, Producer
Christopher Caragine, Director

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
"Chasing Yesterday"
Courtney Baxter and Eric Nelsen, Producers
Joseph Pernice, Director

Home Grown Short
"The Sound of Your Voice"
NJ Film School, Producer
Kelley L Allen, Director

Home Grown Comedy Short
"The Door Walker"
The Parks Brothers Pictures
Brian Parks, Producer/Director

"You'll Go Far"
Steve Nenni and NOAH Sterling, Producers
Noah Sterling, Director

Home Grown Documentary Feature
"Shored Up"
Ben Kalina, Producer/Director

Home Grown Documentary Short
"The Champion"
Sirk Productions
Marc Perez, Producer/Director

"Being George"
The Star-Ledger
Bumper DeJesus, Producer
Adya Beasley, Director

"Beyond the Castle"
Bill Horin, Producer
Frank Weiss, Director

Home Grown Music Video
Tom Parr, Producer/Director

Home Grown Animation
"Making Friends"
Kyle Mumford, Animator

Home Grown Student Short - College
"Roundtable Discussions"
Montclair State University
Stephen Bodossian, Producer/Writer
Stephen Bodossian and Francesca Moran, Directors

Home Grown Student Music Video - College
"Real to Me"
Monmouth University
Ian Culley, Producer/Director

Home Grown Student Animation - High School
"Warm Wishes" 410
(Communications H.S.)
Isabella Olaguera, Animator

Home Grown Student Documentary Short - High School
"A Teens Guide to Understanding and Communicating with People with Autism"
(Westfield High School)
Michael Jackman, Producer
Alexandra Jackman, Director/Writer

Home Grown Student Short - High School
"Dinner" 017
Spencer Muhlstock, Director/Writer

Broader Vision
Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center Of Richard Stockton University of New Jersey

The Garden State Film Festival Movie Music Competition Winners

Best Song: Home Grown
Title of Song: Behind the Scenes
Performed by: Alexa Rae
Composer: Alexa Rae Gallagher

Best Song from a Feature Film (Tie)
"Where Are You Now"
Performed by - Kim Armstrong
Composer: William Michael Barbee
Prestige Records

"Sun of a Witch (Hail to The)"
Performed by: Aya Njeim feat Anthony K
Composer: Anthony Khoury

Best Pop Song
"Love Junkie"
Performed by: Spencer Broschard & Dean Dichoso
Composer: Dima Otvertchenko

Best Orchestration
"Monsieur Noir"
Performed by: Robert Neumair and Bozenbrass
Composer: Robert Neumair

Best International Instrumental
"White Lock Theme"
MAD Resilience Films
Composer: Iain Gardner

Best Short Animation Soundtrack
Performed by: Stefan K
Composer: Stefan Kristinkov

Best American Folk Roots
"Pie Equals Love"
(Pie Lady Of Pie Town Theme Song)
Performed by Bottle Rocket Cabaret
Composers: John Latini and Jamie-Sue Seal

Best Orchestral Theme
"Stones from the Desert"
Performed by: Film orchestra Babelsberg & LA- Music
Composer: Lidia Kalendareva & Alin Cristian Oprea

Garden State Screenplay Competition Winner
Jeff Sussman

The Rising Star Award for Acting
Quinn Shephard

Pic of The Flicks
Artists Alike: The Path To Our Purpose


MVP Award
Ed Asner

Lifetime Achievement
Armand Assante

Independent Spirit
James Wilder

Wave of Excellence
Eric Roberts

Impact Award
Deborah Frank

Spirit of New Jersey
Siobhan Fallon Hogan

For more information on the festival and this event visit:

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