Eric Roberts & More to Attend GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL

The Garden State Film Festival will host a number of award-winning performers and other special guests at its 13th Anniversary event, March 19-22, 2015 in Atlantic City. A number of noted performers will receive awards and attend events in Resorts Hotel Casino, the Claridge Hotel and Dante Hall. They will join festival goers at a number of events that take place in various programs throughout the festival starting with the Kick-Off Cocktail Party at Resorts Ballroom on Friday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m.

Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award is New York native Armand Assante. Following his first screen role in the cult film The Lords of Flatbush, Assante appeared on several soap operas before his breakthrough role in Private Benjamin. Playing characters as diverse as Mike Hammer to John Gotti to Odysseus, Assante remains in strong demand with dozens of recent credits in both film and television including Joe's War, screening on Saturday March 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Resorts Superstar Theater.

Assante is joined on screen in Joe's War with Festival MVP, Ed Asner, a GSFF honorary board member and former Lifetime Achievement recipient (2012). He is the subject of a new documentary, My Friend Ed, about his acting and activism some of which was shot at last years Garden State Film Festival, screening on Saturday March 21 at 3:00 Resorts Ballroom.

Asner began his acting career on stage in Chicago then New York. Television soon came calling, and he started garnering attention as a gifted character actor appearing in seemingly every major series and special for two decades. Best known for his Emmy Award-winning role as Lou Grant, he is one of the few television actors to portray the same leading character in both a comedy and a drama, and the only to win an Emmy for both. As prolific and talented as ever, Asner remains an in-demand actor in both film and television.

Independent Spirt Award recipient is actor and artists James Wilder. Wilder is winning rave reviews for his starring role in Two Brads and a Smoking Gun (upcoming theatrical release title, 3 Holes and a Smoking Gun) screening Saturday March 21 at 5:45 p.m. at Resorts Screening Room. Wilder made a splash on the small screen in a number of popular series, including Equal Justice, Melrose Place and Models Inc., but it was his scorching depiction of a serial killer in Murder One that thrust him into the limelight. A true Renaissance man, when not acting Wilder designs and builds eclectic homes throughout California, sculpts and creates jewelry and apparel.

Quinn Shephard is this year's Rising Star Award recipient awarded annually to an up-and-coming actor/actress with New Jersey roots. Born in Central New Jersey, Shephard began her career at the age of three with a Goldfish commercial, and a year later spent two months living in the Czech Republic while filming the war drama Harrison's Flowers, playing the daughter of David Strathairn and Andie MacDowell. An accomplished writer and producer as well as performer, she attends the festival as a cast member of Windsor playing a Texas cheerleader. Starring veteran character actor Barry Corbin, Windsor screens at 2:45 p.m. Sunday March 22 in Resorts Superstar Theater.

Other honorees include Mark Giannantonio, CEO of Resorts who serves as 2015 Honorary Chair; and Deborah Franks, EVP of Frank Theatres, who receives the Impact Award for Business and Arts Alliance. The Boarder Vision Award, annually bestowed upon an organization using film making dedicated to the greater good, will be presented to the Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. They have produced three short films intending to educate future generations about the Holocaust. The Awards Dinner takes place Sunday evening March 22 at the Claridge Hotel Holtzman gallery and Ballroom. Tickets are $125.00 and open to the public.

In addition to the honorees, a number of prominent performers will attend the festival as special guests. Actors Shiobhan Fallon Hogan, Jeffrey Johns, Chance Kelly, Ronnie Marmo, Adam Mucci, Artie Pasquale, Shawn Ryan, and Joe Sernio will participate in activities like Q&As, panels, and the live script reading featuring Ed Asner, Eric Roberts and James Wilder at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday at Resorts Ballroom. Other special guests include stuntwoman Dina L. Margolin, and newswoman Dara Brown.

Individual screening tickets are $12.00. Weekend passes provide access to most events and are available for $45.00. They can be purchased online and at the festival box offices located on site. An Atlantic City Jitney will be available to ferry guests between venues throughout the weekend.

About the Garden State Film Festival:

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 2014, it moved 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.

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