Garden State Film Festival Welcomes New Executive Director

Garden State Film Festival Welcomes New Executive Director

The globally recognized Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) announces the appointment of its new Executive Director, Lauren Concar. Lauren will be taking on the role immediately, serving as Executive Director as the GSFF returns to its original home in Asbury Park, NJ for the 2018 festival. The return move marks the festival's "Sweet 16" anniversary and follows a very successful four-year run in Atlantic City.

Lauren Concar is a well-known face to festival fans. The fiery red-head has been with the festival for many years, acting most recently as the festival's Director of Operations. She and Production Manager Kristen Dirato have been responsible for many of the festival's weekend events in the last few years, including all the advance planning, event management and operations during the event. Lauren has also taken on many of the administrative functions of the Executive Director for more than a year. Lauren is an award-winning producer, director & editor and is the head of the Brookdale Television department at Brookdale Community College.

GSFF Board Chairman, Nicholas J. Falcone said, "We are thrilled that Lauren has agreed to take on this role and look forward to her stewardship. She knows this festival backwards and forwards and most importantly knows the people who make this event. She knows what the fans want and her background in production allows her a deep understanding of the needs of the filmmakers. She is steady, focused and will bring great things to the GSFF in her expanded role."

Founder Diane Raver said, "I couldn't be happier. Lauren was raised in the film festival; she is really part of its fabric. Over the years, she has taken on more responsibilities and has logged countless hours, doing all the important work of preparing for the event and the essential follow-up work after the event. Those who know Lauren know she will be extraordinary and those about to meet will be most impressed."

This announcement comes on the heels of the GSFF announcement that it is ending its four-year relationship in Atlantic City. Raver continued, "We are so grateful to Mayor Don Guardian, the Atlantic City council and to CRDA and Chris Howard, who worked so hard to make our stay in town as productive and pleasant as possible. And, of course, our most heartfelt thanks to our many fans and attendees, and our amazing team of volunteers. We maintain a positive relationship with Atlantic City and plans are underway to host the "Best of the Fest" at Stockton University's Dante Hall and other south Jersey locations, in and around the city."

The festival has a well-developed legacy in Asbury Park, a town which has its own rich history as an entertainment hub. The Oceanside resort has been undergoing a town-wide revitalization, and offers event goers, screening locations, a diverse assortment of hotel and restaurant options, NJ transit service, and a bustling nightlife and music scene.

The 2018 festival dates are March 22 to 25, 2018. More details will follow regarding the locations of the 2018 festival. The Call for Entries opens July 1, 2017. For more information visit,

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. It was held in Asbury Park, in and around the Convention Center complex. From 2014 to 2017, it was held in Atlantic City. Beginning in 2018, it will move back to Asbury Park. The GSFF is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization.

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