Garden State Film Festival to Welcome Celebrities, Filmmakers & Fans to Atlantic City

Garden State Film Festival to Welcome Celebrities, Filmmakers & Fans to Atlantic CityThe Garden State Film Festival will welcome celebrities, filmmakers and fans to Atlantic City, from Thursday, March 30th through Sunday, April 2nd at Resorts Casino Hotel for the Festival's 15th Anniversary Celebration. The four-day weekend event will feature networking opportunities, hands-on workshops, intriguing and informative panel discussions, and entertaining and fun parties - all in addition to the 225 film screenings scheduled throughout the Festival.

The Garden State Film Festival kicks off with a "Meet the Filmmakers" event on Thursday evening, March 30th, at 6 p.m., when attendees can mix and mingle with the filmmakers whose works will be featured throughout the weekend at a cocktail reception followed by a screening of the upcoming films trailers so attendees can make note of the films they are anxious to see during the weekend. On Friday evening, March 31st, the weekend's first film screening (Last Man Club, written and directed by industry veteran Bo Brinkman) will immediately follow a star-studded Red Carpet Gala Networking Event and Cocktail Party which begins at 6:30 p.m. In addition to 225 film screenings scheduled throughout the weekend, other Festival events set for Saturday and Sunday include a hands-on animation workshop presented by Academy Award-nominated LAIKA Studios, several panel discussions, and a live read of the screenplay Dummy. The Festival concludes with the Awards Dinner on Sunday evening.

Garden State Film Festival 2017 honorees will be in attendance at the Festival throughout the weekend and they will receive their awards at the black-tie-optional dinner on Sunday, April 2. This year's honorees are:
* Scott Cronick - 2017 Honorary Chair: Cronick is Director of Entertainment Publications for the Press of Atlantic City, and he also hosts a daily radio show on WOND 1400-AM.

* Sally Jessy Raphael - Lifetime Achievement Award: Raphael is a TV Talk Show Legend and two-time EMMY winner, in addition to being the first female reality talk show host on TV. The Sally Jessy Raphael Show was the longest-running, female-hosted talk show in television history. In film, she also had memorable cameos in films including The Addams Family and She-Devil.

* Brian Dennehy - Beacon Award: A prolific and award-winning actor, Dennehy is a well respected on both screen and stage. His extensive career also includes co-producing, directing and writing several screen productions.

* Richard Kind - Spirit of New Jersey Award: Kind, who hails from Trenton, New Jersey, has an extensive resume which includes roles in productions including Inside Out, Spin City and A Serious Man.

* Chance Kelly - Wave of Excellence Award: Kelly has more than 70 stage, television and film credits to his name, and he has worked with directors Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood.

* Kim Waltrip - 2017 MVP: Waltrip is a long-time friend and supporter of the Garden State Film Festival. She has been the catalyst to bring GSFF some of its favorite films and VIPs.

* LAIKA Studios - Excellence in Animation: With multiple ACADEMY AWARD nominations, LAIKA occupies a unique and distinctive place in American cinema by continuously expanding the boundaries of the 120-year-old technique of stop-motion animation.

* PEI Kids and Seven13 Films - Broader Vision Award: Each year, GSFF proudly recognizes a deserving organization for filmmaking dedicated to the greater good. Together, PEI Kids and Seven13 Films are dedicated to providing social messages that spark conversation through THE ART OF filmmaking designed to drive education, awareness, and community outreach on important public issues.

* Camrus Johnson - GSFF Rising Star 2017: Johnson has worked with The Rockettes, the cast of Jersey Boys, Marvel's Netflix series Luke Cage, and various other productions. When asked to offer advice to other young talent, he says, "It gets really hard at times, but working your way up is the fun part. Mainly because of all the struggles and efforts, we can always look back and see how much we have overcome."

Other filmmakers and actors who are attending the 2017 Garden State Film Festival include: Ed Asner, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Steve Wilder, Mike Marino, Heather Brittain O'Scanlon, Langston Fishburne, Morgan Taylor Campbell, Ronnie Marmo, Jay Seals, Garry Pastore, Monika Henreid, and Batman producer Michael Uslan.

GSFF Executive Director Margaret Fontana says, "For the past 15 years, the Garden State Film Festival has been achieving its mission of promoting THE ART OF filmmaking on all levels, and we've been having a lot of fun doing it!" Fontana enthusiastically invites anyone who enjoys movies and filmmaking to this year's Festival. She adds, "This year, we're planning a lot more fun, and we'll once again showcase an amazing films from independent filmmakers from around the world. Plus, the Festival is a great learning opportunity, too, where industry leaders share their knowledge and skills at our workshops and events." The Festival's events are listed along with the complete film screening schedule on the Garden State Film Festival website at http://www.gsff.org/listings-at-a-glance/.
Individual film screening tickets are $14 in advance and $15 at the door. Weekend Passes for the Festival are $45 in advance and $50 at the door and include all events and film screenings - except the Awards Dinner on Sunday evening. Tickets are available at www.gsff.org and at Festival box offices.For more information about the Garden State Film Festival, please visit the GSFF website at www.gsff.org.
About the Garden State Film Festival:The Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) 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, the Festival was held in Asbury Park. In 2014, the Festival moved to Atlantic City with financial and operation support from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). GSFF now serves as a major component of the strategic plan to promote arts and culture in Atlantic City to re-establish the resort as the premier Mid-Atlantic entertainment destination. The GSFF is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization.

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