Home » Scenes from The 22nd Annual Garden State Film Festival This Weekend

Scenes from The 22nd Annual Garden State Film Festival This Weekend

by Diana Cooper
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 The Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) took place from March 21st to March 24th at eight venues in Asbury Park and Cranford, New Jersey. Celebrating its 22nd year, the GSFF is a beacon for economic growth in the community. Read on to learn more about the events and how to participate.

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About the Films

New Jersey’s Premier Independent Film Festival showcased over 200 films from 14 countries. Per a press release from organizers, GSFF is a celebration of diversity, creativity, and the art of storytelling. This year’s lineup included appearances by Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), Bridget Moynahan (Blue Bloods), Ed Begley Jr. (Pineapple Express), Armand Assante (Gotti), Lisa Edelstein (Girlfriends Guide to Divorce), Jim Cramer (Mad Money), Richard Schiff (Black Panther Wakanda), and sports legends Louis Neglia and Joe Pyfer.

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The Martini Shot, featuring Matthew Modine, John Cleese, Derek Jacobi, and Fiona Glascott, is an existential drama directed by Stephen Wallis that premiered at The Asbury Hall on Friday, March 22nd at 8:30PM. It’s expected to be released in theaters on May 24th, 2024, so those who attended the premiere will have an exclusive first look.

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On Saturday, March 23rd, fans of Armand Assante, who starred in American Gangster, saw the Emmy Award-winning actor as premiere his latest crime drama at Asbury Lanes. The film, Don Q, also features stars from The Sopranos, including Vincent Pastore, Federico Castelluccio, and Saundra Santiago.

Read More: North To Shore Festival Set to Return in 2024

There was also the premiere of Swipe NYC, directed by New Jersey’s famed producer Sue Zarco Kramer. The short film was about a newly divorced, empty-nester Syd, played by Lisa Edelstein, who navigated the world of online dating, as while getting help from A-list supporting actors Richard Schiff and Bridge Moynahan.

Another highlight from the movie premiere lineup was American Royalty, a documentary about the 100-year history of the Miss America Pageant. Directed by John Daniel Fisher and Stephen Andrew Fisher, American Loyalty debuted on Sunday, March 24th at Asbury Lanes.

About the Events

The preview event of the Garden State Film Festival took place on Thursday, March 21st at Asbury Lanes. Fans got an exclusive peek at the films during the festival as well as meeting the filmmakers. Tickets included access to the cocktail reception, that had a cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

On Friday, March 22nd, GSFF hosted its opening ceremonies and cocktail gala at Asbury Lanes. The ticketed event also included a cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. The following day, on Saturday, March 23rd, there was the filmmaker’s breakfast at the Berkeley Hotel, a panel discussion about filmmaking in New Jersey, and/or the after-party slash karaoke party later on that evening.

The final day, Sunday, March 24th, featured a winning screenplay reading of The Dude is Legit! with surprise celebrities and up-and-coming actors. The conclusion of the film festival had a black-tie Awards Banquet, which took place at The English Manor. The grand event honored this year’s distinguished guests with Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach serving as the Honorary Chair. Other honorees included Carla Raij, recognized for her exceptional work in film, David Diianni as Educator of the Year, Rising Star recipient Sophia Lucia Parola, and photographer Tom Zapcic, the 2024 MVP.

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Other Information

Lauren Concar Sheehy, Executive Director of GSFF, said, “GSFF is proud to assist in providing advocacy and support to advance public education. We believe in the transformative power of arts education to substantially improve children’s lives and academic outcomes, and prepare them for 21st-century careers.”

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See More: Movie Theaters in the Hudson County Area for Your Next Date Night

She continued, “GSFF has high school and younger categories, which many families and grandparents attend to celebrate their child’s achievement and to explore the career and technology resources we offer. It’s a great way to get a better understanding of your filmmaker’s passion and the opportunities that are available to them.”

Click here for more information. To keep up with all things Asbury Park, be sure to follow @theasburygirl on Instagram + TikTok.

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