Thursday, March 23, 2023

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

The premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and announcements in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Feb 15, 2019

The 17th Annual Garden State Film Festival Returns this March

By Lori Draz

Garden State Film Festival 2019 Asbury Park NJ

Make your plans for the biggest weekend of independent film, fun, networking and more when the globally recognized Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) returns to Asbury Park this March 28 to 31.

The Journal magazines will help bring this well-regarded festival to fans from around the world. Owner and publisher of The Journal Lou Mercatanti said, “Our readers have a deep love and connection to the arts. We are proud to be part of this exciting event and look forward to a remarkable weekend of films, seminars, parties and networking.”

GSFF Board Chairman Nicholas J. Falcone said, “We were blown away by the number of people who attended our 16th festival as we returned to our original home in Asbury Park. Our legions of fans demanded our return and they turned out in record numbers. We have a very big weekend planned for every one this year, so clear your schedule to be part of a weekend you will never forget.”

Event goers will be treated to a fast-paced weekend with numerous screening locations, parties, an open talent casting call, and celebrities and industry leaders.

The attending celebrities are being confirmed at the time of this writing, but there will be a number of producers, directors, actors, investors and industry talent, with plenty more surprises to come.

“Our return to Asbury Park re-ignited so much excitement,” Executive Director Lauren Concar said. “We had over 25,000 people attend over the weekend. We are happy to welcome volunteers and, of course, film fans. Block out the weekend, because there is something for everyone.”

Founder Diane Raver added, “We are screening 239 films from 22 countries. We also have an Open Talent Casting Call, hands-on student workshop on animation, seminars on a number of topics, parties every night, and that’s just the start. We even have a free trolley service all weekend to make getting to all the screening locations easy. The films are great and there is a selection for all tastes, from films about veterans, to thrillers, shorts, animated offerings, childrens’ films, documentaries and so much more. Come one, come all! It only happens once a year, and we don’t want you to miss it.”

The weekend begins on March 28, at The Asbury Lanes with a Meet The Filmmakers event. There will be cocktails at 7 pm with a screening of a selection of trailers of the weekend’s films from 8:00 to 9:30 pm.

Get red carpet ready for the opening ceremonies that begin on March 29 with a cocktail reception from 7 to 8:15 pm followed by opening ceremonies and the first screening of the festival. The festival concludes with a black-tie Gala Awards Dinner at The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel where the best in various categories of films and celebrity honorees are recognized.

Tickets are $15 in advance for a two-hour screening block and $50 for an all-access weekend pass that gets you into everything including the Friday Night Gala cocktail party. The Journal will offer readers a discount code for tickets for the weekend pass. Details will follow on the discount code as well as the screening schedules and locations, so be sure to visit often as the news changes daily.

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.

For more information about the Garden State Film Festival, contact