Sep 01, 2017

Film Festivals Take Over Red Bank

By Ryan Edelson

If you are a film lover, Red Bank, New Jersey was the town for you this summer! Since Red Bank and the arts go hand in hand, there was no better place for both the Indie Street Film Festival and the Monmouth Film Festival to be held. Both events brought the community together by displaying a multitude of different films ranging in genre, style, and duration. Filmmakers flocked from the bustling city of New York to the quiet states surrounding to all over the globe! There were even some local films to showcase local talent.

The Indie Street Festival (ISFF) took place from July 26 to July 30. The festival featured 60+ independently crafted films and featured documentaries, animated films, live art, panel discussions, Q&A with filmmakers, a community barbecue, both live and DJ music performances and a community mural project. With so many films and events taking place, the ISFF presented them at several theatrical locations in Red Bank, including the historic Count Basie Theatre, the Two River Theater, Bow Tie Cinema, and Red Bank Middle School.

Left to right: Director Mike Hayhurst, Ryan Edelson of The Journal, and writer David Bizzaro with characters from short film, “The Pits.”

As the second annual Indie Street Film Festival finished five days of film screenings plus an extensive selection of special events and entertainment, “Like Me,” directed by Robert Mockler, was selected as the best narrative feature and “Unrest,” directed by Jennifer Brea, landed the top award for best documentary feature. Short film winners included Best Narrative Short “Hold On,” directed by Christine Turner and Best Documentary Short “Little Potato,” directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan M. Miller. Best Animation Film was awarded to “Pussy,” directed by Renata Gasiorowski. Filmmakers who won received a one-week theatrical screening in New York City and inclusion on Indie Street VOD platform as a partner filmmaker.

“From a live art performance by local artist Ronnie Jackson, who carves New Jersey landscapes and scenes into surfboards, a cookout after the screening of the documentary “Barbecue” with local sponsors, to a Liquid Lights creative workshop, we know festival attendees enjoy what ISFF brings to the community,” artistic director Jay Webb said. “What sets this festival apart from other film events is the integration and cooperation of Red Bank’s venues, restaurants and bars, retail shops, and the local arts community, which all gel to make the ideal atmosphere to celebrate the creativity of independent filmmakers.”

Just weeks later, the second annual Monmouth Film Festival (MFF) began on Friday, August 11 with the 2017 filmmaker networking kickoff event. The event was catered by local restaurants that the community has come to love. Industry members took to the red carpet to snap photos, get to know one another, and share their love of films.

This festival presented screenings of 39 short films, five feature films, and four film trailers. The films were chosen from national, local, and global communities, including Italy, South Korea, Poland, and more.

The MFF closed with the 2017 Awards Ceremony, which gave accolades to the best films in numerous categories. Community speakers and award presenters included Two River Times writer and film critic Joan Ellis, as well as Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, who composed a moving speech that praised the MFF and the bustling arts in Red Bank. Winners won a number of items, from trophies to prizes from JMR Rentals, InkTip, iPitchTV, and Studio Binder, which will help filmmakers get their films from an idea to a reality.

By the time the final curtains had come down and the house lights went up, both the Indie Street Film Festival and the Monmouth Film Festival were incredibly successful events that Red Bank was proud to host! Both cinematic celebrations brought the community together by evoking emotions through the arts. While you can find many of the 2017 films online to enjoy, you can be sure that 2018 will be bringing the thunder – and the spotlights – back again!