BY Georgette Gilmore | Monday, Sep 19, 2016 10:02am
Every November, Stephen Colbert is joined by a very special guest for Montclair Film Festival’s annual fundraiser event held at NJPAC,. Past guests have been Steve Carell, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, and J.J. Abrams. Today we found out! MFF just announced that John Oliver, host of HBO’s “”Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” will join the stage on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 8 pm.
“Wow, That Was Weird: A Post-Election Evening With Stephen Colbert and John Oliver” will feature the pair in an hilarious, on-stage exchange on everything from their comic influences to the political season that will have concluded with the November election.
BY Georgette Gilmore | Friday, Sep 09, 2016 12:15pm
MFF Founder Bob Feinberg, President of the Board Evie Colbert and Director Tom Hall. Photo: Neil Grabowsky, MFF
MovieMaker.com just posted a list of “The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” and Montclair Film Festival made the cut:
The arts-friendly township of Montclair has a number of famous residents, including Stephen Colbert, an ardent patron of this festival, and—formerly—the late Bruce Sinofsky and David Carr, whose names grace some of MFF’s prizes. Certainly, the key to this festival’s burgeoning success is its people: its executive director, “the great Tom Hall,” has “worked the same magic here he did with Sarasota Film Festival: transforming a smaller regional festival into a genuine destination,” says a panelist. With ace programming, fun extras (last fall saw a “Celebrity Nerd-Off” fundraiser between Colbert and J.J. Abrams) and only five years under its belt, this is one to watch.
Congratulations to Tom Hall and MFF!
BY Baristanet Staff | Monday, Aug 29, 2016 1:45pm
Calling all filmmakers! The Montclair Film Festival has just announced the opening of its annual film submission process. With three competitive categories in fiction, non-fiction, and low-budget independent filmmaking, as well as programs in six non-competitive categories including fiction, non-fiction, world cinema, short films, New Jersey films, and student filmmaking, the Montclair Film Festival is seeking diverse films that represent a wide-range of stories, styles, and experiences.
The MFF’s recent attendees included Jonathan Alter, Stephen Colbert, Barry Crimmins, Richard Curtis, Jonathan Demme, Abigail Disney, Richard Gere, Bobcat Goldthwait, Sam Green and Yo La Tengo, Barbara Kopple, Margo Martindale, Oren Moverman, Stanley Nelson, Norman Reedus, Rob Reiner, James Schamus, Princess Shaw, Michael Showalter, Mavis Staples, James Strouse, Ron Suskind, Roger Ross Williams, Patrick Wilson, Alex Winter, and many more.
BY Annette Batson | Tuesday, May 10, 2016 11:30am
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Last Sunday afternoon, Jon Stewart arrived for Montclair Film Festival’s screening of “Unlocking the Cage” at Bellevue Theatre with wife Tracey and friends Stephen and Evie Colbert to shine a spotlight on an issue which is near and dear to his heart – compassionate and humane treatment of animals.
Addressing the audience, Stewart explained how, thanks to Tracey, the importance of animal rights has been a learning experience for him and his mind has been opened. Having purchased a 12-acre farm in NJ to harbor abused farm animals, and now about to partner with Farm Sanctuary, the Stewarts often get the question “how can you talk about animal rights when people don’t have their rights?” Tracey’s response is “can’t society do two nice things – by doing that it will elevate all of us”
“Unlocking the Cage” tells the story of animal rights lawyer Steven Wise who for 30 years has championed animal rights in the courts, and has recently filed multiple lawsuits attempting to change the legal status of chimps in captivity from a thing/animal with no rights to a “person” with legal protection to grant them freedom. Wise makes his case with affidavits from primatologists around the world affirming the high functioning cognitive abilities and self consciousness of chimpanzees and gorillas.
The sad stories of Tommy, Kiko, Merlin – chimps in captivity as pets in NY state – are difficult to watch.
And while some may find the idea attributing personhood to a chimp outrageous, Wise clearly differentiates the legal meaning of personhood from human being.
Whales, dolphins and elephants are also grouped as cognitively complex, however Wise’s strategy, as explained in the film, is to kick the door open on this issue, one species, one state at a time.
The documentary is a wild ride and begs the viewer to look at these sentient beings through a different lens, suggesting that they are worthy of respect and humane treatment.
After the screening, filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, and attorney for the Nonhuman Rights Project Elizabeth Stein, spoke about making the documentary – and the court room drama depicted in the film. Pennebaker sat with me later discussing his work, saying that the making of this documentary was a “life-changing” experience. “Because of Steve’s work, animal rights is now taught at over 100 law schools in the country. It’s going to take a long time to make people change, but I think that in maybe 50 years, we won’t be eating meat.”
Steve Wise and Jane Goodall are on the board of the Nonhuman Rights Project, which, according to its website is “the only civil rights organization in the United States working to achieve actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own.” Kevin R. Schneider, Executive Director, was in the audience and told me years have been devoted to legal research and now there’s room for volunteers of all backgrounds to participate..”sharing the information on social media, grass-roots movements.”
If you missed this documentary, watch it on HBO, coming this July.
BY Georgette Gilmore | Monday, May 09, 2016 10:30am
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Cecchini, MFF
The lines waiting to get in to The Wellmont Theater to see Norman Reedus in Conversation with AMC President of Original Programming and Montclair resident Joel Stillerman, snaked down Bloomfield Avenue then down several blocks on North Willow. Two women were waiting at the front of the line at 8:30 am to grab the best seats at the general admission event:
This was no ordinary Montclair Film Festival event, it was The Walking Dead fandom at its finest.
BY Announcement | Sunday, May 08, 2016 1:01pm
The Montclair Film Festival (MFF) today announced the festival’s 2016 Audience Award winners. Taika Waititi’s HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE took top honors in the Narrative Feature category, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU won the Documentary Feature category, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s SONITA won the audience prize for World Cinema, and Kahane Cooperman’s JOE’s VIOLIN taking home top audience honors in the Short Film category.
“Without our incredibly generous audiences, there would be no Montclair Film Festival,” said Executive Director Tom Hall. “These awards are a wonderful way to deepen the connection between our filmmakers and film lovers.” Continue Reading
BY Baristanet Staff | Friday, May 06, 2016 1:15pm
This week, Montclair Film Festival (MFF) announced the complete slate of education programs taking place at the 2016 MFF. These programs join the previously announced Young Voices: A Community Conversation program, presented by Partners For Health and taking place May 3 at 7:00 PM at the MFF’s Audible Lounge, located at 544 Bloomfield Ave, and the MFF’s Emerging Filmmakers Competition (EFC) screening, taking place Saturday May 7 at 11:00 AM at the Wellmont Theater:
BY Georgette Gilmore | Thursday, May 05, 2016 10:30am
This weekend it’s all about moms and there are many nice events for Mom to enjoy her special day. Want to take her out for a nice meal Check out our dining guide here.
Don’t forget about:
Here are more ways to spend Mother’s Day weekend:
BY Liz George | Tuesday, May 03, 2016 3:15pm
You had a chance to see legendary actor/director/writer/producer Rob Reiner three times last Sunday in Montclair (four if you happened to be dining at De Novo, where Reiner stopped in to fuel up between events and even posed for a picture with owner Demetri Malki). The director behind Stand By Me, When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men and An American President, and the actor behind All in The Family’s Michael (Meathead) Stivic, was at three different Montclair Film Festival events.
BY Georgette Gilmore | Tuesday, May 03, 2016 11:10am
The Montclair Film Festival is halfway through and the exciting announcements of special guests aren’t slowing down. Today MFF announced that Jon Stewart and his wife Tracey Stewart will be attending the festival on Saturday May 7 to introduce the film Unlocking the Cage. They will be joined in attendance by Stephen Colbert and Board President Evelyn Colbert, along with the directors D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
Unlocking the Cage, screening at 2:30 pm on Saturday May 7, explores the efforts to bestow human rights on animals by animal welfare activists. Jon and Tracey Stewart are partnering with Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization, to open the organization’s fourth location at their New Jersey farm. Farm Sanctuary operates three shelters in New York and California that provide lifelong care for nearly 1,000 rescued farm animals, works to change laws to decrease abuse of farm animals, and promotes compassionate vegan living.
Purchase tickets here.