BY Georgette Gilmore | Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 4:00pm
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We were pretty sure that Stephen Colbert would be involved at Montclair Film Festival‘s annual fundraiser event held at NJPAC, but we had no idea who the guest would be. Past guests have been Steve Carell, Jimmy Fallon, and Jon Stewart. Today we found out! MFF just announced that Stephen Colbert, host of CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” will host an evening with director J.J. Abrams (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Lost”) on stage at NJPAC on Saturday, November 21 at 8 p.m.
Stephen Colbert and J.J. Abrams: Celebrity Nerd-Off! will feature the pair in a wide-ranging on-stage discussion of their influences, ideas, and creative work.
BY Georgette Gilmore | Monday, Aug 31, 2015 1:00pm
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Calling all filmmakers! The Montclair Film Festival just announced the opening of its annual film submission process for films to be included in the 5th annual Montclair Film Festival (April 29 – May 8, 2016).
Featuring a rich program of films in the Fiction, Non-Fiction, World Cinema, Short and Student Filmmaking categories, as well as a program dedicated to the work of filmmakers from New Jersey, The Montclair Film Festival offers emerging and established artists the possibility to present their films in a world-class screening environment, with curated competitions, Audience Awards, and opportunities to reach attending members of the national press.
“We are excited to begin our annual programming process,” said Montclair Film Festival Executive Director Tom Hall. “As the Montclair Film Festival continues to grow, we remain dedicated to our mission of introducing our audiences, press, and industry guests to the work of great filmmakers from around the world.”
BY Georgette Gilmore | Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015 8:30am
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Meredith Ladov (Managing Director) and Sue Hollenberg (Education Director) working at MFF’s new home.
Over the past five years, the Montclair Film Festival has grown tremendously. What started as a week-long festival in 2012, has expanded to a 10 day event with over 150 films, events, and parties at the 2015 festival this past May. Add the many events throughout the year that MFF offers and it’s no wonder that the growing organization needed more space.
This month, MFF moved from its headquarters at 494 Bloomfield Avenue to a larger home in the Hillside Square building at 8 Hillside Square, a renovated 1926 former church turned Silver LEED certified office building, just one block from Montclair’s central business district.
BY Georgette Gilmore | Monday, Aug 10, 2015 11:00am
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Not going to see A Princess Bride on Church Street this Friday night? Inconceivable!
You don’t want to miss the chance to see the beloved and endlessly quotable film—it’s also the last in Montclair Film Festival’s Summer Outdoor Movie Series.
Bring your chairs, blankets and snacks (Anybody want a peanut?) and go early for a live performance by Big Mamou beginning at 8 pm.
BY Georgette Gilmore | Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 1:30pm
Dig out your tie dye and bell bottoms and join others for a celebration of the 60’s at Montclair Film Festival’s next outdoor, free summer film on Friday nigh at Van Vleck House & Gardens—Festival Express!
Festival Express is a 2003 documentary film about the 1970 train tour of the same name across Canada taken by some of North America’s most popular rock bands, including Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends.
Bring your chairs, blankets and picnics and go early for a live performance by Parent’s Who Rock’s Blastaways beginning at 8 pm.
Montclair Film Festival Summer Series: Festival Express
Friday, June 12. Live music by Blastaways at 8 pm / film at 9 pm
Van Vleck House & Gardens, 21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair, NJ, 07043
And mark your calendars for the other great films in the series this summer:
BY Georgette Gilmore | Tuesday, May 26, 2015 12:00pm
It’s (unofficially) summer and the Montclair Film Festival Summer Series kicks off this Friday with an outdoor screening of Little Shop of Horrors!
Pack up your blankets, chairs and picnics and go enjoy the fun 1986 musical horror/comedy film directed by Frank Oz starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, and Levi Stubbs as the voice of Audrey II—the singing plant.
BY James Feinberg | Monday, May 11, 2015 8:09pm
A look at two films from the 10th and final day of the Montclair Film Festival:
It’s easy to see why any festival (or moviegoer) might snap up Dito Montiel’s Boulevard — it’s one of the last films to star Robin Williams, who died in August. Williams is a welcome presence, actually, and it’s somehow comforting to spend more time with him no matter what he’s doing, but this film is not within his comfort zone, nor is it a particularly good film. Williams plays a Nashville banker who gets caught up in an affair with a young male prostitute, while trying to juggle his stoic wife (Kathy Baker), his inquisitive best friend (Bob Odenkirk), and his near-comatose father. The premise could make for a dark exploration of the underside of repressed sexuality, but the style of filmmaking is distancing and impersonal, which clashes with the deep likability of Williams and Odenkirk. The script, unworthy of Williams’ unsurpassed delivery, is borderline comatose itself.
BY Announcement | Monday, May 11, 2015 3:08pm
The 2015 Montclair Film Festival (MFF) today announced the festival’s inaugural Audience Award winners. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me And Earl And The Dying Girl took top honors in the Narrative Feature category, Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson’s Peace Officer won the Documentary Feature category, Shonali Bose’s Margarita, With A Straw won the audience prize for World Cinema, and Joshua Seftel’s The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano taking home top audience honors in the Short Film category.
“We are so happy to see the overwhelmingly positive response of our audiences to the films in this year’s festival,” said MFF Executive Director Tom Hall. “As a programmer, there is nothing more satisfying than watching audiences, filmmakers, and films discover one another. This year’s Audience Award winners prove the depth and vitality of the art of film and its continuing power to forge a meaningful connection among artists and audiences.”
Congratulations to the winners of The 2015 Montclair Film Festival Audience Awards: Continue Reading
BY James Feinberg | Sunday, May 10, 2015 4:30pm
The most notable part of this documentary on young Olympic ping-pong hopefuls in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games was not the incredible facility of the players—though, thanks to excellent slow-motion photography, that part was fun to watch. Most fascinating was the way in which co-directors Sara Newens and Mina T. Son rendered the humanity of her three stars—all high school students under the age of eighteen—and made us cheerleaders in their rapid rise through the ranks of national competitive play. In the tenser scenes near the end the audience was palpably on edge, and their were audible sighs of relief or groans at exciting moments during some of the later games. But the truly touching—and exceedingly well-filmed—moments were when Newens and Son exposed, with a well-timed shot, the depth of the rivalry between two players, or caught another just as the pressure was beginning to overwhelm him. The editing of this film is three years in the making, and it shows. Continue Reading
BY Liz George, Rob Marzulli | Sunday, May 10, 2015 2:47pm
You couldn’t walk away from last Friday’s Montclair Film Festival screening of “Mavis!” at the Wellmont Theater not loving gospel/soul icon Mavis Staples. This uplifting documentary by Jessica Edwards follows the 75-year-old legendary singer from her humble beginnings in Chicago as a gospel singer with her father, brother and sisters in the 1950s through the group’s folk and civil rights anthems (“Why Am I Treated So Bad,” “Respect Yourself”) and pop hits (“I’ll Take You There,” “Let’s Do It Again”) and up to her Grammy-winning album You Are Not Alone in 2010 with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy.
Plenty of archival footage from the 1950s, civil rights era, 1970s and beyond, commentary from Mavis and her sister Yvonne — punctuated by interviews with Bob Dylan, Chuck D, Julian Bond, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy and others—provide an entertaining chronicle of an eclectic career spanning more than 60 years. More than just a parade of talking heads, “Mavis!” gives the audience a great feel for its subject. Lots of footage of Tweedy and Mavis collaborating on their recent release One True Vine show Staples as vital and engaging.
Much of the film focuses on Roebuck “Pops” Staples, father to Mavis, friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and creative force behind the Staple Singers. Born in 1914 in Winona, Mississippi, “Pops” was the youngest of 14 children and cut his teeth playing blues guitar with Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson. Although the Staple Singers—Pops, and his children Cleotha, Yvonne, Purvis and Mavis—first came on to the local Chicago music scene strictly as gospel singers, you see the blues influence in their later work. Nevertheless “Pops” had his limits as shown in the movie by his reluctance to record “Let’s Do It Again” in 1975 due to the song’s suggestive lyrics—written by Curtis Mayfield, childhood friend to the Staples children. He green lighted the song, which became a chart topper. Continue Reading