Montclair Film Festival Local Spotlight: Liz Samuel’s MOMTRESS

BY  |  Wednesday, Apr 26, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Local actor Liz Samuel can now add screenwriter and film producer to her credits with the Montclair Film Festival (MFF) premiere of MOMTRESS, a short film wholly made in Montclair. Inspired by last year’s MFF NJ Shorts screening, Samuel decided to take the leap into writing, producing, and acting in her own short film instead of waiting for the perfect role to appear.

Samuel’s film reflects her own experience trying to juggle an acting career with raising a family. Trips into New York City for auditions and film shoots end up sandwiched between school hours and activities, all the while memorizing lines and trying to remain “present” for her family. With a spouse who often travels, it becomes a “crazy balance” dependent on smooth commutes and appointments fitting neatly into place. Most Montclair residents know those expectations doesn’t always resolve themselves easily, even for the most well-organized commuters.

As a long-time actor, Liz Samuel knew a lot about what to expect from her first writing/producing experience, but the amount of time it took to edit the short film surprised her. What began as an expected six-week editing session took almost three months. It all came down to the details, Samuel explained, “We had so many edits to the project to get the right moments, the right music, the right tone, the right feel.” Continue Reading

Montclair Film Festival: What’s Playing at Montclair’s Biggest Screen, The Wellmont Theater

BY  |  Monday, Apr 24, 2017 3:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Film Festival starts this weekend. Here are the films and events that will be featured on Montclair’s biggest screen, The Wellmont, where there are also the most seats available.


Opening Night Film: STEP
Directory Amanda Lipitz documents “Lethal Ladies” step dancing team of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and the team’s high-stakes senior year of high school in inner-city Baltimore. Friday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.

The Hero

Director Brett Haley (I’ll See You In My Dreams) triumphs with a beautifully crafted story about an aging film star (Sam Elliott) looking for a new role to play. This unforgettable story is about the roles and responsibilities that shape our lives. Saturday April 29, 6:00 p.m. Continue Reading

Yance Ford Brings Strong Island to the Montclair Film Festival

BY  |  Friday, Apr 21, 2017 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

In 1992, Yance Ford’s brother William was murdered in a Long Island suburb. While reports of young black men being shot without consequence are part of the common conversation now, 25 years ago it was not the sort of story we paid attention to. But William is getting the attention he deserves in Strong Island, a documentary Yance made about the crime and its impact on his family. Yance is bringing the film to the Montclair Film Festival and is taking part in the “Emerging Black Voices” panel discussion on May 6.

At the time of William’s death, Yance and I were students at Hamilton College, where we’d become friends in our freshman-year dorm. I’ve been following the path of Strong Island on social media, which has included some major news: the film won a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and Netflix bought the film for worldwide streaming later this year.

When I saw that Yance would be at the MFF discussing the film, I was thrilled to get a chance to interview him about the making of Strong Island. An edited version of our conversation follows.

When did you start Strong Island? When did you finish it?
My brother’s murder really started making its way into my work at Hamilton, as an art major, doing performance art pieces within months after he died. The work was rough as I continued to work through his death. But the film and my skill set came together in the early aughts. I began thinking very seriously about making a film. I was working interesting day jobs and ended up at the series POV, where I got to watch really amazing filmmakers do their work. So I worked up the courage to say, ‘OK, I’m starting this.’ I did my first interview in May 2008, got a grant on the basis of that interview, started working with my cinematographer, Alan Jacobsen, in 2010, and wrapped at the end of September 2016. From the time when I sat down in front of my computer and seriously took notes to when I got off the plane from Copenhagen with the locked picture it was 10 years. Continue Reading

Montclair Film Announces 2017 Emerging Filmmaker Winners

BY  |  Monday, Apr 10, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Film has announced the winners of the 2017 Emerging Filmmaker Competition (EFC), a program co-presented by Partners For Health Foundation that screens work by students in grades 4-12 from the Tri-State Area and beyond. This year, over 90 films were submitted in three categories: Cinemaniacs (grades 4-6), Storytellers (grades 7-9), and Visionaries (grades 10-12). Winning films were selected by a group of educators and industry professionals, and all winning films will be screened at the Montclair Film Festival’s EFC Showcase on Saturday, April 29, at 11:00 a.m. at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair.

Montclair Film has also selected 15 students from across the area to participate in the Montclair Film Festival’s Junior Jury. The jurors will review a selection of films, meet with industry professionals to learn about the process of jury deliberation, adjudicate, and select a winning film for the festival’s Junior Jury Award, to be given on Saturday, May 6th, 2017. Continue Reading

Montclair Film Festival 2017 Official Program: John Turturro, Bill Nye and More

BY  |  Monday, Apr 03, 2017 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Today, Montclair Film officially announced the full program for the 6th annual Montclair Film Festival (MFF), taking place April 28 – May 7, 2017 and featuring over 150 films, events, discussions, and parties, with over 150 filmmakers and industry guests attending including Zoe Lister-Jones (BAND AID), Michael Angarano & Ari Graynor (AVENUES), Stanley Nelson (TELL THEM WE ARE RISING), Jean Doumanian (UNA), Dolores Huerta (DOLORES), Steve James (ABACUS), Bettye LaVette (AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS), Kenny Anderson (MR. CHIBBS), Azazel Jacobs (THE LOVERS), Oren Moverman (THE DINNER), Brett Haley (THE HERO).

Last night, at a preview party at Montclair Film’s new home, Investors Bank Film and Media Center, the festival’s executive director Tom Hall broke down festival highlights, talked more about the festival’s previously announced films, and shared some favorite films and events.

Special guests this year will include both John Turturro and Bill Nye who join Stephen Colbert in the festival’s 2017 Conversation Series, presented by Audible.

Montclair Film Festival


The 10-day festival starts on a high note, with STEP, a documentary about the struggles and successes of a step-dancing team of senior high school girls at a Baltimore school that was a huge hit at Sundance, to be screened at the Wellmont Theater, followed by an opening night party. The documentary follows the girls as they prepare to be the first in their families to go to college and the first graduating class of The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. “We’ve got 1700 seats at the Wellmont so invite your friends and make it a special occasion. I guarantee people will love it,” says Hall.


The festival’s Centerpiece Film, also at the Wellont, is Stanley Nelson’s TELL THEM WE ARE RISING, the story behind America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Hall learned a lot by watching the film, including the rift between W. E. B. Du Bois and the federal government in setting up colleges. Following the film, the festival’s annual House Party also takes place at the Wellmont, promising a big dance floor and a great time. Continue Reading

Lights! Camera! Action! The New Montclair Film Investors Bank Film and Media Center is Officially Open

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 30, 2017 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Two years ago, Investor’s Bank donated the building located at 505 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, to the Montclair Film Festival, now known as Montclair Film. This morning, the Montclair Film Investors Bank Film and Media Center had its official opening with a ribbon cutting.

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You’re Invited: Montclair Film Climate Action Workshop

BY  |  Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Film Climate Action Workshop

The community is invited to attend a Montclair Film Climate Action Workshop on April 2 and 9 to help create a giant public art installation that serves as a reflection and a reminder of our impact on the climate/environment.

The art will be installed at the Montclair Film’s new building at 505 Bloomfield and will be showcased at the 2017 festival. The workshops will also include Student Action Stations with tools to encourage and guide students through the process of letter writing, social media, and other forms of social activism.

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Montclair Film Announces Opening, Closing and Centerpiece Screenings for 6th Annual Montclair Film Festival

BY  |  Monday, Mar 27, 2017 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Film Festival


Mark your calendars! Montclair Film just announced the Opening, Closing and Centerpiece screenings for the 6th annual Montclair Film Festival (MFF), taking place April 28 – May 7.

Amanda Lipitz’s STEP will open the festival on Friday, April 28; Stanley Nelson’s TELL THEM WE ARE RISING: AMERICA’S BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, the festival’s Documentary Centerpiece, will screen on Friday, May 5; Geremy Jasper’s PATTI CAKE$ is set as the festival’s Fiction Centerpiece for Saturday, May 6, with Zoe Lister-Jones’ BAND AID set as the Closing Night film on Saturday, May 6. Each of these screenings will take place at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair.

montclair film festival



Additionally, Montclair Film and the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) are proud to announce a partnership that helps build meaningful opportunity for African American professionals in the film and television industry, and which celebrates the work of established artists in the field. This year’s partnership includes a new program, Emerging Black Voices, which will offer opportunity to filmmakers and producers at both the MFF and ABFF, as well as multiple panel discussions, screenings, and the House Party, a celebration of African American filmmakers held each year at the MFF. The inaugural class of Emerging Black Voices fellows will feature Iyabo Boyd (producer, FOR AHKEEM), Sabaah Folayan (director, WHOSE STREETS?), and Yance Ford (director, STRONG ISLAND), and they will meet with industry advisors Jeff Friday (Founder & CEO, ABFF Ventures, LLC), Patrick Harrison (Director, New York Programs and Membership, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences), and Julie La’Bassiere (Founder & CEO, Tall Bird Marketing & Strategy.)

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Become a Volunteer for The 6th Montclair Film Festival

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 16, 2017 3:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

The 6th Montclair Film Festival is around the corner. Interested in joining an amazing team of volunteers?

Come check out one of two Volunteer Information Sessions to find out how you can volunteer and what is required. Current volunteers can come and find out what’s new for the 2017 festival. New volunteers can come see what it’s all about.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 from 7pm – 8pm at the Montclair Public Library auditorium.

Sunday, March 26, 2017 from 4pm – 5pm at Cinema505 at 505 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair. Continue Reading

A New Name For Montclair Film Festival To Better Reflect Its New Identity

BY  |  Monday, Mar 13, 2017 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Film

The Montclair Film Festival just announced the launch of its new name and identity —Montclair Film. The name was changed to better express the organization’s year-round commitment to a wide range of film and education programming.

The Montclair Film Festival (MFF), the annual event taking place this year from April 28 – May 7, 2017, will retain its name as the organization’s signature program.

“We are incredibly proud to introduce the world to our new name and identity,” said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall. “With our new home opening its doors, the moment was right to be ambitious and build the proper branding framework to support the entirety of our organization’s mission.”

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Featured Comment

These houses look like McMansions that were in the dryer too long and now have shrunk to 3/4 size. The flaccid one at the top of the thread looks like the elastic is all stretched out, too.

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