ASBURY PARK, NJ -- This year’s Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) is underway this weekend in Asbury Park. The festival began on March 27, and will run through Sunday, March 31. Over 245 films will be presented at over 60 events during these five days.

“This is where it was all born,” said Diane Raver, Co-founder of the festival. “Thomas Edison invented the film industry right here in the state of New Jersey.” The festival began in 2002, with 2003 being its premiere year.

Asbury Park is again the host community of the festival; it was held here last year and in years past. “We love the warm welcome that we receive when we’re here in Asbury Park,” said Lauren Concar Sheehy, the Executive Director of the GSFF.

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In addition to screenings of this year’s featured films, the festival also hosts networking events, cocktail parties and galas, panel discussions, casting calls, screenplay readings, and hands-on workshops throughout its five days.

This year, the films hail from over 20 countries, making the GSFF notable for being “a global film festival here in New Jersey, on the East Coast,” said Sheehy.

The festival celebrates independent film, and indeed, the features shown during the festival represent the best in “indie” films. “With technology now, more people can bring their vision to screen,” said GSFF Board Chairperson, Nick Falcone. “These are the festivals that they can really get noticed at.”

To purchase tickets, see the lineup and find out more information about this year’s Garden State Film Festival, visit gsff.org