LITTLE FALLS, NJ — On Sunday, April 25th 2021, the 93rd Academy Awards will be held in Los Angeles, CA, and there’s a New Jersey connection to several nominated films and filmmakers this year. TAPintoTV's Executive Producer, Brian Brodeur, was joined by David W. Schoner Jr., the Associate Director of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, at East Main Media Studios in Little Falls, NJ, to discuss this year’s nominees and the booming film and television industry in the garden state.
Nominated for six Academy Awards, Aaron Sorkin’s, The Trial of the Chicago 7, was filmed mostly in Paterson, NJ, and is up for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, and Best Film Editing.
"The exciting thing about The Trial of the Chicago 7 is that they filmed almost the entire movie here. They took over an old church in Paterson,” Schoner told Brodeur, “and created this courtroom that looks like it's in Chicago."
Along with converting the church, Sorkin filmed several scenes in a large Paterson brownstone where many of the film's characters lived. "It's exciting. They were here for such a long period of time," Schoner noted.
Several other nominees have connections to New Jersey, including Nomadland, Judas and the Black Messiah, and The Father.
Newark's own Kenny and Keith Lucas are nominated for Best Original Screenplay for the film Judas and the Black Messiah, also up for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song this year. "These two brothers have really been working for a long time," Schoner explained. "I think they are going to win."
Searchlight Pictures' film Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand, is nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress for McDormand. The film is based on the book by Jessica Bruder, who originally hails from Montclair, NJ.
"We've always said there's so much talent in New Jersey," Schoner explained. "We just want to make sure everyone knows about it."
Tom Bernard, a board member of the NJ Motion Picture and Television Commission, is Co-President of SONY Pictures Classics which released The Father, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. The film is nominated for six awards at this year's Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.
"Tom always picks and winds up distributing those films that are movies like The Father," Schoner noted. "He always has those little sweet spots for those films."
Schoner went on to explain that the film and television business in New Jersey is booming. "We have a lot of stuff coming in," Schoner told Brodeur. "It's a direct result of Governor Murphy's film and tv tax incentive."
Schoner explained that film and television productions will work in states that offer cost-savings and tax incentives, and along with New Jersey's creative and technical talent pool, there will be a lot of production going on in the Garden State.
"It's not just about production, but it's also about building studios," Brodeur noted. "There may be some building and development in the state." Schoner predicted that several large production facilities will be built in New Jersey in the coming year. "To have a strong film and tv business here," Schoner explained, "you need the brick and mortar studios as well."