SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The second annual SOMA Film Festival, with co-producer South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), begins Thursday night with a party at SOPAC in the Loft, and continues with film screenings all weekend long.

The main theater at SOPAC will feature award winning and innovative short and feature length films from around America and the world on Friday night, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Saturday evening feature is Academy Award nominee "Fire at Sea," a groundbreaking documentary from noted Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi, which was shot on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa during the European migrant crisis, and sets the migrants' dangerous Mediterranean crossing against a background of the ordinary life of the islanders.

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With a limited American run in theaters, Matt Smollon, Director of the SOMA Film Festival states, “through the tireless work of Saran Klein (a Maplewood filmmaker) we were able to secure 'Fire at Sea' and share it with our audience. This is a big moment for our growing festival.”  

Throughout the weekend, over 50 films will be showcased with many filmmakers, actors, actresses, writers, producers and crew in attendance.  

Filmmaker Q & A’s will be hosted by Tony Award Winner Danielle Ferland, noted film critic Stephen Whitty, and Dean of Seton Hall College of Communication and the Arts Thomas Rondinella, as well as the first ever award for “Best Short Script” presented by famed actor, writer, and director Steven Kampmann (Back to School, Stealing Home, and TV’s Newhart).

A “Locals Program” is slated for Sunday, March 12, at 4:30 p.m., which will highlight many local filmmakers and talent.  

Passes available for the full weekend, or for Friday, Saturday or Sunday only. Tickets are also available for the Opening Night Party. Details here.

For a full schedule of films, click here.

TAPinto SOMA is a media sponsor of the SOMA Film Festival.

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