After 21 years of keeping the opening night film a secret, New Jersey’s Arthouse Film Festival is breaking tradition to announce that it will open this year’s festival with “The Sessions” starring Helen Hunt, John Hawkes and William H. Macy. 

Festival director Chuck Rose says, “This film already has tremendous Oscar buzz for for what are expected to be three of the best performances of the year.  We will screen it on our opening nights: Oct. 2nd, at AMC Loews Monmouth Mall, and on Oct. 3rd at AMC Loews Mountainside.  Fox Searchlight will release it in select cities beginning Oct. 26th, so we are honored and  excited to have the opportunity to see it so far in advance."

The Arthouse Film Festival will run for ten weeks at these two AMC theatres.  Since launching in 1991, the festival has hosted 1,521 movie premieres with 988 live guest appearances.

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 Oscar winners and nominees Danny Aiello, Alan Arkin, James Cromwell, Frank Darabont, Jesse Eisenberg, Tony Gilroy, Ethan Hawke, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Jon Kilik, Melissa Leo, Viggo Mortensen, Chazz Palminteri, John Sayles, Marc Shaiman, Howard Shore, Aaron Sorkin, Fisher Stevens and David Strathairn have joined Dylan Baker, Famke Janssen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Delroy Lindo, Derek Luke, Mary Stuart Masterson, David Morse, Connie Nielsen, Joe Pantoliano and Kevin Smith as guest speakers who have come to share their insights with festival participants.

“The program will always be flexible in order to take advantage of opportunities as they arise,” said director Rose.  “Wonderful surprises and fantastic celebrities can pop up out of nowhere, so I try to keep the schedule as fluid as possible.  In the past two years, we premiered 64 films that later earned a total of 18 Spirit Award, 29 British Academy Award, and 21 Oscar nominations.”

“Even before we started a couple of decades ago, I began working to create an international VIP network of actors, directors, producers, journalists and film industry pros whose jobs involve creating, finding and evaluating the cream of Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, Venice, Berlin, SXSW, Tribeca and the other important film festivals.  We also work to ferret out potential hits in the development and production stages so we are ready to pounce on the best films first,” explained Rose.

For information, to see which films were screened in the past, or to register, visit:  or call 1-732-870-6012.

The festival is open to anyone, but seating is limited, so early enrollment is advised.  Subscription is $133 for five weeks or $235 for all ten weeks.  Also being offered is a specially priced flex ticket so the user may choose any eight out of ten nights for their convenience.  Discounts will be available for early registration. 

Other confirmed films and those under consideration for the upcoming festival include:  “Charles Bradley: Soul of America” with Charles Bradley, director Poull Brien; “Deadfall” with Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, director Stefan Ruzowitzky; “Electrick Children” with Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, director Rebecca Thomas; “Flight” with Denzel Washington, John Goodman, director Robert Zemeckis; “The Impossible” with Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, director J.A. Bayona; “Les Miserables” with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, director Tom Hooper; “Life of Pi” with Suraj Sharma, Tobey Mguire, director Ang Lee; “Lore” with Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina, director Cate Shortland; “Not Fade Away” with James Gandolfini, Jack Huston, director David Chase; “On the Road” with Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, director Walter Salles; “Quartet” with Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, director Dustin Hoffman; “Reality” with Aniello Arena, Loredana Simioli, director Matteo Garrone; “Red Flag” with Alex Karpovsky, Jennifer Prediger, director Alex Karpovsky; “Renoir” with Michel Bouquet, Christa Theret, director Gilles Bourdos; “A Royal Affair” with Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikrander, director Nikolaj Arcel; “The Silver Linings Playbook” with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, director David O. Russell; “Shadow Dancer” with Andrea Riseborough, Aidan Gillen, director James Marsh; “Somebody Up There Likes Me” with Keith Poulson, Jess Weixler, director Bob Byington; “Song for Marion” with Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston, director Paul Andrew Williams; “Starlet” with Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, director Sean Baker; “Tchoupitoulas” with the Zander brothers, directors the Ross brothers; “This Must Be the Place” with Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, director Paolo Sorrentino; “28 Hotel Rooms” with Chris Messina, Marin Ireland, director Matt Ross; and “Zero Dark Thirty” with Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, director Kathryn Bigelow.