Arts & Entertainment

Jasen Aziz Takes Top Prize at the 2016 Millburn Film Fest

Jasen Aziz, overall winner of the 2016 Millburn Film Fest. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Jasen Aziz, Director of Door After Door. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Millburn Film Fest Co-Chairs Lynn Farscht and Alyssa Russo Credits: Jonathan Sym
Julia Damesek, Director of Skyliners Credits: Jonathan Sym
Anya Parker-Lentz, Joanna Parker-Lentz, Kate Parker-Lentz and Ruslan Voylar. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Kyle Farscht, Director of Paranoid Credits: Jonathan Sym
Anya Parker-Lentz,Ruslan Voylar and Kate Parker-Lentz, Max Retik (not pictured), Co-Directors of Let's Disappear.  The Parker-Lentz sisters co-wrote the original music. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Lynn Farscht and Alyssa Russo presenting awards to the winners. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Julia Newman, Director of New York City and Still in Motion. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Aaron Surloff, Director of Date Night. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Jasen Aziz signing autographs. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Kevin Wang, Isabella Song and Amanda Huang, Co-Directors of Whistle. Credits: JonathanSym
Film fans Millburn Township Committeewoman Jodi Rosenberg and Karen Bigos of the Towne Realty Group, sponsor of Millburn Film Fest 2016. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Millburn teachers Gabe Rhodes and Ellen Krueger, recipients of the inaugural Kreuger-Rhodes Award. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Larry Wu and Chloe Xiang, Co-Directors of Midnight Euphoria. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Shannon Aronson, Chairperson of the Education Foundation of Millburn/Short Hills, thanking the filmmakers, volunteers and community for its support of the film festival. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Ethan Podell, Director of Long Story Short-I Babysat, being interviewed by Studio 462's Joe Deleone. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Gabe Rhodes Credits: Jonathan Sym
Chris Stone, Darren Ting, Swathi Nachiappan, Raghav Chetal, Danny Sullivan and Allyson Graves (not pictured), Co-Directors of The Millennial. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Luke Wroblewski, Brendan Weissman (Director) and Nick Ryan, of 2:32. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Daniel Rosenfeld, Robby Aronson, David Cross and Joe Deleone of Millburn's Studio 462. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Standing room lonely at the MHS theater. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Dr. Miron, who plays a cameo role in 2:32, with film festival honoree Ellen Krueger. Credits: Jonathan Sym
Jasen Aziz's films have won in every Millburn Film Fest for the past four years.   Credits: Jonathan Sym

MILLBURN, NJ – Three-time Millburn Film Fest winner Jasen Aziz took home the top prize this year at the Ed Foundation’s fifth annual Millburn Film Fest. 

The recent honor marks the fourth consecutive year Aziz has won at the Millburn Film Fest since his freshman year at Millburn High School.  His winning film 'Door After Door,' which stars Aziz and his sister Mariam, tells a story of imagination and adventure behind life’s everyday “doors."

Aziz received first-place honors in the 2015 for his film 'Lapse' and were among the winners in 2014 for 'iShrink' and 2013 for 'The Game'.

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The original idea for 'Door After Door' came from Aziz’s mother when the two were collaborating over concepts for the film.  From that point, he imagined the different “worlds” one could experience and then began filming shortly after. 'Door After Door' employs many special effects techniques throughout the film.  So much, it took over four months just to edit the seven minute film.

“I loved watching films as a kid.  And I thought, what if I did that?”  Aziz told TAP recalling the first time he knew he wanted to make films.  He was in 4th grade.
“My family is very supportive of my passion and they are along for the journey.  It really means a lot.”

Aziz plans on attending university after graduation to study filmmaking and hopes to make it a full-time career one day.  Hoping to follow in the footsteps of his favorite filmmaker, J.J. Abrams, we may see this talented filmmaker direct the next Star Wars or Star Trek one day.

The Red Carpet event premiered the 12 winning films.  As the popularity of the film festival increases each year, so did the number of entries.  This year over 40 filmmakers made submissions to the festival, the most ever in the history of the festival.

Millburn High School teachers Ellen Krueger and Gabe Rhodes were honored at the event as the film festival bestowed upon them an inaugural award for excellence in education and leadership.  The award, which is named after Krueger and Rhodes, will recognize and honor Millburn High School student filmmakers each year.

The winning films for 2016 are:

“2:32” – submitted by Brendan Weissman (11th grade)

“Date Night” – submitted by Aaron Surloff (11th grade)

“Door After Door” – submitted by Jasen Aziz (12th grade)

“Let’s Disappear” – submitted by Kate Parker-Lentz (10th grade)

“Long Story Short – I Babysat” – submitted by Ethan Podell (12th Grade)

“Midnight Euphoria” – submitted by Chloe Xiang (9th grade)

“The Millennial” – submitted by Swathi Nachiappan (12th grade)

“New York City” – submitted by Julia Newman (11th grade)

“Paranoid” – submitted by Kyle Farscht (9th grade)

“Skyliners” – submitted by Julia Damesek (12th grade)

“Still in Motion” – submitted by Julia Newman (11th grade)

“Whistle” – submitted by Kevin Wang (8th grade)

Co-Chairs, Lynn Farscht and Alyssa Russo led this year’s Millburn Film Fest as well as emceeing the Red Carpet event.  They are the principals that organized the festival and worked closely with the committee of dedicated volunteers to produce this year’s event.  Thanks to their efforts, the support of prominent corporate sponsors and the generosity of the community, they made this year’s festival a grand success.  

Proceeds from the film festival go directly to fund Ed Foundation grants, which are awarded each year to support Millburn Township public schools.  Last year, the foundation donated approximately $225,000.

TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills is a media sponsor of the Millburn Film Fest and a grateful supporter of the Ed Foundation.

If you missed the film festival, an encore viewing of all the films is scheduled on April 6, 11 a.m. at the Bow Tie Cinema, located in downtown Millburn.  Tickets may be purchased at Millburn Film Fest Encore.

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