Arts & Entertainment

Millburn Film Fest to Showcase 11 Student Films on April 17


MILLBURN, NJ - The Education Foundation of Millburn-Short Hills will be showcasing 11 winning films at the Millburn Film Fest on Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at Millburn High School.

The Red Carpet Premiere is sponsored by The Gonnella Team and New York Film Academy, and Studio Sponsor Towne Realty Group. The community is invited to view short, family-friendly films Millburn students have created, walk the red carpet, take home a complementary photo, and exit the event to a fanfare. Tickets are available online at

This year, the premiere will be screening “Goldfish,” “Lapse,” “Manhattan in the Mountains,” “Neverland,” “Nowadays,” “Paper,” “Project Graduation,” “Soar,” “The Art of Writing,” “The Music of My Life,” and  “This is Me.”  Two scholarships to So.i.Heard Music will be awarded to the films selected by The Millburn Arts Advisory Committee and the top film will be given a New York Film Academy one-week scholarship to summer film camp.

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“Goldfish” is a heartwarming film where a young boy arrives home to find his goldfish floating in the bowl. Follow him as this loss teaches him a lesson about lifeThomas Singer (MHS 10th grader) wrote, directed and filmed “Goldfish.” The film stars Arthur Lewis.

Jasen Aziz, a junior at MHS, is a master of special effects as shown in his film “Lapse” that he wrote, directed, filmed and stared in. The film shows how a young man is caught up in the hectic day-to-day swirl of life, and is able to stop time for a while and take in the beauty and calmness of nature. Ryan Sullivan (MHS 11th grade) was the second cameraman, and “Lapse” co-stared his sister Mariam Aziz (7th grader at MMS).

“Manhattan in the Mountains” was submitted and co-directed by Matthew Weintraub and written, co-directed and filmed by Nathan Davidovich, both sophomores at MHS. The film takes you on location in the serene Catskill Mountains to the “Manhattan in the Mountains” summer festival.  The camp offers a haven for talented youth to immerse themselves in the practice and performance of classical music and the film gives you a glimpse of this wonderful summer experience.

Senior, Max Retik, wrote, directed, and filmed “Neverland” with producer, Hailey Burns, also a senior.  The film stars his sisters Lia (4th grader at Hartshorn Elementary) and Ellie Retik (6th grader at MMS) along with Maddie Sutton, Max Harrow, Kayla Wolf (MHS juniors), Leonard Santos, Alex Darvin (MHS seniors) and Iliza Smith.  “Neverland” unfolds as teenage girl browses a shoebox of old photographs and is trying to understand the strong feelings of nostalgia she experiences.

         “Nowadays” is an exaggerated way of showing how often people use social media. It seems that three friends are planning where and when to hang out through Snapchat, but later it is revealed that they could have planned it in a much simpler way.  “Nowadays” was submitted, directed, written and filmed by Larry Yu (8th grader at MMS).  It stars actors/snapchatters (8th graders) Michael Wong , Raegan Reid and Hannah McGarr.

Alex DeRosa’s artistry is displayed in her stop-motion film “Paper.” Directed, written, filmed, and designed by Alex DeRosa (7th grader at MMS), "Paper” is about a girl who yearns to restore the happiness that once existed in her home


“Project Graduation” was submitted, directed, co-written and filmed by Dan Abrams and co-written with Dan Vaccaro, both seniors.  It stars high school seniors Alex Barkley, Jack Bowen, Michael Lieberman, Shea Barry, Dan Vaccaro, and Jaron Li.  This film’s “all-star” cast also includes Bill Miron, Millburn High School Principal, and "Chief", MHS security guard, the Barkley family and other MHS faculty.  Watch for the cameo of Jim Crisfield, former Millburn Schools Superintendent. “Project Graduation” is about the senior cruise and how it has been revered as the best part of graduation for years. However, this year it has been cancelled. Is it due to the rambunctiousness of previous years' students, or is there more at play? One student searches for answers he wasn't supposed to find.

 A senior at MHS, Emma Quong, wrote, directed and filmed “The Art of Writing.”

"The Art of Writing” explores the craft of Richard Zhao, who at age 16 taught himself calligraphy. He posted his works on a blog, which later gained him recognition from the editors at Tumblr. On Tumblr, he has over 47 thousand followers. For more of his art, visit Zhao at" Artist Richard Zhao is a first year undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon and 2014 MHS graduate.

         “The Music of My Life” was submitted Kevin Wang (7th grader) and co-directed, co-written and filmed by Kevin Wang (7th grader), Anushka Somani,  & Isabella Song (8th graders).  The film expresses emotions and feelings that no words can describe - only music can. With an original soundtrack, this story tells of a boy's struggles to live up to the expectations of his parents, especially when his twin sister receives excellent grades. But when he befriends a girl at school, he realizes that things might not always be so black and white.

Jeremy Hochman, 11th-grader, directed, edited, and filmed “Soar.” “Soar” is a glimpse of empowerment and natural release, Soar tells of liberation achievable in air and on Earth, over Pacific cliffs and on the gritty basketball courts of Venice Beach.

“This is Me" is a short autobiographical story showing that with every failure comes a success.  The film was directed, written and filmed by 10th-grader Julia Newman and features Julia and her mom’s musical talents.

The selection of films for viewing is superb thanks to this years judging panel:  John C. McGinley, Alan Zweibel, Leslie Glenn Chesloff and members of the Millburn-Short Hills Arts Advisory Committee: Cathy Scorsese, Laraine Brennan-Barach, Andrew Permison, Amy McGovern, Victoria Plummer, Donna Davis, Judith Kramer, and Kathi Hecht.

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