MILLBURN, NJ – Winners of the 2017 Millburn Film Fest debuted their short films Friday night and received recognition for their exceptional contributions. Judges picked the best entries from student directors from Millburn High School and Millburn Middle School. The inspired films ranged from documentaries about a group of grannies walking across America to the story of a young Syrian refugee living in New Jersey.

The evening's hosts, Lynn Farscht and Alyssa Russo, are part of the Education Foundation of Millburn and Short Hills, a community-based nonprofit established in 1993. The Ed Foundation aims to provide financial support for innovation and progressive improvements to enrich the academic experiences of all Millburn Township students. Thanks to the backing of the Millburn/Short Hills community, the Ed Foundation has donated more than $3,000,000 to the Township schools.

Middle school student Rachel Solomon submitted her first-ever entry to Film Fest, WALK- THE STORY OF THE IRON GRANNIES. The inspiring documentary follows the journey of four determined grandmothers as they walk over 2,300 miles from Florida to California.

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High school junior Ariel Riseman depicted the life of a family settling in Elizabeth, NJ after fleeing Syria. The refugee documentary, HEBA’s STORY, also won best documentary at the 2017 SOMA CinemaED Young Filmmakers Film Festival.

LYRIC, directed by Alex DeRosa, is an animated film about a girl’s struggle with depression and finding the strength to face her inner demon through music. DeRosa, a freshman at MHS, is a three-time Film Fest winner.  In 2014, her film DREAM garnered attention in the Black Maria Young Filmmakers Competition. Her film PAPER won the individual grand prize at the Montclair Film Festival Kidz Shortz in 2015.

Aaron Surloff, co-president of Studio 462, directed POPPY, a documentary highlighting a man’s connection to lung cancer through a family member’s diagnosis.

SINCERELY, A FEMINIST, directed by veteran filmmaker and MHS senior Julia Newman documents her trip to the Woman’s March in Washington, D.C.  Newman has won several awards in prior Film Fest’s. Her latest project that she co-produced, LOVE, EQUALITY AND PROTEST, was recently accepted into the Tribeca Film Festival.

MHS juniors David Chun and Jonny Berkowitz presented ECLIPSE, an experimental film about a lonely man who discovers new meaning in his life through an unlikely friend.

Many township residents have seen Soulfege, the MHS A capella group, perform. Kyle Farscht followed the award-winning group on their journey to the International Championship of High School A Capella in his film SOULFEGE: THE A CAPELLA EXPERIENCE. The film takes the audience behind the scenes as the group takes center stage and prepares for competition.

THE FOUNTAIN CASE, submitted by director Brendan Weissman and co-written by Ben Goodman, comes up with a conspiracy theory film based on the fire at the Magic Fountain in Summit. The film won an honorable mention at the 2017 SOMA Young Filmmakers CinemaEd Film Festival.

FLASH, another film by submitted by director and MHS sophomore Kyle Farscht. The film asks the question, “Do we really just exist in front of the camera these days…?”  Farscht, a veteran filmmaker and past Film Fest awardee, was a selectee for the 2016 All-American High School Film Festival for his music video WATERCOLORS.

The Krueger-Rhodes honoree for 2017 is Dr. William Miron, principal of Millburn High School, for his continual encouragement of the arts and his students. In its second year, the Krueger-Rhodes award recognizes and honors those who show a commitment to enhance the education of students through art and film.

An encore performance of all the award-winning films will be held at the Bow Tie Cinema in Millburn on April 26, 2017.  For ticket information, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-6th-annual-millburn-film-fest-sponsored-by-the-stephanie-mallios-team-and-new-york-film-academy-tickets-27233450985.