It's the Convergence of Hollywood, NYC Film, European influence, and raw Home Grown NJ Talent, all Here in New Jersey; The International Monmouth Film Festival.
MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ - The Monmouth Film Festival returns to the Two River Theater in Red Bank beginning on Thursday, August 8th and running through Sunday, August 11th. This year’s event features a full program of more than 100 films, expert panels, celebrity guests, musical entertainment and a red carpet reception and networking event. Conveniently located right near the NJ Transit Red Bank Station, talented folks will be attending from New Jersey, NYC, across the U.S. and the globe. Film makers and industry executives will generously share their insight and artistic creations. MFF is very much a grass roots operation. The MFF has earned a reputation of "everything done with class and care." It's an event that welcomes you like family and keeps you coming back for more! A MFF VIP pass can affordably take you through the entire 4 days of the festival. Entertainment this year will include everything from Sinbad live and Sounds of Sinatra, with Michael Martocci and his 18 piece jazz band!
The MFF founder Nick Marchese, a 2013 graduate of Holmdel High School received a bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Making from Montclair University and is the founder of the successful Monmouth Film Festival (MFF). Marchese is an award winning independent filmmaker and his work has screened at festivals across the country including New York City and Los Angeles. Wanting to give back and invest in his local community, Marchese has created according to many critics ‘a dynamic local film festival that has quickly arisen to the level of longtime established film festivals.’ To quote film critic Joan Ellis on the Monmouth Film Festival, “The production quality, scripting, and acting in all of the films was extremely high and the subject matter refreshingly original.”
Keeping it local in Monmouth County, the founder of the Monmouth Film Festival, award winning filmmaker, Holmdel's Nick Marchese believes everyone should have an opportunity to attend the event if they wish to; "My dream was to create an easily accessible international film festival comparable to the best in the country, but host it right here in Monmouth County. A part of that dream is sharing the experience with my local community. So that is why we keep it local and keep the ticket cost affordable with discounts for our Military and seniors."
The MFF did not start with a corporate network but as a nonprofit, driven with passion from Holmdel's Nick Marchese and fellow film makers and entertainment colleagues, all sharing the same goal of enriching the film industry in our local area.
Tapinto spoke with David Schoner, the Director of the New Jersey Film Commission who commented, “The Monmouth Film Festival is such an important component of the film industry in New Jersey. I can’t say enough great things about the professionalism of Nick Marchese. With him as the president, everything that The Monmouth Film Festival does is first class. The prior festivalsl were a huge success and I know Marchese and his team have grown that success for the upcoming one. He’s young but has the management skills and vision of someone far beyond his years and experience. He’s one of those people that you meet and immediately know this is an extraordinarily passionate person who is capable of turning anything he focuses on into a great success.”
For the 2019 MFF, Marchese received all genres and lengths; Features, Shorts, Trailers, Screenplays, Student Films, TV Pilots and Web Series. Marchese comments, “Top quality true independent cinema is what MFF is all about. We have an amazing selection of films this year, I'm very excited to share them. Prior years were a major success and this year promises to be even better, built on the stable growth of the previous two MFF's. We had so many film makers and film lovers from across the country and the globe participate last year and this year we have even more. The MFF has an Industry Expert Panel, which is free for students, and an amazing experience for anyone to take advantage of. There will be guests from television networks, professional film actors, published authors and entertainment executives and lawyers. MFF is very invested in education of the youth in the community and helping students build their experience hands on.
See video from prior MFF social:
When The Monmouth Film Festival comes to Red Bank this August, as it did the previous two summers, the town is buzzing with industry talent. In traditional movie premiere style, the red carpet is rolled out and it’s Hollywood style as the flashbulbs go off and the mingling begins! Marchese comments, "Every speaker on our industry panel is dynamic and passionate about the film industry and so excited to share their knowledge with the MFF guests and participants. I only dreamed of local opportunities like this when I was a student, and I'm so happy to bring this talent to our community, offering all ages the opportunity to learn from the proven experts in the film and television profession."
Video here is from a prior MFF Industry Expert Panel:
Marchese graduated from Holmdel High School in 2013, where he studied television and film with nine-time Emmy nominated anchorman Mr. Bryan DeNovellis. Marchese says, “The television program at Holmdel High School is wonderful. When Mr. DeNovellis came to Holmdel, he brought an industry experience to the classroom that made it so valuable. Most importantly he brought us real world experience from his reporting and the best part about him is that he really cares about his students. He breaks barriers in the classroom to truly immerse his students in the television and film industry. He is such a valuable asset to the school and to the community, and I was really lucky to have him as a teacher and now I’m so lucky to have him participate in the MFF.”
DeNovellis says, “Nick is a tremendously talented young man. I knew he was destined to do great things when I worked with him during his senior year…it was like having another teacher in the room. Nick was writing, directing, and editing his own short films. While it’s not uncommon for high school students to produce short films, it was his work ethic, and quality of editing and videography that set Nick apart… His enthusiasm for filmmaking is off the charts. He would spend every free hour planning scripts and crafting films… There were times I would sit back and just admire how he took control of the entire process…. I don’t use this phrase often but Nick ‘has it.’ " At age 22 Nick was rubbing elbows and networking with award-winning director, Kevin Smith and actors like Taimak (who participated in a prior MFF)… A couple years older now, Nick is clearly today not your average 24 year old.”
As part of his giving back initiative Marchese has internship opportunities available for hardworking high school and college students. That enables him to give back to the high school that he believes nurtured and encouraged his interest in film. Holmdel High School Senior and Monmouth Film Festival intern for the second year in a row, Thomas Anderson comments, “Interning for the Monmouth Film Festival taught me about what it takes to be a filmmaker. Working with Holmdel graduate Nick and being able to ask him questions and learn from him was incredible. The experience helped me improve my knowledge of the craft and build connections that will be extremely helpful in the future.”
Here is a preview of the exciting lineup for the 2019 Monmouth Film Festival:
Thursday, August 8th The festival kicks off with the ‘Sounds of Sinatra’ Performance and Cocktail reception. Renowned Sinatra performer Michael Martocci takes the stage with his 18-piece swing orchestra to sing all of your Frank Sinatra favorites. He’ll be joined by special celebrity guests throughout the evening (you’ll have to be there to see who!) and the show will be emceed by Actor and Comedian Jeff Norris! Select premium orchestra seating includes the opening night Cocktail reception.
Friday, August 9th “A Celebrity Talk with Sinbad” a live event featuring an intimate discussion with actor and comedian Sinbad! News 12’s SallyAnn Mosey moderates. Red Carpet Networking Event and Digital Film Expo with Blackmagic Design: opening night guests will have an opportunity to mingle with filmmakers, actors, film artists, industry professionals and fellow movie lovers. Screenings of feature and short films begin tonight, including the Hulu film “The Amazing Johnathan Documentary”; what begins as a documentary following the final tour of a dying magician - "The Amazing Johnathan" - becomes an unexpected and increasingly bizarre journey as the filmmaker struggles to separate truth from illusion.
Saturday, August 10th Today’s featured screenings include some of our many New Jersey premieres: Olympic Dreams, a romantic comedy starring Nick Kroll (Sausage Party, Big Mouth, Parks & Recreation) and Alexi Pappas - in the Olympic Athlete Village, a young cross-country skier bonds with a volunteer doctor after her competition ends; 17 Blocks, a powerful documentary directed by Davy Rothbart using two decades of intimate home video to tell the story of the Sanford family of Washington, DC, whose struggles with addiction and gun violence eventually lead to a journey of love, loss, and acceptance; and the spotlight film Low Tide, a coming-of-age thriller set on the Jersey Shore, directed by Holmdel native Kevin McMullen, and starring Shea Whigham (Homecoming, Boardwalk Empire, Fargo) and Jaeden Martell (It, It: Chapter Two, Midnight Special).
Other events today include a Film Industry Discussion featuring panelists Nancy Leidersdorff of Nickelodeon; Greg Mourino of Blue Sky Studios; NBC producer Gail Barringer; and Emmy award-winning cinematographer Tor Johansen. There will be an all-day Film Expo with presentations and demos by vendors including Blackmagic Design, Fujifilm, Cineroid, BoxCast, Angelbird, Unique Photo, OZEN Camera Support, Backstage, New York Film Academy, and more! Filmmakers take note: there will be free Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 16 editing workshops offered throughout the day, giving you a deep dive into the industry’s fastest growing editing and color grading software. Be sure to also check out the famous Blackmagic Design Production Van parked alongside the red carpet on your way in!
Sunday, August 11th: A full evening of screenings including our NJ Veterans Film Block. Features this night include the NJ Premiere of The Field Afar: The Life of Fr. Vincent Capodanno - a documentary about a Catholic Priest who received the Medal of Honor for his valor as a chaplain to the Marine Corps during some of the most harrowing battles of the Vietnam War. Directed by Tim Moriarty (House of Cards, Luke Cage, Blue Bloods) and Jake Ehrlich. Also screening Burning Cane, a drama directed by 19-year-old Phillip Youmans starring Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Selma, Treme) - amongst the cane fields of rural Louisiana, an aging mother struggles between her religious convictions and the love of her son.
Short films tonight include the New Jersey Premiere of Vietnam Aftermath, a documentary produced in partnership with the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial, directed by Holmdel native Tom Phillips, which deals with the experience of Vietnam veterans after they returned home and the struggles that many of them still deal with today. Other short films with a NJ connection include Come Here Often?, a bittersweet and charming film about a chance encounter of a man and a woman in a park that might not be a chance encounter after all, directed by Atlantic Highland's Michael Boylan; ROCKS! The Musical, a hilarious, pun-filled animated musical about a lonely rock who learns not to take his life for granite (pun intended); Still Plays With Trains, a documentary by Academy Award-winning director, cinematographer and producer Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels, In a Dream, E-Team) - the film captures one man’s passion to share the joy of childhood by recreating his 10th birthday with a 3000 square foot replica of the old Lackawanna Railroad in his basement.
Other Sunday events include Free New York Film Academy Workshops (‘How to Pitch’, ‘Audition Techniques’, ‘Producing the Film’), the NJ High School Filmmaker Showcase, and of course the Annual Awards Ceremony and closing night reception.
In just four years, the Monmouth Film Festival has become the go-to summer event for cinephiles in NJ. No other area festival gives film lovers and filmmakers alike so much in-person access to cutting edge cinema, the people who make it, and the tools they use to make their artistic visions come alive on the screen. Last year’s festival was a huge success, and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better!
Tickets to the 2019 Monmouth Film Festival—including event passes starting at $65—are on sale now. VIP passes give you unlimited access to the festival including exclusive access to the Ray Catena VIP Lounge. To purchase tickets, and to learn about the full lineup of this year’s films, workshops, events and guests, visit www.monmouthfilmfestival.org and facebook.com/monmouthfilmfestival
The Monmouth Film Festival is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. If you would like to support their mission by making a donation you can here. For more information about the Monmouth Film Festival click here. For information about the Two River Theater click here.