The excitement is building as the SOMA Film Festival prepares for its second annual event featuring entertaining and innovative independent films from 11 countries, and from all corners of the United States.
The festival returns to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) from March 9-12, 2017.
After the success of its inaugural launch in 2016, SOMA Film Festival and SOPAC (a co-producer) have added an additional evening of films. The opening night party on March 9 will combine local film fans with filmmakers who will be in attendance.
The event promises to be rich with movie magic from filmmaker Q & A’s, along with a presentation of the inaugural “SOMA Film Festival Short Script” competition. A prize of $1,000 to help fund a short film, along with a debut at the next SOMA Film Festival will be awarded to a talented writer whose work made an impact on the panel of judges.
“In our second year, we made a concerted effort to bring a slate of films that are strong from start to finish, and add more filmmaking elements that would move our town’s festival in the direction of other great festival’s in New Jersey and beyond” stated festival director Matt Smollon.
After its inaugural year, the SOMA Film Festival was nominated for a People’s Choice Award by Discover Jersey Arts, a testament to the transformational impact an event like this can have on the two towns it calls home.
Tickets and passes for the opening night festivities, and the films are $25-$85 and can be purchased at www.SOPACnow.org/soma-film-festival.
Some of the highlights of this season include the Academy Award nominee for “Best Documentary” Fire at Sea, a poignant and timely feature documentary from Italy about the European migrant crisis. The North American premiere of She, The Sergeant Matacho from Colombia is about one woman’s revenge against an entire nation as well as the Northeast premiere of Bitch, the tale of a wayward dog told from the dog’s point of view. Both Cameraperson and The Way of the Tea were in Academy Award nomination contention. An exciting new element adds an entire “shorts” program dedicated to local filmmakers and a Seton Hall University selection of shorts celebrating their cinema program.
Following is the full schedule with times and descriptions:
THURSDAY, MARCH 9 AT 7PM
Opening Night Party - Hosted in the loft at SOPAC, this evening will prove to be a treat to any cinephile that wants to meet the people who are in the business of making movies.
FRIDAY, MARCH 10
LIMBO / Greece (Director: Ron Dyens) – Narrative Short / 30:00 – In a stark landscape, should the one seen as an outsider to a group of boys be feared or will he become their leader?
HEAR THE SILENCE / Germany (Director: Ed Ehrenberg) – Narrative Feature / 1:31:00 – During WW II in a small village in the Ukraine, a group of women battle a small occupying force of Nazi soldiers.
LAMP: A GHOST STORY / USA (Director: Thomas Southerland) – Documentary Short / 17:30 - A 70 year-old Kentuckian loses sleep after buying a second-hand lamp.
SOLITARY / USA (Director: Kristi Jacobson) – Documentary Feature / 1:30:00 – There are 100,000 US citizens in solitary confinement today and this film offers a rare window into life on both sides of the bars.
Filmmaker Q & A TO FOLLOW
SATURDAY, MARCH 11
CAMERAPERSON / USA (Director: Kristen Johnson) – Documentary Feature / 1:43:00 - Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson exposes her many years behind the camera through a memoir made up of decades of footage shot all over the world.
PITTER PATTER GOES MY HEART / Austria (Director: Christoph Rainer) - Narrative Short / 21:30 – Narrative Short - The hopelessly romantic Lisa takes desperate measures to win her former lover back.
BITCH / Sweden (Director: Csaba Bene Perlenberg) – Narrative Feature / 1:20:00 - A stray dog from the slums New Delhi finds itself transported to Sweden, where she is thrust into a series of interactions with some pretty colorful people, all from her point of view.
JIMBO / Brazil (Director: Rodrigo Zan) – Narrative Short / 15:18 – A shy sixteen year old cows in the shadow of his controlling father but after their latest heist, the boy decides to take charge of his destiny and break free from his father’s prison.
COLBY / USA (Directors: Jake Fuller & Alex Markman) – Narrative Feature / 1:20:00 - Stranded in a small beach town, a troubled young drifter breaks into a wealthy home and cons her way into the good graces of the family that lives there.
Filmmaker Q & A TO FOLLOW
SUICIDE HOTLINE / UK (Director: Gannesh Rajah) – Narrative Short / 9:00 – A man is having a Thursday like any other until arriving home from work to answer a cold call from a suicide hotline.
EMMA INSPIRED / USA (Director: Nicole Machon) – Narrative Short / 12:22 - Emma is a recent college grad and unsure of her next move in life as her friends move on with their own.
THE COMEBACK / USA (Created by Craig Geraghty and Marco Ricci.) – Narrative Short / 7:00 - A washed up superhero makes one last attempt to revive his flagging career.
CUDDLE PARTY / USA (Director: Matthew Epstein) – Narrative Short / 10:00 – An unhappily married couple try some alternative therapy that results in a tragic but happy ending.
PAPERBACK / USA (Director: Adam Bowers) – Narrative Feature / 1:18:00 - A pizza cook who never left his college town meets the woman of his dreams before finding out there's a huge roadblock to them being together.
AWARD ANNOUNCEMENT – BEST SHORT SCRIPT
THE WAY OF THE TEA / France (Director: Marc Fouchard) – Narrative Short / 20:00 – Religious intolerance is addressed over an invite for a cup of tea.
SEA OF FIRE / Italy (Director: Gianfranco Rosi) – Documentary Feature / 1:54:00 - Shot on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa during the European migrant crisis, this film sets the migrants' dangerous Mediterranean crossing against a background of the ordinary life of the islanders.
SUNDAY, MARCH 12
BACK STORY / Germany (Director: Joschka Laukeninks) – Narrative Short / 8:00 – An innovative look at how everything we love, everything we learn, everything we build, everything we fear, will one day be gone.
THE BOUQUET / France (Director: Julien Segard) – Narrative Short / 10:27 – A young man makes the unwise decision to steal an elderly woman’s flowers.
SHE, THE SERGEANT MATACHO / Colombia (Director: William Gonzalez) – Narrative Feature / 1:33:00 – After the government assassinates her husband, a woman sets out to exact revenge and becomes a notorious legend of the revolution.
SETON HALL SHORTS PROGRAM
Schedule and descriptions to be announced.
BEAUTIFUL DREAMER / USA (Director: Steven Kelleher) – Narrative Short / 26:00 - Facing a terminal disease, a mother uses space travel and relativity to stretch her last two years of her own life over the lifetime of her daughter.
CONDEMNED / USA (Director: Steven Biver) – Narrative Short / 13:54 - Life is but a dream. Some believe the victims await their killer in afterlife.
HEAD SPACE / USA (Director: Emma Huibregtse) – Narrative Short / 5:00 - A single mother concerned with her son's inability to cope, sees the tables turn when faced with danger.
FRAUD / USA (Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp) Narrative Short Feature / 52:00 – A jarring and real first hand look at the modern American family as they run from their past towards an uncertain future.
RUNTIME - 1:38:00 – 98 MINUTES
LOCAL SHORTS PROGRAM
PROM / Boonton, NJ (Director: Brett Boon) Narrative Short / 3:00 - Inspired by true events, this film tells the story of two girls who have to choose to keep their pride or give in in order to attend the prom together.
CASE #5930/ New Brunswick, NJ (Director: William D. Prystauk) Narrative Short / 29:30- In 2012, A New Jersey State Police was killed in one of the most shocking and bizarre cases in law enforcement history that was captured on a police car dash-camera.
HEAD TO HEAD / Summit, NJ (Director: Lisa Reznik) Narrative Short / 14:00 - An illuminating portrayal of the intellectual romance between existentialist philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
FRAME OF REFERENCE / Rahway/South Orange, NJ (Director: Ian J. Keeney) Narrative Short / 15:00 A young woman has to discern fact from fiction when it comes to her love life.
EXTRA 1104 / Hackettstown, NJ (Director: John General) Documentary Short / 21:05 – An in-depth look at the wreck of Extra 1104 in 1925, one of the most disastrous train wrecks in New Jersey history.
GOODSTEIN / Maplewood, NJ) (Director: Lee Navlen) Narrative Short / 12:00 - Follow the life of a middle aged New Jersey Attorney who constantly finds himself in trouble due to his excessive Pot Smoking.
LIGHT SLEEPER / South Orange, NJ (Director: Robin Sindler) Narrative Short / 5:40 – Each morning, 6 year-old Hazel wakes up outside her house but when her blanket is confiscated as a punishment by her mother the mystery is soon solved.
AQUA POGO – South Orange, NJ (Director: Brian Neff) Documentary Short / 7:22 - Update on a humorous New York Times article about a man who dreamed of fame and fortune by inventing a new sport that he hoped would sweep the world...it didn’t.
DEATH IN BLOOM – Maplewood, NJ (Director: Dael Oates) Narrative Short / 11:00 - A dark comedy about a door-to-door 'death' salesman and his struggle to close a routine expiration deal with the fabulously picky, Mrs. Patterson.
SHY GUYS / New Providence, NJ (Director: Fred Lehne) Narrative Short / 8:16 - Two strangers confront and resolve one of the most insidious scourges afflicting mankind while standing at a public urinal.
Filmmakers Q & A TO FOLLOW
ILYANICA / USA (Director: Scott Cobb) – Narrative Short / 17:30 – 20 years after a traumatic event, two old friends meet in an abandoned detention center in Eastern Europe where a group of radicals are occupying a CIA black site.
THE EXILE / Mexico (Director: Elena García) – Narrative Short / 17:30 - A third generation miner, dreams about a better life for his family in America when an unexpected explosion at the mine suddenly transforms his wish.
ABORTION ROAD TRIP / USA (Directors: Katie Goodman & Soren Kisiel) Documentary Short / 7:34 - A comedic short in which comedian Katie Goodman drives 512 miles through the U.S. examining state abortion restrictions and the burden they place on woman.
HATE CRIME / USA (Director: Steven Esteb) Narrative Feature / 1:24:00 - As a killer is set to be executed for murdering a young gay man, two sets of parents struggle to deal with the consequences of fear and repression.
*All Films and Scheduling Subject to Change Without Notice