SOMA Film Festival is back for its historic 5th season from March 18-22 at The Woodland in downtown Maplewood. 

"This is a big year for us, and we know it's the audience that has always come first, and their support has allowed us this longevity," stated Founder/Director Matt Smollon. 

This year's slate of films will again be a rich mixture of local, national and international films, with the return of the popular Kids, Locals Only! Shorts, and Welcome Night Party programs as well some new programs to keep things interesting. 

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Here is the full schedule.

Wednesday, March 18

6 PM - Kids Program Presents Dinner and a Movie!

Perfect for all ages, this film will be sure enlightening as it is entertaining. 

Microplastic Madness, Filmmaker: Atsuko Quirk (Brooklyn, NY) Bring the kids for this suitable for all ages documentary about a group Brooklyn 5th graders that take on plastic pollution in an inspirational and optimistic look at the local and global plastic pollution crisis. Runtime: 1:16:00 

Pizza, popcorn, and water will be provided. 

8 PM – Locals Only! Long-Shorts Program

See some of our amazing local talent as we present this new and exciting program.

1000 Years a Witness, Filmmaker: Brian Downey, Produced by Alli Joseph (Maplewood)12 Shinnecock Native American elders look back at life on the reservation in hopes to pass on their wisdom and memories to todays’ native youth. Runtime: 30:50

Sane People, Filmmaker: Gene Gabriel (Maplewood) A veteran actor questions whether or not he wants his protégé to succeed. Runtime: 22:25

Who Killed Michael Stewart, Filmmaker: Franck Goldberg (South Orange) A stirring documentary about the killing of 24 year-old artist Michael Stewart at the hands of the NYC Police. Runtime: 35:00

Safe House, Filmmaker: Zak Mir (Maplewood) Based on true story of a university teacher who has been brought to a detention center where he meets a young Hindu boy who falls prey to severe military interrogation and torture. Runtime: 27:00

Water, popcorn, beer, and wine will be available. Must be 21 for beer and wine consumption. 

Thursday, March 19

3 PM – Matinee Day 

Take a break from your busy day, and come see this program of originals.

Extra Innings, Filmmaker: John Gray (New York, NY) A reporter interviews the manager of the Boston Red Sox in an attempt to uncover secrets from his past. Runtime: 8:34

Frozen in Terror, Filmmaker: Chad Patrick Shannon (Pittsburgh, PA) A young couple wakes up to a chilling discovery. Runtime: 5:35

Dispatches from Vietnam, Filmmaker: Keith Lane (Washington DC) Beer, bunkers and typewriters' in this surreal and existential journey of a young soldier entering war for the first time. Runtime: 4:18

Act of Reading, Filmmaker: Mark Blumberg (New Jersey) A retired high school English teacher is confronted by a former student who failed her class who then involves her in a feature-length presentation on Moby Dick and the science of reading. Runtime: 1:27:00

Popcorn and water will be served.

6 PM — Throwback Thursday!

Step back in time with an evening of programs celebrating "throwback" indie classics with the talent attached.

Two Family House with Matt Sevitto (South Orange), Filmmaker: Raymond De Felitta. The story of a lovable loser in pursuit of an elusive dream who finds hope in the arms of an Irish immigrant with a secret she couldn’t keep. Runtime: 1:49:00

Noted actor and local resident Matt Servitto will be in attendance for a Q & A following the film.

8:30 PM

Stealing Home with Steven Kampmann, Filmmaker(s): Will Aldis and Steven Kampmann. The legendary Jodie Foster and Mark Harmon star in the story of a failed baseball player who learns that his childhood sweetheart has killed herself and has willed for him to handle her ashes. Runtime: 1:38:00

Water, popcorn, beer, and wine will be available. Must be 21 for beer and wine consumption. 

Filmmaker Steven Kampmann will be in attendance for a Q & A following the film.

Friday, March 20

7 PM – Welcome Night Party and Screening 

Join us for some food, fun, and film at the Welcome Night Party!

8ish- 

Jack, Filmmaker: Nick Paonessa (Hollywood, CA) A man comes to grips with the fate of his sick cat, the only way he knows how. Runtime: 8:00

Wonder, Filmmaker: Javier Molina (New York, NY) An 11-year-old kid growing up in “the hood” secretly dreams of trick-or-treating as Wonder Woman for Halloween. Runtime: 16:20

Aleksi, Filmmaker: Barbara Vekari’c (New York, NY) Shot entirely on the beautiful Croatian coast, a young woman approaching her thirties still lives under her parents' roof and control. Living primarily by her impulses has led her to three men of various backgrounds, each both good and bad for her desire to be free. Runtime: 1:30:00

Food, water, popcorn, beer, and wine will be available. Must be 21 for beer and wine consumption. 

Saturday, March 21

10 AM – Kids Program

Back by popular demand, our Kids Program features all original animated shorts for kids from 2 to 10! 

Game Changer, Filmmaker: Aviv Mano. A macho toy arcade prize is quick to judge a young girl who wants to win him, and goes to great lengths to stop her from winning enough tickets and taking him home. Runtime: 3:00

I'm Not Scared of the Crocodile, Filmmaker(s): Marc Riba and Anna Solanas. Once upon a time there was a crocodile who didn’t like to hunt. Runtime: 4:00

The Fox and the Pigeon, Filmmaker(s) Michelle Chua, Aileen Dewhurst, Sharon Gabriella, Viktor Ivaovski, Sang Lee, Tyler Pacana, Sikyung Kevin Sung, Morgan Thompson, Chelsea van Tol, Matt Walton and Steven Wang. Fox does as he's told but when Pigeon comes along hoping for a taste of Fox's ice cream cone, as a fight ensues, they soon learn to take control of their own destiny. Runtime: 6:00

Some Thing, Filmmaker: Elena Walf. Oil, gold, and fire are the treasures inside the proud giant mountains. For the little mountain it's impossible to keep up with that. He's just in possession of this tiny, strange and useless SOME THING. Run Time: 7:00

I Really Needed This Today, Filmmaker(s): Joy Buran and Noelle Melody. A short film for Hoda Kotb's "I Really Needed This Today," a book of 365 inspirational quotes and stories to give readers a daily dose of encouragement and positivity. Runtime: 2:30 / Features local voices from South Mountain Students. 

The Bird and the Whale, Filmmaker: Carol Freeman. A baby whale separated from his family discovers a caged bird, the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Together they struggle to survive, lost at sea. Runtime: 7:00

Wind, Filmmaker Dana Sink. An exploration of movement and meaning. Runtime: 2:00

Voting Avenue, by Exit 73 Studios. Yara Shahidi and Jimmy Fallon take a walk down Voting Avenue to get all of the information they need about voting. Runtime: 3:00

KUAP, Filmmaker: Nils Hedinger. A tadpole somehow misses out on becoming a frog and is left behind, alone. But there is much to discover in the pond and spring is sure to come again next year. A little story about growing up. Runtime: 7:38

A Good Heart, Filmmaker: Eugenia Zhirkova. The life of a prehistoric family is upset little by little by the arrival of various animals seeking a hiding place under their roof. Runtime: 5:12

The Fish, by PES. A film highlighting the dangers of plastic pollution. Runtime: 2:00

Maestro, by Illogic. Deep into a forest, a gathering of wild animals start a nocturnal opera, conducted by a squirrel. Runtime: 2:00

Coffee (for adults) and cookies will be served by our friends from The Able Baker, as well as complimentary popcorn and water. 

Noon – CHS Program

Our local high school will present some original films from the movie makers of tomorrow.

SCHEDULE TO COME.

2:30 PM – Womens' Voices

Ouroboros, Filmmaker: Emma Keehan (Milwaukee, WI) One masked dancer threatens the cycle of pursued acceptance met by authoritative rejection when part of her facade falls away and she can truly see. Runtime: 8:00

Watermark, Filmmaker: Rebecca Maddalo (Cambridge, MA) When Meg moves in with her longtime boyfriend, she is suddenly terrorized by memories of a past trauma from years earlier. Runtime: 24:00 

Diagonal, Filmmaker: Anne Thorens (Germany) A young couple is already in the heat of the action when she asks him for a condom but doesn't have one. Will that stop him? Runtime: 5:41 

The Whistle, Filmmaker: StormMiguel Florez (San Francisco, CA) In 1970 and 80’s Albuquerque, lesbians didn’t all know each other, but they know how to find each other. Runtime: 57:00 

4:30 PM - A Bird's Eye View

Get an in depth look at what is happening in the world we live in.

Ashima, Filmmaker: Dekel Berenson (Israel) Nestled between a beautiful lake and the Himalayas, a 13-year-old girl helps her family make ends meet by working at the landing field, packing the parachutes of foreign pilots in return of small change. Runtime: 15:00 

Bano Publico, Filmmaker: Ruben Barrientos (Venezuela) A young couple decides to having sex in a decadent public bathroom of Caracas. The passion and enjoyment they initially experience will irreparably turn ugly, which will be well known and ignored by all. Runtime: 12:00 WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT

Water is Life, Filmmaker: Sam Vinal (Los Angeles, CA) On the banks of Louisiana, fierce Indigenous women are ready to fight and to stop the corporate blacksnake and preserve their way of life. Runtime: 24:17

Stalking Chernobyl, Filmmaker: Iara Lee - A documentary that examines the underground culture of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone that has turned into a bizarre tourist attraction, drawing seekers with a taste for the post-apocalyptic. Runtime: 1:01:00

Water, popcorn, beer, and wine will be available. Must be 21 for beer and wine consumption. 

7:30 PM – Movies with Music /Date Night

A marriage that has spanned a century, these two films bring musical to the forefront. Get a sitter, and have a night out as after the screening a musical performance will take place.

The Hustle is Real, Filmmaker: Thomas B. Draudt (Watertown, MA) The tale of a hard-working DJ and creating your own lane to make money doing what you love and the hustle and grind that goes along with it. 13:00

After So Many Days, Filmmaker: Jim and Sam (Santa Barbara, CA) A struggling musical duo and recently married couple take to the road to play 365 shows in as many days. Runtime: 1:30:00

Musical performance following screening.

Water, popcorn, beer, and wine will be available. Must be 21 for beer and wine consumption. 

Sunday, 3/22

10 AM – Kids Program Encore

Back by popular demand, our Kids Program features all original animated shorts for kids from 2 to 10! 

Game Changer, Filmmaker: Aviv Mano. A macho toy arcade prize is quick to judge a young girl who wants to win him, and goes to great lengths to stop her from winning enough tickets and taking him home. Runtime: 3:00

I'm Not Scared of the Crocodile, Filmmaker(s): Marc Riba and Anna Solanas. Once upon a time there was a crocodile who didn’t like to hunt. Runtime: 4:00

The Fox and the Pigeon, Filmmaker(s) Michelle Chua, Aileen Dewhurst, Sharon Gabriella, Viktor Ivaovski, Sang Lee, Tyler Pacana, Sikyung Kevin Sung, Morgan Thompson, Chelsea van Tol, Matt Walton and Steven Wang. Fox does as he's told but when Pigeon comes along hoping for a taste of Fox's ice cream cone, as a fight ensues, they soon learn to take control of their own destiny Runtime: 6:00

Some Thing, Filmmaker: Elena Walf. Oil, gold and fire are the treasures inside the proud giant mountains. For the little mountain it's impossible to keep up with that. He's just in possession of this tiny, strange and useless SOME THING. Run Time: 7:00

I Really Needed This Today, Filmmaker(s): Joy Buran and Noelle Melody. A short film for Hoda Kotb's "I Really Needed This Today," a book of 365 inspirational quotes and stories to give readers a daily dose of encouragement and positivity. Runtime: 2:30 / Features local voices from South Mountain Students. 

The Bird and the Whale, Filmmaker: Carol Freeman. A baby whale separated from his family discovers a caged bird, the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Together they struggle to survive, lost at sea. Runtime: 7:00

Wind, Filmmaker Dana Sink. An exploration of movement and meaning. Runtime: 2:00

Voting Avenue, by Exit 73 Studios. Yara Shahidi and Jimmy Fallon take a walk down Voting Avenue to get all of the information they need about voting. Runtime: 3:00

KUAP, Filmmaker: Nils Hedinger. A tadpole somehow misses out on becoming a frog and is left behind, alone. But there is much to discover in the pond and spring is sure to come again next year. A little story about growing up. Runtime: 7:38

A Good Heart, Filmmaker: Eugenia Zhirkova. The life of a prehistoric family is upset little by little by the arrival of various animals seeking a hiding place under their roof. Runtime: 5:12

The Fish, by PES. A film highlighting the dangers of plastic pollution. Runtime: 02:00

Maestro, by Illogic. Deep into a forest, a gathering of wild animals start a nocturnal opera, conducted by a squirrel. Runtime: 2:00

Coffee (for adults) and cookies will be served by our friends from The Able Baker, as well as complimentary popcorn and water. 

Noon - Original Shorts Program 

From near and far, a bevvy of artistically rich short films. 

Better Half, Filmmaker: Steve Marchese (Brooklyn, NY) After 40-years of codependent marriage, a husband makes a life changing decision to ensure that he will never have to endure another waking moment with his wife. Runtime: 23:00 

Jackets for Butterflies, Filmmaker: Hank Shin (Richmond, VA) A man makes clothes for butterflies. Runtime: 16:00 

The Desecrated, Filmmaker: John Gray (New York, NY) A young morgue attendant encounters an unwelcome visitor. Runtime: 7:48 

The Lake By The Woods, Filmmaker: Arial Poupart (Montreal, Canada) On a campsite near a lake, two couples meet for a camping trip. Although each of them seems to enjoy their time, things quickly go sour. Something has been going on for a while. Runtime: 13:14

POV, Filmmaker: Paul Ashton (London, UK) A man is being watched, is it you? Runtime: 10:00

Anna, Filmmaker: Dekel Berenson (Israel) Living in war-torn Eastern Ukraine, Anna is an aging single mother who is desperate for a change who goes to party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love. Runtime: 15:00 

When Skies are Gray, Filmmaker: Lio Mehiel (Brooklyn, NY) A reclusive war veteran rents out a room in his cabin to a young woman and in sharing the same claustrophic space, this unlikely pair helps each other reignite their sense of childlike play and wonder. Runtime: 12:27 

Play, Filmmaker: Piotr Sulkowski (Poland) A man consumed by guilt because he did not dare to defend his mother, plays the role of a murderer and forces his ten-year-old self to face his original trauma. Runtime: 16:00

Eternity, Filmmaker: Anna Sobolevska (Crimea, Ukraine) Once upon a time in the nearest future humanity overcome the death by digitizing the human's souls. So, we will be granted with Eternity. But what happened if Eternity faced with Love? Runtime: 23:49

Quotes for Life, Filmmaker: Monty Scholz (Germany) Moritz tells us why his last relationship ended and how it did. Runtime: 8:16 

The Scary Ham, Filmmaker: Sue Mroz (Chicago, IL), Two middle-aged sisters sorting through 50 years' worth of family memorabilia reconnect, as they contend with their late father's beloved ham. Runtime: 15:00

Two Dumb Micks, Filmmaker: DB Sweeney (Hinsdale, IL) Two unlucky guys meet in the drunk tank and hatch a plan. Runtime: 5:00 

Water, popcorn, beer, and wine will be available. Must be 21 for beer and wine consumption. 

3 PM — Seton Hall Program

The local university up the street has been with us all five years, and this student program will be sure to satisfy. 

SCHEDULE TO COME.

6 PM – Locals Only! Shorts Program

Back for its fourth year, the program that ends the fest on the highest of notes as local filmmakers and their work take center stage.

The Waiting Room, Filmmaker: Mike West (Little Ferry, NJ) A group of imaginary friends all used to play with a child named Larry. Now all grown up and none of them have seen him in over 20 years when he suddenly asks them all to hang out again, they reminisce and try to figure out why. Runtime: 16:00 

Every Day Is Halloween, Filmmaker: Lauren Flynn (Former SOMA FF Intern) It is on a Halloween night when an insecure middle schooler is hoping to go trick or treating one last time with his friends without his mother, who has schizophrenia, embarrassing him. Runtime: 8:00

Champion, Filmmaker: Keith Colon (Maplewood) A short profile of up and coming Newark teen boxer, Keith Colon. Runtime: 3:12

Buttball, Filmmaker: Maryll Botula A coming-of-age tale focusing on Erin, a young tomboy in the fifth grade and her desire to excel while managing her growing crush on Jesse, a boy in her class. Runtime: 13:00 

One Man’s Trash, Filmmaker: Jacob Updyke (Millburn) What happens to your single use bottles when you throw them away? Runtime: 1:15 

$2.75, Filmmaker: Shan Jiang (New York, NY) Because of a mere $2.75, a homeless man becomes the first friend of an international student on her first day in New York. Runtime: 7:00

Dog Walker, Filmmaker: Susan Skoog (Montclair) Newly divorced, Jill now works as a dog walker and lives in the low-income section of her upscale town and decides to takes revenge on a privileged client. Runtime: 16:45 

Cruel and Unusual Therapy, Filmmaker: Gina Marie Rodriguez (Raritan) Seeing a therapist is hard. Breaking up with one is harder. Runtime: 7:15 

Baba Babee, Filmmaker: Matej Silecky (West Orange) The little-known story of Ukrainian children torn from their homes in the crush between the Nazi and Soviet fronts in World War II. Runtime: 13:30

The Record Company, Filmmaker: Lagan Sebert (Maplewood) A music video with much local flavor. Runtime: 5:37

Scarlet Circle, Filmmaker: Ryan Cervasio (Middletown) When faced with a choice, every second counts. Runtime: 3:00

God’s Plan, Filmmaker: John Rosenberg (Westfield) A man wants to become the God of Water but can't because it was already taken. Runtime: 3:30

Wicked Image, Filmmaker: Caitlyn Scherer (Maplewood) Lucifer, Satan, and the Devil meet with a corporate PR agent to rehabilitate their images but quickly discover that she is more evil than they are. Runtime: 12:00

Transition Day, Filmmaker: Teju Prasad (Maplewood) A woman is haunted by a ghost and enlists a ghost catcher to help her take care of it. Runtime: 8:54

Faithy, Hey!, Filmmaker: Emily Hubley (East Orange) Artist/filmmaker Faith Hubley drew a self-portrait in her journal every day and now decades later, her daughter revisits it and considers a relationship altered by death. Runtime: 3:53

Dependence, Filmmaker: Cris Thorne (Maplewood) A family, drowning in years of dysfunction, choose to resolve their issues with drugs and alcohol instead of each other. Runtime: 17:30 

In Sync, Filmmaker: Eddie Shieh (New York, NY) A young couple walk a fine line while thriving in an open marriage until they catch each other breaking their own rules. Runtime: 5:00

You Reap What You Sow, Filmmaker: Jacob Updyke (Millburn) When five-year-old Thomas is evacuating the city with his mother, he has some questions about why they have to go. Runtime: 2:09

Audition, Filmmaker: Chris Messineo (New Providence) Sarah Taylor nails her audition in this eleven-minute long one-shot film. Runtime: 11:00 

Water, popcorn, beer, and wine will be available. Must be 21 for beer and wine consumption.

For more schedule and ticket information, visit somafilmfestival.com