Arts & Entertainment

Did You Know Cedar Grove H.S. Students Are Making Movies?


CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Big things are happening a Cedar Grove High School -- students are making movies.  

After two and a half months of hard work, the CGHS film club was ecstatic to find out that their film, “47 Years,” was accepted into the Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park. The students and faculty members worked tirelessly to create the festival-worthy film, which started out as part of a screen-writing exercise for the film club, and was developed and written solely by students.

“The faculty was only ‘on-set’ to supervise,” film club advisor Joseph Morabito said. “The students handled everything on their own, from creating a shot list, to directing, camera operating, recording sound, etc.”

Sign Up for E-News

The short film is about a girl who receives notifications on her cell phone that add or subtract time from her lifespan every time she makes a healthy or unhealthy choice. Three faculty members supervised the process while 30 students performed different roles to complete the film.

“Making the film was a lot of fun. I had a great experience working with everyone,” sophomore director Abby Warkentin said. “I was nervous at first when I was chosen to be the director since I had never done it before and I knew the film had to be good enough for the Garden State Film Festival. Luckily, I had the support of my amazing friends, who I couldn't have done it without.”

Sophomore Owen Posnett, who served as assistant camera operator, is thrilled that his and his classmates’ hard work recognized.

“This was the first time I've been involved in the process, and it felt good to be working on something very meaningful to everyone there,” Posnett said. “It was also very satisfying to be devoting so much time to something I enjoy.”

It wasn’t only the talent of the filmmakers that made this film deserving of the honor, but also the dedication and organization that made the process run smoothly, sophomore Brandon Ferber, who was the short film’s sound director, said.

“The filmmaking process was extremely fun,” Ferber said. “We had to be organized and do our jobs but we all did our jobs well.”

The deadline to submit films for the festival was December 1, 2017 and the club was excited to find out they were selected January 17.

Having the students make festival films, and especially having a film get selected, has been a goal of Morabito’s and co-advisor Jimi DeStefano’s since the beginning of the club, Morabito said.

“We don't want to have their accomplishments go unnoticed. Also, to give students the opportunity to see what this path is like if they decided to study filmmaking further,” Morabito said. “Immediately, Jimi and I were thrilled when we found out we were accepted. We know how hard the kids worked and we are happy that the kids get to have the experience of being festival filmmakers.”

In addition to the club's advisors, board of education member David Schoner, who is also associate director of the NJ Motion Picture and Television Commission, is one of the film club's biggest fans.  

Schoner is especially proud of the progress the club has made over the last two years. The club had just eight students and no film made two years ago and grew to 15 students and two films made last year. Now, the club has 30 students and four films being made.

“I am beyond excited and thrilled for the Cedar Grove High School Film Club students. They worked so hard on the film ‘47 Years’ and put so much effort into it,” Schoner said. “I can’t thank enough Joe Morabito and Jimi DeStefano who are the clubs advisors.  They have gone beyond anything I would have imagined to engage the students and support them in this process."

For Warkentin, it was extra special since the filmmakers had to work really hard and even endure the cold and hail to create their film.

“It is hard to put into words how excited I am to see our film be showcased at the Garden State Film Fest, but I am very happy and excited to share the film with my family and friends,” she said. “I am so glad that I got the opportunity to work with the best crew, and I hope that the film club will produce many more top-quality films in the years to come.”

The Garden State Film Festival will be held March 22 to March 25 in Asbury Park. “47 Years,” along with three other CGHS films and four films from the Garden State Film Festival, will also be shown on May 11 at "Best of the Fest" at Cedar Grove High School. Information and tickets can be found at

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Got a news tip or opinion? email us at

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Verona/Cedar Grove

Students Demand Action to host 'Day of Action' on Columbine Anniversary at Brookdale Park

April 18, 2018

Students Demand Action Essex County will host “April 20 Day of Action: Gun Reform Education Fair” to educate and inform local students about the need for gun reform in our nation, inspire them to be activists, and honor the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

The April 20 event will take place in at Brookdale Park (lower field by Bellevue entrance) in ...

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

April 16, 2018

April 8, 2018 – April 15, 2018

On April 9, 2018 at 7:50 a.m., Ptl. Jason Rivers responded to a Cedar Street address to take a report of a stolen motor vehicle. The vehicle was stolen from the driveway during the overnight hours. Patrolman Rivers was able to locate the vehicle using an application installed by the dealer on the owner’s phone. Detectives responded to that area in ...

Montville Residents & Twp Committee Ask for Resignation of Committeewoman over Facebook Post

April 15, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Committee voted to censure Committee Member June Witty for a personal Facebook post she made on April 8 which compared Democrats to Nazis. All four members of the five-person committee asked for her resignation.

The post, a chart which states that Nazis believed in “media mind control,” “no guns,” abortion, and ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, April 20, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library Auditorium, Montclair

Let's Listen to Jazz

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, April 20, 7:00 PM

Verona Community Center, Verona

VHS Swim Team Fundraiser is Friday

Arts & Entertainment Sports


Sat, April 21, 9:00 AM

First Presbyterian Church, Verona

Sacred Choral Workshops Offered at First ...

Arts & Entertainment

Team Veronica Holds "Be the Match" Drive

April 16, 2018

Team Veronica is coming to a town near you!

Veronica, is a seven year old, who needs a bone marrow transplant. 

Be The Match is a national registry for finding a match(es) for a bone marrow transplant. It is a simple swab test of the inside of your mouth. 

On Mon., April 23, Be The Match, will be at the Bayonne Fire House from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Elise Johanssen of Be The Match ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...