CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Two short films created by Cedar Grove High School students have been accepted into The Garden State Film Festival.  

"It is such a great thrill for our students to have two films in the Garden State Film Festival.  One of our films, Practice, was written by a former graduate and then shot and performed by current students,” said Jimi DeStefano and Jenna Sweeney, CGHS’ Film Club advisors.  “To see these kids, take a film from script, to rough cut, to finished product, is what collaborative educational filmmaking is all about."

Mama Maria was produced by the Cedar Grove High School Film Club and is about Cedar Grove High School’s own “Mama Maria,” who has been serving the lunches to the students of Cedar Grove for forty years.  Most school cafeterias serve lunches that leave something to be desired, but when you get someone like Mama Maria to cook with love and considers the students to be family, lunch is special every day.

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Practice, which was written by Cedar Grove High School graduate Rebecca Potters, is “a comedy about blind dating, but the storyline that takes place wouldn’t be able to without the shy protagonist whose overactive imagination fuels his anxieties.” 

“It simply feels amazing to have the film I wrote shown at the Garden State Film Festival,” Potters said.  “I’m currently going to school to work in the film industry and ultimately want to write full length films or TV shows, so it’s really encouraging to know that something I wrote while in high school is being shown in a well known festival. It turned out exactly how I imagined! I was really happy to see the result of my friends’ hard work.” 

Practice was directed by Owen Posnett and Jillian Muszynski and stars Jake Brancato as Henry, Alyssa Tanti as Olivia, Francesca Catrone as Monica, Jessie Fearon as Courtney, Chloe Perez as Sinnamon, Peter Ulrich as Liam, and Ruby Brooks as Amy.

“We are thrilled that our Film Club will have two films at the Garden State Film Festival this year. This is a direct reflection of our students’ hard work and dedication to the film club, they deserve it and Cedar Grove High School is extremely proud of their efforts,” said Principal Rick Mangili.  “Our Film Club advisors, Mr. Destefano and Ms. Sweeney have played a tremendous role in the success of the CGHS Film Club, and we are lucky to have them.”

The 18th annual film festival will take place in Asbury Park from March 25 to March 29 and CGHS’ films will screen at the Jersey Shore Arts Center, 66 South Main Street, Ocean Grove on Saturday, March 28 at 10 a.m.