WAYNE, NJ – The hot ticket in town was Saturday night at the Rosen Performing Arts Center where the much-anticipated premier of the Wayne documentary: Hills and Valleys: A Journey Through Wayne was finally shown to a packed house. The audience was eager to take this journey through Wayne’s history and afterward talked about the nostalgia the film brought up.

The filmmaker, Paul Bastante of Silk City Films and a team of twenty-two people came into Wayne with the idea of the documentary eight months ago. Over 1,500 hours of work went into the making of the film, over fifty hours of footage was captured and seventy-five people were interviewed.

“We edited that down to about an hour and a half, but the film could’ve been much longer,” said Bastante. “Wayne is an amazing town with a lot of great history, really wonderful places and even better people. I had so much to work with.”

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Joe and Claudio Monello were sponsors of the film and hosted a screening of the movie on Friday night at Monello Landscaping Industries on Hamburg Turnpike.  “It’s exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s reactions to it,” said Claudia. “Watching it last night for the first time, I learned a lot about Wayne that I didn’t know after being here for almost 20 years, so it was awesome, and Paul did an amazing job.”

Joe Monello added: “I’ve been in Wayne fifty years and the film showed me so much I never knew.”

Before the film, Bastante addressed the audience, expressing his sincere gratitude for everyone who helped make the project happen. “The film is free and will be online forever and will be a time capsule of a sort that will show off this amazing town and you amazing people. This was made possible by the sponsors who bought into the idea of this film early on, and the support I received from the Mayor, the township, and everyone here who opened up their arms to me.”

The Executive Director of the Wayne YMCA, Laura Tiedge spoke as well: “This is really an amazing way to recognize a very special community. When Paul came to us about the project, we supported it from the beginning because it represents what the Y is all about: Bringing the community together.”

Mayor Vergano spoke briefly as well: “I was a little skeptical of the project when Paul first came to me, but seeing them filming for the last several months, and seeing how many different locations they’ve been able to go to, I think it really brought the community together. The film will become a part of how we view our history and will help show people what a truly special place Wayne is.”

The lights dimmed and the journey through Wayne began. 

There were several moments in the film where the audience’s reaction was palpable. Showing old pictures and video segments of Wayne’s past, brought whispered conversations filled with nostalgia. Laughter greeted the Oreo cookie segment, which many people felt was their favorite part of the film, including Councilwoman Aileen Rivera: “The secret is out! I love eating Oreos,” she said with a laugh.

The beauty of Laurelwood Arboretum was shown on the big screen. The history of Albert Payson Terhune and his estate Sunnybank, which is now Terhune Memorial Park was highlighted. The Dey Mansion, the Van Somme home and Washington and Lafayette’s history was explored. Drone footage of many areas in Wayne provided perspectives of Wayne that none of us have ever seen. 

Four original songs were written and performed by local artists for the film.

Without a doubt the highlight was the Preakness segment, which at the end, brought out the audience’s loudest reaction.

Annmarie DeGeorge of Realty Executives, a sponsor of the film, said: “I love animals but never knew anything about the horse Preakness. His story was endearing.”

When it was over, Barbara Cohen who runs the interfaith food pantry said she was touched by the film. “I came out of this with a warm feeling. I’ve lived in Wayne forty years; we moved in before our first child was born.  It brought up feelings from when we first moved here.”  What was her favorite part? “It all kind of got me,” said Cohen.

Town Council President Franco Mazzei who attended with his wife Michelle said: “It was a wonderful film; a wonderful story about a phenomenal Town: Wayne. Paul Bastante should be very proud.  The legacy of Wayne will be memorialized here with the movie.”

Tama DeBoer has lived in Wayne almost thirty years. “I really appreciated seeing the history of Packanack,” she said, “the old soda shop, Castles Drive and the celebrities who lived in Wayne.”

Rivera said she hoped the film would be shown in the schools. “I think it would be really good to show the children about the history of Wayne Township,” she said.

The film is showing one more time this weekend. Today, Sunday November 2 at 1:30 at the Rosen Performing Arts Center at the YMCA.

Another showing is scheduled for the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving at Wayne Valley High School.