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Female Empowerment is Front and Center at Big Dreams & Silver Screens’ 5th Anniversary Celebration of the Rahway International Film Festival


The Rahway International Film Festival is now celebrating its Fifth Anniversary as well as its first year under the newly minted non-profit organization Big Dreams & Silver Screens. A transitional year in more ways than one, their fifth year sees the festival moving from Rahway, NJ, to Westfield, NJ, and beginning to rebrand as Big Dreams & Silver Screens, Inc.

Founded and produced by two young women in New Jersey, in an industry still largely dominated by men, the festival has publicly supported feminism — the advancement of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.  They do not shy away from screening films by male filmmakers nor do they tout only female-driven stories because this would undermine their mission to promote equality.  Festival directors Gina Marie Rodriguez and Stacy Ignacio advocate for equality among the sexes, and as such, make every effort to screen films by both male and female filmmakers in balanced numbers.

“Female empowerment is not the stripping away of men’s rights.  It is the acknowledgment that women are just as capable as a man to achieve whatever it is they set forth to accomplish.  Equality is a right, not a privilege and to treat it as such does a disservice to every man and woman in this world today.  We have a very simple goal, and that is to give a voice to those who may otherwise not be heard,” said festival founder Gina Marie Rodriguez.

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Each year, the festival selects one woman to be honored as their “Woman in Film” Award Honoree with the intention to highlight the filmmaking prowess of women in the industry.  Advancements continue each day but there is still a long way to go concerning fairness in the treatment of women.  Previous recipients include Piper Perabo, Susan Sarandon and Dena Seidel.

Assistant Festival Director Stacy Ignacio said, “This award is a way of reminding our audience that success comes in all shapes and sizes; a way to remind the women in this industry that they are not invisible. We see their hard work, their dedication, and their talent and we want to shine a light on their success.”

This year’s Woman in Film Honoree is Ms. Ferne Pearlstein, the writer and director behind the wildly successful film, “The Last Laugh.”  The festival will be hosting a special screening of “The Last Laugh” on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 at 8pm to be followed by an awards presentation for the guest of honor, Ms. Pearlstein.

Ms. Pearlstein joins the ranks of previous honorees, Piper Perabo, Susan Sarandon, and Dena Seidel of New Jersey.

Tickets for “The Last Laugh” and the Woman in Film Awards Ceremony are on sale now through EventBrite here:

The festival will run from Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 through Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 at the James Ward Mansion in Westfield, NJ.

For the festival’s full lineup, please visit

Tickets to the Opening Night Gala are available here:

All tickets are available here:

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Darby Road's St. Patrick's Day Festival Kicks Off

March 17, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Darby Road Public House (450 Park Ave., Scotch Plains) kicked off its three-day St. Patrick’s Day Festival on Friday at the municipal parking lot.

The event takes place under a larger tent this year and features Irish bands, Irish step dancers, bagpipers, food and beverages, along with a bounce house, face -painting, and pony rides for the kids.

Mayor Brindle’s Update, Feb. 13

March 14, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

Last week’s back to back nor’easters left a wave of destruction that Westfield hasn’t experienced since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Three thousand homes lost power. Over 40 roads were closed due to downed wires and/or trees. Our police responded to ...

Westfield Police Blotter: DWI, Reported Fraud & More

March 14, 2018

March 7, 2018 2:06 a.m.

Carlos C. Mendoza, age 33, of Garwood, NJ, was arrested on the strength of three Westfield Municipal Court warrants ($750) pursuant to a traffic stop in the area of South Avenue in Scotch Plains. Subject was transported to Westfield Police HQ where he was processed and refused after posting bail.


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Franklin 5th Graders Perform ‘Shrek The Musical JR’

March 17, 2018

All of our differences make us unique. That theme pervaded the third annual Fifth Grade Show at Franklin Elementary School in Westfield, “Shrek The Musical JR.,” performed on March 2 and 3. 

“I’m so proud of our cast and crew for all their hard work and dedication to making this year’s show such a success,” said Emma Schwartz, director and producer of ...

Charitable Spirit Alive and Well in Westfield Public Schools

Students, staff and parents in Westfield Public Schools continue the district’s long tradition of helping others both in and outside of the community, with a number of students recently recognized for their efforts.

Fifteen Westfield High School juniors and sophomores were honored by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey for collecting more than 5,000 pounds of food items for families in ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


8 Homes Sold Last Week in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside

Eight homes sold last week, March 4 to March 11, 2018, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside.*


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The Day After

Some years ago, the United Nations held the International Summit on Sustainable Development, here in Johannesburg. The Summit was a great success. One wonders, though, whether all the wonderful decisions and resolutions that were adopted were ever implemented. In other words, were they themselves sustainable?

Good ideas and worthwhile projects are suggested regularly. The question is, do they ...

Auction Items Sought for Westfield Area YMCA 14th Annual Golf Classic

The Westfield Area Y is hosting the 14th Annual Golf Classic and Dinner with Live and Silent Auction on Monday, May 14, at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield. All proceeds will benefit the Y’s financial assistance program and help send a kid to camp or child care at the Y this year.

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How to Stay Connected to Your Partner After a Newborn

March 11, 2018

Life changes instantly once we have a newborn.  It is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences a couple can have. It brings joy and a newfound commitment to the relationship and now to a family of three. Grandparents, family and friends are eager to get involved with helping and visiting. Responsibilities increase, expenses increase and privacy decreases. Our routine ...

Profit from Recent Volatility with Stock Market Bargains

Markets retreated in February, the worst down month in two years. A record surge in volatility caused several ETFs designed as leveraged bets on low volatility to plunge, with at least one being forced to liquidate and hand its investors a near total loss.

The Causes of February’s Market Retreat

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Health Alert: Child with Measles Traveled to Newark Airport on March 12

March 15, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — If you were at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, March 12 between 12:45 and 9 p.m., you may have been exposed to measles and should contact your health care provider.

The New Jersey Department of Health has issued a public health alert after a child with a confirmed case of measles — a highly contagious disease — arrived in Terminal B at ...