The Montclair Film Festival, held in Montclair New Jersey, takes place May 1-6, 2012 and features over 45 films with live participation by special guests including Kathleen Turner, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Moore, Patrick Wilson and Oliver Platt.
Bob Feinberg, the co-founder and chairman of the project, set out to create a film festival for the town of Montclair that would serve as a focal point for the cinematic arts, an economic engine and an expression of cultural and artistic diversity. Two years later, the idea has become a reality: New Jersey is home to a first-class film festival. "We’ve rallied supporters from the film community, from the philanthropic community, and from the civic community," said Feinberg. "During the first week in May, we’ll see the results of these efforts. Based on the outpouring of support, I’m confident that it’s going to be a great week for all involved."
Festival directors Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers selected films from around the world while paying special attention to New Jersey talent. "The heart of filmmaking beats strongly in Jersey," said Neihausen. "It’s astonishing when you realize how many talented people were born here or now call the state home."
"We sought to curate a selection that plays to the strengths of Montclair," said Powers. "That includes a comedy section, a strong interest in African-American stories and an engagement with progressive issues."
In the planning stages for over two years, the board of advisors includes comedian Stephen Colbert, journalist Adaora Udoji, cosmetics CEO Bobbi Brown and President of National Geographic Films, Daniel Battsek.
Highlights of festival sections include:
Special Presentations: The Opening Night Gala (May 1) will present the New Jersey comedy, The Oranges, with a strong ensemble cast including Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, and Oliver Platt. The Oranges will open this fall. A "Tribute to Kathleen Turner" (May 2) will survey the actress’ career with a live interview. (Her newest film The Perfect Family plays separately at MFF). Olympia Dukakis will appear for a screening of her latest film Cloudburst (May 3).
Drama: Tiger Eyes, based on the novel by New Jersey native Judy Blume (the first of her books to be adapted for the big screen), is directed by her son Lawrence Blume. An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is the bold debut of African-American director Terence Nance.
Comedy: "The What-Is-It," a live event with comedians from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. NJ resident Chris Rock stars in 2 Days in New York.
Documentary: World Premiere of The Prep School Negro. A screening of About Face, a documentary by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, plus a Q&A with Pat Cleveland.
Family: Brooklyn Castle and First Position, films that challenge preconceptions of chess and ballet.
New Jersey Spotlight: World Premiere of David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure and Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr Movie. Rare theatrical screening of The Promise: The Making of the Darkness on the Edge of Town, plus a Q&A with director Thom Zimny.
Classics: Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell appears in–person to present a restoration of the 1948 film, The Red Shoes, co-directed by her late husband, Michael Powell, with Emeric Pressburger. The festival also shows a restored version of the 1933 original King Kong.
Conversations: "The Road to Batman & Dark Knight", a discussion with Michael Uslan and Steve Gorelick, executive director of the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission. A conversation with acclaimed actor and NJ resident Patrick Wilson and a panel on film and community building with Michael Moore.