Take two
Golden Door Film Fest set to return
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Sep 23, 2012 | 7644 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Actor and Golden Door International Film Festival founder Bill Sorvino, left, with his uncle, actor Paul Sorvino at the inaugural festival’s red carpet event in 2011.
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The multi-tasking skills of Jersey City’s culture buffs will soon be tested when not one, but two, major arts events collide in one week.

Next month, the second Annual Golden Door International Film Festival will get underway from Oct. 11 through 14, overlapping by two days with the annual Artists’ Studio Tour.

Think of it as a blessing, not a curse. However, the scheduling will mean that art and film lovers will have to carefully map out what to see and when, especially on Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14, when both the film festival and Studio Tour will have overlapping programming.

For those who missed the inaugural Golden Door International Film Festival last year, which was co-sponsored by the Hudson Reporter, the fete featured 40 independent films from veteran and emerging filmmakers. The festival ran the gamut of independent filmmaking. There were film shots and features; tragedies and comedies; documentaries and narratives; films shot half way around the world and right here in JC.


Art and film lovers will have to carefully map out what to see and when.


Actor Bill Sorvino, a Jersey City native and Golden Door founder, said this year’s festival will be similar to last years – only “bigger and better.”

“There wasn’t much we wanted to change,” he stated. “We didn’t want to mess with something that wasn’t broken.”

Sorvino said the festival committee took what worked from last year and built upon it for 2012.

‘Bigger, better’

Through word of mouth within the film community, the festival’s organizing committee received many more film submissions this year than last.

“I felt bad because we had to turn down a lot of great films,” Sorvino admitted.

But the added competition means the overall quality of the festival has gone up a notch.

Fifty movies will be screened during the four-day festival, 10 more than last year.

The movies selected run the gamut of nearly every style and taste.

In the feature-length film “Maybe Tomorrow,” by director Michael Wolfe, three former friends try to come to terms with a crime that severed their relationships, but which also shaped the course of each of their lives. “Union Square,” which co-stars Oscar winner Mira Sorvino and will have a featured screening on Friday, Oct. 12, centers around the reunion of two sisters who are at very different stages in their lives. Teju Prasad’s feature documentary, “Not a Feather, but a Dot,” which explores perceptions of Indian Immigrants in the U.S., is reflective of the festival’s diversity.

Opening night will feature “Just Crazy Enough,” a comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Kattan, and “Pollination,” a short from director Sam Borowski.

Naturally, there are a few changes from last year.

One notable change is the inclusion of a full day of film programming on the Friday of the festival. Last year, the event made its debut with an opening night gala on a Thursday and then resumed Friday evening. This year, there will be a line up of several movies that will be shown on Friday, Oct. 12 beginning at noon at the Brightside Tavern.

“We had so many submissions, so many movies that we wanted to screen, that we decided to have three full days of screenings, rather than the two days we had last year,” Sorvino said. “It’s during the work day. But maybe some people will be able to catch some of what’s there during their lunch hour.”

These films will be shown upstairs at the Brightside, where owner Tom Parisi has a film screen already set up in an events space inside the restaurant.

In response to some criticism he received last year from some of the filmmakers, Sorvino admitted that a few venues were not included as showing spaces this year. Some film directors complained last year that the screens at some venues misrepresented the quality of their work.

“One thing I learned last year was it’s ultra-important to have venues that are helpful and working with you,” Sorvino said.

In another departure, there will also be a showing of student-made films on Saturday, Oct. 13 that will be presented free of charge at the Five Corners branch of the Jersey City Free Public Library.

Some festival-goers may be disappointed to learn that films will be shown only once during the event, meaning if they wish to see two films that are being shown at the same time in different venues they will have to decide between the two.

Seminars, awards

Like last year, there will be three industry-oriented seminars offered for filmmakers.

Independent filmmaker John Trigonis (“Cerise,” “Cog”) will repeat the Crowdfunding seminar he led last year. Trigonis will offer useful information and advice on how independent filmmakers can raise money for their projects.

Director Kelly McClung, who Sorvino said, “Is somehow able to make a low-budget indie film look like a big budget production,” will share his secrets to pulling off this trick.

Last year McClung’s film, “Kerberos,” won a Golden Door Film Festival Award for best cinematography.

A panel of judges will also award various honors to the festival’s top films. Awards will be presented in 20 categories and there will be an awards ceremony held on the festival’s closing night at 6:30 p.m.

Getting there

The full festival program is available online at http://goldendoorfilmfestival.org and will be published in the Jersey City Reporter on October 7th.

Films will be shown at a variety of Jersey City venues, including Art House Productions, Bar Majestic, Studio III VII I by Stephanie Panepinto, the Mildred Hunke Theater in the Five Corners Library, and the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. The seminars will be held in the rotunda at City Hall.

Tickets for the festival can be purchased online beginning this week through the festival web site. Tickets for individual programs are $11.34, which includes an online service fee. There’s also an all-access festival pass available for $156.24, including the service fee.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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