Awakening Arlene, a short film written and directed by Jersey City’s Brad Forenza, with original songs by Julie Gold (Grammy-winner, “From a Distance”) will premiere at Jersey City’s Brightside Film Festival on March 3. The quest-oriented, later-life, coming-of-age film stars West New York’s Jo Walker and Vincent Pastore (SAG Award-winner, The Sopranos).
The film is scheduled to screen in the time period beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Walker, who plays the title character, says: “Awakening Arlene addresses existential themes like freedom, aging, and angst. It’s the story of a middle-aged woman struggling to make sense of her worlds, both large and small. The problem is that her worlds often defy logic and feel beyond reproach.”
Singer/songwriter Julie Gold opens the film with her original lyric, “Don’t Ask Me (I Don’t Know).” “Awakening Arlene is just what the world needs right now: a female protagonist finding her voice and taking action,” says Gold.
“This film was produced mostly in Hudson County with mostly local actors,” says writer/director Forenza. “Because of its local flare, I can think of no greater venue to premiere Awakening Arlene than Jersey City’s Brightside Film Festival.”
Veteran actor of stage, screen, and television, Vincent Pastore, astutely embodies the comedy and tragedy of Arlene’s disinterested husband.
“When you have learned and perfected your craft, it is your obligation to pass it on and teach those who aspire to the dream of being an artist,” says Pastore. “Brad Forenza creates funny characters, and I’m proud of him for putting together this short film.”
Rounding out the diverse ensemble is Joe Apelian, Marcella Baglione, Shaun Cott, Marisa Dolkart, Sumita Bajikar Gluhm, Abby Karan, Maddie Karan, Kevin Lynch, Kirby Gale Mason, Hiram Ortiz, Joshua R. Pangborn, Fran Sisco, and Willy B. Tan.
Awakening Arlene, a Best Version of Yourself production, was produced almost entirely in Hudson County, New Jersey. Associate producers include Brian Dashew, David LaRosa, Janine Laino LaRosa, and Phyllis Sansone Reichert. The creative team includes: Shane Bordeau (incidental music), Brandon Alexander (sound editing), and Eric Hackler (cinematography).