By Sally Deering
In October 2012, the second annual Golden Door International Film Festival of Jersey City lit up screens at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre and other venues where films from all over the world premiered and winners chosen. On Sat, March 16th, the festival’s Executive Director Bill Sorvino presents “The Best of the Fest” where three films from the Golden Door International Film Festival will have encore screenings at Art House Productions in Jersey City.
The feature film to be shown is “Maybe Tomorrow” directed by Michael Wolfe and starring Wolfe, Dominik Tiefenthaler and Paul Lange. At the Golden Door, the film won Best Picture, Best Lead Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay. The film centers on the friendship between three men and the test their friendship endures when they become involved in a crime that ultimately changes their lives forever.
Next on the bill is “Pollination*” a short film about the special life of plants by filmmaker Sam Borowski and starring Federico Castelluccio (of “The Sopranos”) and Chris Kattan.
Rounding out the evening is “My Time with the English Tourist,” a short documentary by Jersey City resident John Dunstan that won the Audience Choice award. The film short is a 13-minute valentine to Jersey City’s Liberty State Park and the wildlife that resides there as seen through Dunstan’s camera lens during walks with his English bulldog Tommy.
“These three films were chosen across the spectrum,” Sorvino says. “The feature film, ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ is a powerhouse movie starring Michael Wolfe. John’s film is a short documentary about the walks he took with his dog and the beautiful wildlife in Liberty State Park. It’s a great film. And Sam’s film ‘Pollination*’ packs a 7-minute wallop.’
The Best of the Fest is a fundraising event for Golden Door International Film Festival of Jersey City as it gears up for its third year this fall.
“We run the festival on a very tight budget,” Sorvino says, “and we need every penny we can bring in.”
Early film submissions to the 2013 festival are being accepted as of March 7th and there are several deadlines throughout the year for filmmakers to submit their work. Sorvino and his staff held a Best of the Fest last year after the first festival where he says they had a full house at Art House Productions space near Hamilton Park in Jersey City. This year’s event will again be held at Art House with the three filmmakers attending the screening and then conducting a Q&A with the audience afterwards.
Dunstan, who directed and stars in the short documentary “My Time with the English Tourist” with his dog Tommy participated in the first Golden Door festival when he submitted his film “The Secret Life of my Small Urban Backyard” which won Best Documentary that year and played film festivals in Montana and Finland.
“My first film was a nature documentary, an extremely close look at life in my backyard,” Dunstan says.
A carpenter by trade, Dunstan describes himself as a hobbyist filmmaker. He says the festival is a great venue for filmmakers to learn from each other and garner support for their work.
“It’s nice as an amateur to hang out with people who made serious films,” Dunstan says “One thing that impressed me with the Golden Door film festival is that an enthusiast filmmaker like myself gets the same respect and supportive atmosphere as the bigger players. In spite of the demands of organizing and running the festival, Bill has really made it a special event, personally encouraging my work.”
This is the second year Best of the Fest will be held at Art House Productions in Jersey City, a non-profit performance, art, and theater space run by Christine Goodman. It’s a great venue for screenings, Sorvino says.
“It’s one of the most successful venues of the film festival,” Sorvino says. “We seem to pack the house with them. They have a nice screen, a nice setting, great sound. It doesn’t look like a movie theater but it’s an awesome space.”
On March 16th, the Best of the Fest will screen the three films from 7-9 pm and after the Q&A, there’s an after party scheduled at GP’s Restaurant just a few steps away on Pavonia Avenue. Admission to Best of the Fest is $20, cash only, at the door and the price includes admission to the screenings and the after party.
“The Golden Door is getting bigger and better,” Sorvino says. “It’s blowing up in fact.”
If you go:
Sat, Mar 16, 7 pm
The Best of the Fest
Art House Productions
1 McWilliams Place
For more info: