SUNDANCE EAST Jersey City, Union City to Host Fall Film Fests    J 

Is Hudson becoming the new Sundance?  

By Sally Deering


Jersey City and Union City are getting ready to roll out the red carpets and sprinkle some stardust as they prepare for four upcoming film festivals this fall. Could Hudson become the new Sundance East?

On Tues, Sept. 16 at 7 pm, world famous designer Tommy Hilfiger kicked off the 4th annual Golden Door International Film Festival at the landmark Loew’s Jersey City Theater in Journal Square. The festival runs Thurs, Sept. 18 with a Gala evening of films through Sun, Sept. 21 with awards given to the best of the fest.

Just days later, the world premiere of the film, THE JERSEY DEVIL at the Loew’s Jersey City on Wed, Sept 24 kicks off the Jersey City International Television & Film Festival that runs October 17-19. Those attending the world premiere will be able to pick up the festival’s itinerary which will include film screenings, filmmaker discussions, workshops and lots of resources for up-and-coming filmmakers learning the ropes.

On Tues, Oct. 14 through Sat, Oct. 19, it’s the 7th annual NoHu International Short Film Festival in Union City; and on Fri, and Sat, Dec. 5 & 6, the Union City Film Festival presents its 5th annual weekend of short films.

All four festivals are independently run by grassroots groups that want to see the movie industry thrive here in Hudson, where there are great locations to film, lots of professional actors to play roles, and tax credits for filmmakers.

Here are previews of the festivals as Hudson gets ready for its close-up.

Tues, Sept. 16, Tommy Hilfiger ‘s Kick Off, 7 pm

Thurs, Sept. 18-Sun, Sept. 21


Now in its 4th year!

Nephew to actor Paul Sorvino and cousin to Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, Bill Sorvino of Jersey City has been at the helm of the Golden Door International Film Festival since its inception 4 years ago, and it seems the event just keeps getting bigger and better.

“It’s amazing how in our fourth year we have doubled in size in terms of film submissions, film screenings, donor and community support,” Bill Sorvino says.

This year, superstar designer Tommy Hilfiger kicked off the film festival at a special ceremony at the Loew’s Jersey City on Tues, Sept 16, and then on Thurs, Sept. 18, the Golden Door film festival began and runs through Sun, Sept. 21 with screenings of more than 90 films from 76 countries. This year there’s a special autism category with several films based on that theme including THE ODD WAY HOME starring Rumer Willis – daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis – and Chris Marquette, who once lived in Hudson before moving on to an acting career in Hollywood.

“THE ODD WAY HOME is an amazing film with excellent acting and direction,” Sorvino says. “We are so totally impressed with the quality of films we have received from high functioning autistic adults.  They are some of our best films.”

Other autism-related films include HANDS TO THE SKY, CATCH THEM & THEY’RE YOURS, directed by Kimberly Townes, and ACCEPTANCE directed by Gene Gallagher. GDIFF and Sensory Kids & Social Minds also partnered to host an Autism Awareness Event with seminars and workshops on Sun, Sept. 21. GDIFF is also screening the JUST LIKE YOU FILM series, which consists of short films dealing with subjects like cancer and Down’s syndrome directed by Jen Greenstreet.

Other must-see films include the South African film AFRICAN GOTHIC, directed by Gabriel Bologna, RAIN, directed by Kristen McGary, RYE COALITION: THE STORY OF THE HARD LUCK 5, directed by Jenni Matz, DESTRESSED, directed by Garry Pastore, WAITING FOR A TRAIN, directed by Uladzimir Taukachou and Alex Vetrov, and DANNY AND THE WILD BUNCH, directed by Robert Rugan.

The festival calendar is jam packed with screenings, seminars and fun activities, such as making your own mini “animated” movie book with Flipbooks at the Kickoff party at the Loew’s Jersey City. Other screening venues include Panepinto Gallery, Panepinto Studio, Brightside Tavern, The Westin and Hudson County Community College.

If you go:

For tickets to the Tommy Hilfiger kick-off, opening night gala and film screenings go to:

 Sept. 24, 7 pm, Loew’s Jersey City


THE JERSEY DEVIL film premiere gets things rolling.

The Jersey City International Television & Film Festival (JCITFF) rolls out the red carpet on Wed, Sept. 24, at 7 pm, for the premiere of the film THE JERSEY DEVIL by JCITFF producers Jarl and Michael Billy of Jersey City who are also producing the film festival which runs Oct. 17-19. THE JERSEY DEVIL features Chris Mulkey, who played Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague in the acclaimed HBO series BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

Jarl and Billy’s plans for the JCITFF in October are to give aspiring and up-and-coming filmmakers opportunities to meet directors and producers in the film industry who can help them move their film careers forward.

“Our goal isn’t only a weekend of glam and red carpet,” Jarl says. “We’ve planned panel discussions, debates, and invited directors and producers from the film and TV world to come to Jersey City and meet with new filmmakers in the business.”

Three film genres will be highlighted and Jarl and Billy are looking forward to entries in Indian film; Horror film; and LGBT films. The TV part of the festival will feature TV shows and pilots, and the chance to meet directors and producers. New Jersey City University is playing a big part in the film festival, too.

“Our emphasis is on the community and filmmakers, that’s why we’re offering networking events so that people who are entering the business can make connections,” Billy says. “The industry is opening itself up to people of all walks of life with all stories to tell. You can make a great film on your iPhone and that’s why we’re doing workshops. Let’s train you and market you in the business process. If you network with the right people, you can make a living at it.”

If you go:

Tickets to the film premiere: $10

(The JCITFF itinerary for October will be available at the screening.)

For more info:

 Tues, Oct 14 – Sat, Oct. 17

The 7th annual NoHu International Short Film Festival in Union City

Deadline for entries, Wed, Oct. 1, 2014

The City of Union City will host the Seventh Annual NoHu International Short Film Festival from Oct. 14 – 18. This year’s five day festival will include four evenings of screenings and a red carpet Awards Ceremony on the fifth day. Submissions are being accepted in all categories.  Films should be no longer than fifteen minutes in length. Those interested may submit their film in DVD format, along with a cover letter, synopsis, film credits, awards if any, and contact information to: Commissioner Lucio P. Fernandez, Department of Public Affairs,

3715 Palisade Avenue, Union City, NJ, 07087, Attn: Film Entry.

For more info:

Fri, Sat, Dec. 5 & 6


The Union City International Film Festival (UCIFF) will show 60 shorts by up-and coming directors. Jon Faber is the Executive Director of the festival now in its 5th year.

“The majority of work we get is from Mexico, Spain, Germany, England, Denmark, and across the U.S.,” Faber says. “We are the grandson of the Holly Shorts Film Festival in Los Angeles.”

In the years the festival’s been going on, Faber and his crew have screened films by Kristen Duntz, Josh Brolin, Demi Moore, and other stars.

“The festival is free to the community; there’s no admission charge and there are no submission fees,” Faber says. “When we first started we received 300 submissions, now we get an average of 900 short films. It proves to us, that festivals like ours inspire filmmakers to make films for the sake of making art.”

Faber says many of the films screened have an afterlife post festival. He remembers MAROONED, a short black-and-white film with a twist on the science fiction genre.

“We did that the first year and it still stands out in my memory,” Faber says. “The film got a major contract with a director.”

Submissions for the festival will be accepted from Sept 15 through Nov 16th, and the length can be from 30 seconds to 15 minutes. Make sure your entry is on a DVD. Send entries to: UCIFF,

550 35th St, Union City, NJ 07087.

For more info:

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