NORTHEAST FILM FESTIVAL BRINGS FILM MAGIC TO TEANECK by Stacy Fisher
The Northeast Film Festival has established itself as one
of the most prestigious film festivals in New Jersey. Festival Director and
Founder, Larry Rosen, has amassed over 30 awards himself on the independent film
circuit for directing, producing and acting in over 100 films. When asked what
encouraged him to create the Northeast Film Festival, he said, “I have been to a
lot of [film] festivals. I took everything I liked at these festivals and
combined it to create Northeast Film Festival.”
Now in its second year, it has relocated to Teaneck, where Rosen grew up. He hopes to “create an epicenter of arts” in the community. Many have called the festival the Tribeca of New Jersey, due to its very strong film lineup. “We had 562 film submissions this year and only had room to fit 40 films” said Rosen. “We have over a dozen Oscar and Emmy Award Winners and Nominees in this year’s lineup and filmmakers that combined have over 300+ awards.” Sam Borowski, last year’s winner of Best Short Film and Best Director of a Short film said, "I didn't think anything could top last year's NEFF, but it seems that is what's going to happen!” Borowski has his documentary Creature Feature: 60 Years of the Gill Man screening at the festival Saturday at 2pm. Borowski says, “You often hear that a film was a 'labor of love,' but this film truly was.” He will also be presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to his mentor, legendary horror film director, Samuel Sherman on Sunday evening at 7:30pm during the Awards Gala.
Malindi Fickle, director of Suck it up Buttercup, screening Friday at 3pm, said, “It is an honor to have Suck it up Buttercup at NEFF this year. Larry Rosen and Scott Churchson put together a stellar line up.” Fickle’s film is a story about a young woman, Jackie (Lacy Marie Meyer) who has recently become addicted to prescription drugs. Jackie has just graduated from high-school with honors yet she is beginning to spiral down the long slide of addiction. Told over the course of a single evening, director Malindi Fickle, wanted to tell a story that focused on addiction, the denial that surrounds it -- and how everyone is affected by it.
The festival has an array of known veteran filmmakers, including a feature directed by Oscar Winner Shawn Christensen (Curfew), Before I Disappear (Friday at 8pm). Moving stories, such as a short written by Rina Goldberg as part of the Make a Film Foundation, adapted by Diablo Cody (Juno), The Magic Bracelet (Sunday at 2pm). But it also is the venue for first time filmmakers. Hillary Hawkins, better known as Robyn from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. said, “I'm super thankful to be a part of the Northeast Film Festival… I started my own production company, Hillary Hawkins Production, and now our first baby is born!” That baby being Stuck for a Reason (Saturday 3:30pm), a short film that addresses issues of class/socio-economic status and challenges the pre-conceived notions that we have of ourselves and others.
Rosen was asked what films he thinks audiences should attend. He responded, “All of them. We kick off at 11am on Friday the 5th with The Right to Live, a film about domestic abuse taking all forms, and quality films leading up to our red carpet event at 7pm, with our opening night feature, Shawn Christensen’s Before I Disappear. Saturday, we have a full day of amazing films, including Behind Closed Doors, Creature Feature, Bridge and Tunnel, Rock Story, Swim Little Fish Swim (a favorite on the festival circuit), and The Algerian. Sunday we have more family friendly films, including a block of films dedicated to the Make a Film Foundation. Then at night is our star studded Awards Gala…. Most festivals you have to choose which films you think will be good to see. At NEFF, it is easy, they are all good.”
The Northeast Film Festival takes place at the newly renovated, historic Teaneck Cinemas. 503 Cedar Ln, Teaneck, NJ. (201) 530-7410.
The full schedule can be viewed at http://www.NEFilmFestival.com/schedule.html