Atlantic Highlands is the Place to Be July 21

July 13, 2012
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FilmOneFest, street fair, and arts and crafts festival on tap

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – The “jewel of the bay shore” will be sparkling July 21 as films, music, arts and crafts and family-friendly activities fill borough streets.

The FilmOneFest is held at the Atlantic Highlands harbor with 1-minute films shown on a large inflatable screen. This is the scene from the 2011 festival.

The annual Atlantic Highlands Arts Council’s Film­OneFest returns Satur­day, July 21, and is joined this year for the first time by the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society Arts and Crafts festival, which formerly was held in August. To add to the day’s excitement, the Atlantic High­lands Chamber of Commerce is holding its FilmOneFest Street Fair.

“Thousands are expected,” said Sherilyn Przelomski of the Chamber of Commerce.

The day begins at 10 a.m. with the street fair and arts and crafts festival. The street fair will be held on First Avenue from East Highland Avenue at Veterans Park to Center Street. Chamber of Commerce members along First Avenue and those on other borough streets will take their businesses onto the street, along with a variety of vendors, to offer merchandise specials, information and conversation. Food and music will be available all day as well as a variety of events for the whole family, including face painting, inflatables and games.

Also at 10 a.m., the arts and crafts festival will open in Veterans Park featuring more than 60 artists and crafters displaying and selling their work. Live music, games, food and children’s activities will also be featured.

Stilt-walkers, like this one from the 2011 FilmOneFest, will be among the featured entertainment from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 21. Prior to the film festival, a street fair will be held on First Avenue and an arts and crafts festival will be held in Veterans Park.

The street fair and arts and crafts festival will be held until 6 p.m. The action will then shift to the harbor gazebo on Simon Lake Drive at 7 p.m. for the film festival. Now in its fourth year, the fest will showcase films that only run for 1 minute.

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The FilmOneFest audience will be able to spend the evening outdoors by the bay and enjoy original films that tell succinct stories and concepts in a very brief amount of time.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Sibling Rivalry from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., and artists will display and demonstrate their work. A juggler, clowns, stilt-walkers and face painters will also be in the crowd.

“We’re very kid-friendly,” said Robert O’Connor, who along with Julie Gartenberg, co-chair the event.

Food will be available for purchase, and movie popcorn and water will be free, courtesy of Whole Foods Market, Middletown.

The short films will be shown on a huge blow-up screen elevated on a trailer beginning at 9 p.m. “We have a great sound system,” O’Connor said.

Admission and parking are free. Audience members may bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. Premium seating – an area with comfortable chairs – is available for purchase for $10 at

The celebration of the short-short film has become an important part of the art of filmmaking and a must-attend event at the shore. Film­makers from around the world and throughout the country, as well as talented local artists, compete for their minute on the giant screen.

The event began after O’Connor moved to town six years ago. As an artist, he had participated in similar
1-minute film events. “I knew it was a scale we could handle,” he said.

As a new member of the arts council, he suggested the event and, when the group agreed, he and Gartenberg were put in charge. The first event was held in 2009.

The best and most interesting films are selected and will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including television producer Jon Crowley; The Two River Times™ film critic Joan Ellis; film editors Carol Cuddy and Susan Littenberg; sound editor Gedney Webb, and film historian Victor Zak.

The day following the film festival, an awards reception is held. Here, fest co-chairs Robert O’Connor and Julie Gartenberg talk to the attendees at last year’s ceremony.

An awards reception will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, July 22, at the Strauss Mansion, East Mount Avenue and Prospect Circle. Attendees will be able to meet festival judges, staff, and filmmakers and enjoy films that were accepted but not screened at the public FilmOneFest on Saturday night. Tickets to the reception are $15 and may be purchased at: the Flaky Tart, 145 First Ave.; The Painted Frame, 77 Center Ave., or online at

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New this year, the FilmOneFest has its very own free smartphone and iPad app that will feature all the 2012 entries, as well as selected films from previous years. It can be found at

FilmOneFest supports the Atlantic Highlands Food Pantry and will be accepting donations of nonperishable food and household items at the festival.

In the event of rain or high winds, the festival will be held at the Charles Hesse Parish Hall, 55 South Ave.

“It’s very encouraging that after only four years, the festival has not only survived, but is thriving in ways we could never have envisioned,” O’Connor said. “With submissions from all over the world, new iPad and smartphone apps, and overwhelming community support, we are very proud of what FilmOneFest has become.”

Mary Eileen Fouratt, executive director of the Monmouth County Arts Council, said, “It’s amazing how this festival has grown over four years from just an idea to a unique event uniting a small town behind a communitywide festival, drawing film submissions from around the world, and now offering a virtual community on the net for the short-short film.”

The program is sponsored by the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council [] and is made possible in part by the Monmouth County Arts Council through funding from the Monmouth County, the Monmouth County Historical Commis­sion, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

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