By Mary Ann Bourbeau
RED BANK – It’s been a long time coming, but Red Bank finally has its own independent film festival.
The Indie Street Film Festival, which includes screenings of more than 75 different independent feature and short films, will take place at various locations throughout the borough from July 6-10.
“Growing up in the area, the question was never if we should launch our film festival in Red Bank,” said Indie Street co-founder Jay Webb. “It’s a gorgeous arts-driven town with all the infrastructure, venues and passionate people that are key to the success of an event like this. Indie Street is all about cooperation and we have felt that energy from the Count Basie Theatre, local businesses, the town council and all the individuals who have helped make this festival a reality.”
Among the highlights will be an opening night screening of director Chad Hartigan’s Sundance hit, “Morris from America,” starring Craig Robinson from “The Office.” The screening will take place at the Count Basie Theatre – the festival’s lead sponsor – followed by an after-party at The Downtown.
“The mission of the Count Basie Theatre has always centered on showcasing and nurturing the arts,” said Basie President and CEO Adam Philipson. “In that way, Indie Street’s mission to create visibility for independent filmmakers is aligned with what we do best. We’re very much looking forward to growing this festival into an annual event for Red Bank and the region.”
A screening of the documentary, “Can We Take a Joke,” about comedians and political correctness, will be followed by a live stand-up performance by Lisa Lampanelli.
Indie Street’s feature film competition will include the world premiere of “Auld Lang Syne” by Johanna McKeon, an associate director of Broadway’s “Hedwig And The Angry Inch” and “American Idiot.” Also featured will be winning films from the Basie’s Project FX statewide student film festival.
“The festival and Count Basie are dedicated to using the festival as a vehicle to foster the arts amongst the youth,” Webb said. “We will be donating a portion of ticket proceeds to Red Bank schools for arts-driven programs.”
“After Sandy,” the post-super storm film from Tinton Falls filmmaker Joe Minnella, will be among several documentary features, along with “Hotel Dallas,” detailing the adventures of a Romanian woman who travels to the U.S. under the influence of the early ‘80s television hit “Dallas.” Sonita, which won both the Grand Jury and Audience awards at Sundance this year for Best World Documentary, will play at the Count Basie Theatre on July 9.
“We are very proud of the diverse slate of standout indie films we have put together to screen for the Red Bank community,” said Webb. “We think the festival really will have something inspiring to offer for everyone.”
There will also be 57 short films from more than a dozen countries, including projects by directors Danny DeVito and Matthew Modine. Shorts will be broken down into several categories, among them “Jersey Shorts,” which are created by local filmmakers.
“We are constantly trying to discover new filmmakers who embody story over budget,” said Webb, who co-founded the festival with childhood friend Christopher Radeschi. “It is important to us to bring to the festival the stories that are important and impactful to our community.”
In addition to the Basie, screenings will also take place at Two River Theater, Bowtie Cinemas and Red Bank Middle School, which boasts a new 400-seat theater.
“It’s beautiful,” said Webb. “It’s a perfect fit in an art-driven town.”
Festivalgoers can also enjoy several pre-and post-screening parties at Jamian’s, The Downtown, Gotham, The Belmonte and 10th Avenue Burrito, many with live music.
Webb said he is happy not only to bring these films to the community, but also to help drive the local economy. Festival passholders should save their lanyard, which can be used for discounts and promotions from participating vendors in the coming months.
“We don’t want to just have the film festival come in for the weekend,” Webb said. “We want to let those businesses who have supported us receive benefits throughout the rest of the summer.”
A public screening, presented by Sony Pictures Classics and its co-founder/co-president and area resident Tom Bernard, will take place on July 7 outside the Molly Pitcher Inn. Fans can visit www.facebook.com/IndieStreetFilmFestival to cast their vote among several Sony Pictures Classics titles, including “Welcome To The Dollhouse,” “SLC Punk,” “The Wackness,” “Moon” and “Junebug.”
Festival passes and tickets to individual screenings are on sale at www.Indiestreetfilmfestival.org and www.thebasie.org.
***ITALArts and entertainment writer Mary Ann Bourbeau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @MaryAnnBourbeau.***END
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