By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
Finishing touches are being put on this weekend’s Garden State Film Festival as it prepares to blanket Asbury Park with movies, galas and celebrities.
Event Organizer Diane Raver said she has, no surprise, many last minute details to attend to, but her most important as of Tuesday was “doing a last minute no snow dance” as the fourth nor’easter of the month was getting ready to bear down on the shore.
But Raver is confident that with all the preparations already done and the help of city officials, the Jersey Shore Arts Center and iStar, the festival will be a success.
“It’s wonderful. The city itself has been so warm and welcoming,” she said. “And the Berkeley Hotel too.”
Sylvia Sylvia, executive director of the Asbury Parck Chamber of Commerce, said the business community is excited about the upcoming festival.
“We were thrilled when we learned that the GSFF was returning to Asbury Park,” she said. “This festival has a beautiful history and a great reputation for supporting the independent film genre. We’re looking forward seeing the films, as well as having the opportunity to show off our town to the guests it will draw, many of whom may be discovering, or rediscovering Asbury Park. “
She also noted that Appliance Brokers Ltd, on Asbury Avenue is hosting a complimentary brunch on Sunday. The business has also hired a trolley to help with transportation.
Residents and visitors are invited to attend the Meet the Film Makers event Thursday night (March 22 where trailers of all the films will be shown at the Asbury Park Hotel from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“Then they can plan what they want to see,” Raver said.
The festival has its own app that can be downloaded to mobile devices and where festival-goers can make their own personal schedule for the weekend’s screenings and events.
Raver is particularly excited about the Friday Night Gala cocktail party which several noted actors will attend including Armand Assante, who is this year’s MVP of the festival.
Other actors attending the festival include Ed Asner, Xander Berkeley and Aida Turturro.
A jitney bus will circulate the city carrying attendees to all the venues where films are being shown.
Award winning actor Christopher Lloyd, known for many iconic roles and best known for playing Emmet “Doc” Brown in the “Back to the Future” trilogy will receive the Beacon Award after the screening of his new thriller “Making a Killing” at the Jersey Shore Arts Center on Sat., March 24 at 8 p.m.
The film is a twisted mortician themed, modern day crime mystery, based on a true story.
Lloyd’s Brown character was ranked 20th on Empire Magazine’s list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of all Time. He is known worldwide for his work as Professor Emmett Brown, the lovable but eccentric inventor of the Delorean Time Machine.
Lloyd’s film career began with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” when he appeared with two shore natives, Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito.
He followed that with another of his one of a kind characters, Jim Ignatowski on television’s “Taxi,” for which he won two Emmy awards.
Lloyd’s prolific career continued with over 90 film and television credits including “The Addams Family” “Tales of Despereaux” and “Angels in the Outfield.”
He has also appeared in over 200 plays on and off Broadway including “Twelfth Night” in New York Shakespeare in the Park, “Waiting for Godot” “Trumbo” and the Tony award winning play “Mornings at Seven.”
Lloyd’s movie, “Making a Killing” is a new independent feature from Tinton Falls native Devin Hume who directed, produced and co-wrote the film.
The GSFF will run from Thurs., March 22 to Sun., March 25 in locations throughout the city and Ocean Grove.
Individual screening tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door.
Weekend passes are available for $50 and include all events and film screenings expect the awards banquet on Sunday.
Day passes are also available at $30 for Saturday and $25 for Sunday.
For social media updates check out Facebook under GardenState film Festival or #GSFF2018 on Instagram and Twitter.
The festival is also running a silent auction with three prizes: 1) the winner and three other people will receive VIP celebrity access; 2) cremation for two and a mausoleum spot at Monmouth Memorial Park and 3) Two bedroom villa at Hilton Head Island.