BY Liz George | Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:18pm
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Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen. Photo: Montclair Film Festival
It’s easily the coolest thing to happen to Montclair and now that it’s wrapped for 2013, we asked Montclair Film Festival’s
Bob Feinberg, Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen to share their experiences and give us a hint at what might be ahead for #MFF14.
What was your favorite moment from MFF13?
RN: For me it was introducing the 1950 Disney classic Cinderella. It was the first time my three-year old son was in a theater to watch a movie and he was accompanied by my parents. It was a rare treat to have them all there, and poignant that they were watching a film that meant so much to me when I was a child. Continue Reading
BY Liz George | Monday, May 06, 2013 5:26pm
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There’s a scene in Concussion, the closing film of the Montclair Film Festival, that speaks volumes. Abby (played by Robin Weigert), apres sex with a paying client and clad only in a bra and panties, is astride a counter top in a loft apartment, vigorously ripping apart a brand new tile backsplash with a pry bar. This frenzied moment in the life of a Montclair mom and interior designer turned lesbian hooker, captured by Montclair director Stacie Passon, shows what happens when the furious, desperate need to escape the doldrums of marriage, in any way possible, takes over.
A jarring look at what can happen — in extremes — when couples love each other but lose that spark, Concussion explores the mid-life crisis of Abby, who after getting hit by a baseball in the movie’s open (hence the film’s name), starts to look at her life and finds something is missing.
Abby’s wife (played by Montclair actress Julie Fain Lawrence) is a successful lawyer who is no longer interested in sex. Abby, lost and frustrated with her own life, throws herself first into a loft renovation project in Manhattan, and later, answers a Craig’s list ad for sex with a hooker. When that goes horribly wrong, she pays for a high-end pro, who tells Abby after their encounter that she should start working herself. Continue Reading
BY Brian Glaser | Monday, May 06, 2013 9:00am
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As an opening gambit for a film fest discussion about documentaries, “I hate documentaries” is on the provocative side. But it’s standard fare coming from director Michael Moore, who presided over Sunday evening’s “Dangerous Docs” event at the 2013 Montclair Film Festival.
Joining Moore on stage at the Montclair Art Museum were three documentarians whose work screened at the MFF: Lucy Walker (The Crash Reel), Bill Siegel (The Trials of Muhammad Ali) and Montclair-based Dawn Porter (Gideon’s Army). The event was modeled on the “Dangerous Docs” series that Moore hosts each year at his Traverse City Film Festival, and his guests shared the host’s predilection for calling on the audience to take a sometimes-difficult look at painful and/or dysfunctional aspects of society.
So the director of hot-button docs like Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 framed the sold-out talk with the idea that most filmgoers don’t really want to see documentaries about tough subjects, asking: “Why are we bothering to do this?” Continue Reading
BY Baristanet Staff | Sunday, May 05, 2013 10:56am
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We are going to be so sad when the Montclair Film Festival wraps up tonight. The good news? Continue Reading
BY Baristanet Staff | Saturday, May 04, 2013 9:40am
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Check out the Montclair Film Festival screenings with tickets (as of this morning) available for today and buy your tickets. What have you seen so far:
EVERY DAY IS A HOLIDAY, Clairidge Cinema 1, Saturday, 5/4 11:15 AM.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey, filmmaker Theresa Loong knew little about her father’s past until she discovered his secret diary, written during WWII. In Person: Director Theresa Loong, film subject Paul Loong, executive producer Bill Einreinhofer & editor Kristen Nutile.
MAGIC CAMP, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Saturday, 5/4 11:30 AM.
Magic-obsessed kids congregate at the one place they can be themselves – Tannen’s Magic Camp. In Person: Director Judd Ehrlich, Magicians Daniel GreenWolf, Derrin Berger, Terri Cook, Dayle Cook, Hiawatha Johnson, Jr., Jim Kroene.
ZIPPER: CONEY ISLAND’S LAST WILD RIDE, Bellevue Theater 2, Saturday, 5/4 12:00 PM.
Director Amy Nicholson looks at the legendary Zipper ride in Coney Island to study real estate wars in New York City. In Person: Director Amy Nicholson.
FREE PANEL: RACE & FILM, Montclair Public Library, Saturday, 5/4 12:00 PM.
What do the movies tell us about race in America? Pulitzer Prize-winner Wesley Morris (Grantland; Boston Globe), David Edelstein (New York magazine) and Scott Foundas (Variety) – discuss how they approach race when writing about film. Continue Reading
BY Christina Gillham, Liz George | Friday, May 03, 2013 3:03pm
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“The Kings of Summer” is a coming-of-age movie about three teenage boys who decide to build a house in the woods and live off the land, without their parents rules. It’s been likened by critics to “Superbad” and “Stand by Me,” but writer Chris Galletta, who has never seen “Stand By Me,” says the analogy is not quite right.
“I think ‘Superbad’ meets ‘Lord of the Flies’ was how I initially pitched the idea to people long before it became a movie,” he says. Then again, “E.T. was also a big influence, in terms of attempting to mystify the suburbs.” Continue Reading
BY Lisa Romeo | Thursday, May 02, 2013 11:21am
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Dawn Porter (right) and Summer Damon at Gideon’s Army MFF premiere.
When I told a friend what film I’d be seeing on my first outing of the Montclair Film Festival
, she thought it sounded as if it might be a little depressing. And she was right – but only in the important way that significant, worthy documentaries make us keenly and newly aware of injustices we did not have knowledge of before.
My takeaway from Gideon’s Army, which I saw on Tuesday evening (and has a second screening on Saturday), was that I’d seen a powerful and necessary narrative that left me with a staggering admiration for people committed to justice.
This riveting documentary follows the efforts of three public defenders in southern states, as they struggle — for a lot less money and a lot more hours and stress than seems right—to tip the balance toward fairness, providing competent counsel and proper representation to a never ending list of indigent clients. The idealistic attorneys are committed to carrying out letter and spirit of the law which makes representation available at no cost to those accused of a crime but without the means to hire their own lawyer.
Gideon’s Army was directed by Montclair resident Dawn Porter, a former corporate attorney in the entertainment business, now a full time filmmaker. This is her first entry in her hometown’s film festival, with two sold out showings. At Tuesday night’s screening, she was joined for a post-screening audience Q&A by co-producer Summer Damon, and representatives from the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Essex County Public Defenders office. Continue Reading
BY Georgette Gilmore | Wednesday, May 01, 2013 2:00pm
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With over 80 films at this year’s Montclair Film Festival, you’re going to need sustenance to keep up. Luckily, this is Montclair and we have food—good food. The key is choosing a restaurant near the festival venue you’re attending, to get in and out on time to make your movie. As always, we’ve got your back.
Here’s a breakdown of the festival venues and places to eat near them:
BY Rob Marzulli | Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:00am
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Last night brought The 2,000 Year Old Man, Max Bialystock, Frau Brucha (horses neighing), Hedley Lamarr, Barf, Maxwell Smart and the man whose wonderfully twisted imagination created them all to town when Montclair Film Festival screened the American Masters documentary Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.
You’d figure making a documentary about this 86-year-old, Brooklyn born EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner would be a piece of cake. Interview Brooks and a few of his pals, then mix in clips from The Producers (Movie and Musical), Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, Get Smart, Your Show of Shows, etc. etc.
Following that recipe would give you about 90 minutes of schtick, which coming from Mel Brooks would be pretty entertaining. But director Robert Trachtenberg treats us to a well researched biography full of classic bits from a storied career along with poignant insights from some of the people Brooks has touched.
BY Liz George | Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 3:06pm
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Darlene Love performs at opening night of Montclair Film Festival 2013. Photo: Montclair Film Festival
Montclair Film Festival started its first night of the 2013 Festival on a joyous high note — both from a screening of the film “Twenty Feet From Stardom” and an ebullient performance of “Lean on Me” by the incomparable Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darlene Love
, at Montclair State’s Kasser Theater.
As “Twenty Feet” director Morgan Neville tells it (in a Q & A following the screening, joined by Love and Montclair Film Festival’s Thom Powers) former A&M Records’ Gil Friesen smoked a joint before going to a Leonard Cohen concert and found himself transfixed, not by the headliner, but by the backup singers.
“He woke up the next day wondering ‘What’s their story?’” recalls Neville, who adds that Friesen, the force behind the film who sadly passed away before its premiere, said the resulting documentary was the “most expensive joint he ever smoked.”
You know their voices, but Twenty Feet from Stardom put you in touch with the names, faces and stories of backup singers responsible for creating some of music’s most incredible moments. Exploring both the history (with ample help from music historian Warren Zanes, because as Neville points out, “There was no map for this film. It was even hard to find articles about back up singers”) and the lives of backup singers, the film showcases Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega, Judith Hill and Claudia Lennear. Many of these women are now finding their own spotlight. Continue Reading