RAHWAY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017

This year, the 5th Annual Rahway International Film Festival, a Big Dreams & Silver Screens production, called a new venue home, the James Ward Mansion in Westfield, NJ on September 22-24, 2017! Who doesn't want to celebrate in a mansion?

 

Our 5th year brings more exciting new progress for RIFF as we are now officially a program of Big Dreams & Silver Screens Inc., a Non-Profit Corporation, 501(c)3 in the state of New Jersey! You will start to see that name a lot more often, but don't worry - we are still run by the very same dedicated team! Click here to read our Director's Statement regarding the move and rebrand.

This year, we screened 7 feature films and 36 short films from across the world, including as local as New Jersey to as far as Estonia and India. See below for the festival schedule and film lineup.

As a women-led film festival in a primarily male-dominated film industry, we are dedicated to showcasing an equal ratio of films by female and male filmmakers in a leading role (Director/Writer/Producer), in keeping with our mission of presenting films that promote equality, awareness, & open-mindedness. 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for photos and videos of what took place at RIFF 2017! 

 

RIFF 2017 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

 

Click here for a downloadable PDF.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE RIFF 2017

FILM COMPETITION WINNERS!

Rahway International Film Festival showcased 6 impressive feature length films and 36 short films in competition by talented filmmakers across the globe. The following awards were decided by our panel of judges. We are proud to announce the winners of the Rahway International Film Festival 2017 below.

Best Feature Film

Best Feature Comedy

Best Feature Drama

D-Love

Life Hack

Tourments D'Amour (Torments of Love)

Director: Elena Beuca

Director: ​Jules Caroline

Director: ​Sloan Copeland

Best Local Feature Film - New Jersey

Best Screenplay in a Feature Film

Best Feature Documentary

Return to Bosnia

I Can't... I Have Rehearsal

Tourments D'Amour (Torments of Love)

Director: Wes Greene

Director: Maddie Orton

Director: Jules Caroline

Best Female Filmmaker of a Feature Film

Best Cinematography in a Feature Film

Best Editing in a Feature Film

Columbus

Life Hack

Director: Kogonada

Director: Sloan Copeland

Director: Elena Beuca

Best Actor in a Feature Film

Director: ​Jules Caroline

Best Actress in a Feature Film

Director: ​Elena Beuca

Best Short Drama

Best Short Film

Best Short Comedy

Pyramus & Thisbe

Angeltown

Swipe Right

Director: Laura Raud

Director: Nancy Liu

Director: Kendall Goldberg

Best Local Short Film - New Jersey

Best Short Documentary

Best Animated Short

Standing Eight

Swan Lake

Tony & the Swordfish Tattoo

Director: Joe Kurek

Directors: Saeed Mayahy & Hamid Jamali

Director: Brian Kazmarck

Best Cinematography in a Short Film

Best Screenplay of a Short Film

Best Editing in a Short Film

Spot

Tiny Worlds

Filling In

Director: Jamie DiNicola

Director: Alexa Werrlein

Director: Bradley Hawkins

Best Actress in a Short Film

Best Actor in a Short Film

Best Female Filmmaker of a Short Film

Andrea Velasco

in Desde el Principio

Tristan Mckinnon

in Alfred J Hemlock

Kendall Goldberg

Director/Writer/Producer of Swipe Right

Director: ​Kendall Goldberg

Director: ​Edward Lyons

Director: ​Miguel J. Soliman

 

FRIDAY NIGHT / OPENING NIGHT SCHEDULE:

SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

6:30pm-8:00pm: Opening Night Gala Cocktail Hour

8:00pm-10:00pm: Film Screenings + Filmmakers Q&A

10:30pm-12:30am: Opening Night After Party

Preceded by Short Film:

  • "Helping Hands" directed by Mike Jacobson (NJ, USA)

Rahway International Film Festival Opening Night Feature Film Presentation: "Life Hack" directed by Sloan Copeland (New York, USA).

Genre: Comedy

Synopsis: Life Hack is an incredibly timely ensemble comedy about digital privacy... or lack thereof. A humorous cautionary tale about cyber threats in the digital age. Cover your webcam.

Ticket price includes a preceding Opening Night Gala Cocktail Hour with catered hors d'oeuvres and open bar (beer/wine/champagne) at 6:30pm.  Guests are free to tour our beautiful venue, The James Ward Mansion of Westfield. Come dressed to impress for photos and interviews on the red carpet! Cocktail attire is requested. 

Following the films, there will be a Filmmakers Q&A with attending Directors, Cast, & Crew from both films.

Ticket price also includes exclusive access to the Opening Night After Party from 10:30pm-12:30am at 16 Prospect Wine Bar & Bistro, just 1 block away from the mansion.

Tickets are available to purchase online and WILL now also be sold at the door. Cash & credit card will be accepted.

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**For helpful information such as directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

OPENING NIGHT AFTER-PARTY

Friday, September 22, 2017

10:30pm-12:30am

16 Prospect Wine Bar & Bistro

Let's kick off the festival weekend right! Please join us for the Opening Night After-Party located at 16 Prospect Wine Bar & Bistro, just 1 block away from the Mansion (16 Prospect St, Westfield, NJ 07090). There will be complimentary food, a full cash bar, and live music by "The Constant" featuring Cat London & Rich Aveo.

 

Attendees must show their Opening Night Gala ticket, weekend pass, day pass or stamp for admission! Those with Saturday/Sunday passes must show their online ticket or receipt for admission. Selected filmmakers may pick up their V.I.P pass at the After-Party if they do not already have it.

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SATURDAY SCHEDULE:

SEPTEMBER 23, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

11:00am-12:00pm

*SEMINAR CANCELLED*

We regret to inform you that due to a personal emergency, our seminar instructor, Rick Sordelet will no longer be available on Saturday.  As such we have been forced to make the difficult decision to cancel this seminar.

RIFF Filmmaking Seminar: Stunts on Set with the Nation's Leading Fight Choreographer

 

During this Filmmmaking Seminar, attendees will attend a one-hour long filmmaking seminar led by leading local filmmakers in the industry.

Learn how to keep your actors safe on set when it comes to film stunts.  Famed fight choreographer and stunt coordinator, Rick Sordelet, shares his expertise and stories from his professional career as the nation's premier fight director.

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

12:30pm-2:30pm: Film Screening + Filmmakers Q&A

Rahway International Film Festival Short Films Presentation

 

Showcasing works that inspire empathy, equality, and awareness through film. With short films ranging from drama to comedy to documentary to animation, these films from all over the world will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think.

Film Lineup:

  1. "Tony & The Swordfish Tattoo" directed by Joe Kurek (NJ, USA)

  2. "Swan Lake" directed by Saeed Mayahy & Hamid Jamali (Iran)

  3. "Safety Net" directed by Andrew E. Rudd (OH, USA)

  4. "Alfred J. Hemlock" directed by Edward Lyons (Australia)

  5. "Standing Eight" directed by Brian Kazmarck (NJ, USA)

  6. "Concrete and Crashpads: Stunts in New York" directed by Stephen Koepfer & Matthew Kaplowitz (NY, USA)

 

Following the films, there will be a Filmmakers Q&A with the attending Directors, Crew, and Cast.  

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

3:00pm-5:00pm: Film Screening

 

Preceded by Short Film:

  • "Cup of Tea" directed by Jitendra Rai (India)

Rahway International Film Festival Feature Film Presentation: "Columbus" directed by Kogonada (California, USA).

Language: English / Korean

Genre: Drama 

Synopsis: When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho, "Harold & Kumar", "Star Trek" Series) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana - a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. Jin strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson, "Split", "The Edge of Seventeen"), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. As their intimacy develops, Jin and Casey explore both the town and their conflicted emotions: Jin's estranged relationship with his father, and Casey's reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother. "Columbus" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2017.

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

5:30pm-7:30pm: Film Screening + Filmmakers Q&A

Preceded by Short Films:

  • "Whining Low" directed by Sergio Zaciu (CA, USA)

  • "I Got You Babe" directed by Ashton Avila (CA, USA)

  • "Addle Strife" directed by Karl Ryan Erikson (NJ, USA)

Rahway International Film Festival Foreign Feature Documentary Presentation: "Return to Bosnia" directed by Wes Greene (Australia / Bosnia).

Language: English

Genre: Documentary

Synopsis: How could your neighbors turn into killers? 20 years after the brutal conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Australian academic and writer Damir Mitric, returns to his homeland in search of answers and his lost family.

Following the films, there will be a Filmmakers Q&A with the attending Directors, Crew, and Cast.

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

8:00pm-10:00pm: Film Screening + Filmmakers Q&A

 

Preceded by Short Films:

  • "Milk" directed by Winnifred Jong (Canada)

  • "Tiny Worlds" directed by Alexa Werrlein (NJ, USA)

Rahway International Film Festival Feature Film Presentation: "D-Love" directed by Elena Beuca (California, USA / Romania).

Language: English / Romanian

Genre: Drama 

Synopsis: A couple with longstanding marital issues lands at LAX after a getaway in Europe. For a few years now, Stefania (Elena Beuca, has been working a job she detests and Dan hasn't worked at all. Their palpable strain is only made worse when a Danish vagabond, asks for a ride to the busiest freeway in Los Angeles. Stefania doesn’t want to have anything to do with the wanderer, but her husband Dan, much to his wife's horror, offers to bring this total stranger to their home. 
How will this affect the couple? 
The director invites you on a 3-day journey, seen through Stefania’s eyes, to view and discover that desired change doesn’t always come in the package that we want or expect.

Following the films, there will be a Filmmakers Q&A with the attending Directors, Crew, and/or Cast. Elena Beuca, Director of "D-Love", will be flying in all the way from Los Angeles to attend!

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

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SUNDAY SCHEDULE:

SEPTEMBER 24, 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

11:00am-12:00pm

*Free Admission*

Rahway International Film Festival: Screenplay Competition Staged Readings


We will hold staged readings of the winning screenplays of this year's Screenplay Competition. The actors will consist of our Acting Monologue Competition winners.

Selected Screenplays:

  • "The Badge, The Gun, and the Hangman’s Noose" written by Edward Santiago

  • "Hell to Pay: The Legend of Robert Johnson" written by Giancarlo Fusi

  • "The List" written by Drew Novelli & Lauren Greenspan-Novelli

  • "The Knight and the Slacker written by Joe Territo

Honorable Mention:

  • "American Mother" written by Andrew Fleming

Acting Monologue Competition Winners:

  • Julian Masters

  • Na’im Shaw

 

This is a FREE ADMISSION event. However, we encourage you to register to RSVP! Donations will also accepted at the door.

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

12:30-2:30pm: Film Screening + Filmmakers Q&A

 

Preceded by Short Films:

  • "En Pointe" directed by Matthew Kaplowitz (NY, USA)

  • "Speechless" directed by Eben Skilleter (United Kingdom)

  • "Opal" directed by Jack Cook (NJ, USA)

  • "Parallax Dreams" directed by John Tuohy (NJ, USA)

  • "Filling In" directed by Bradley Hawkins (PA, USA)

Rahway International Film Festival Feature Documentary Presentation: "I Can't... I Have Rehearsal" directed by Maddie Orton (New Jersey, USA).

Genre: Documentary

Synopsis: For a select few, the high school musical is sacred. Every year those students come together for the Tonys of New Jersey high school musical theatre: The Rising Star Awards. But first, they have to get their shows off the ground. This is the story of six very different high schools from across New Jersey as they rehearse, perform and compete with the very same supercalifragilistic show.

Following the films, there will be a Filmmakers Q&A with the attending Directors, Crew, and Cast.  

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

3:00pm-5:00pm: Film Screening + Filmmakers Q&A

Rahway International Film Festival Short Films Presentation

 

Showcasing works that inspire empathy, equality, and awareness through film. With short films ranging from drama to comedy to documentary to animation, these films from all over the world will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think. 

Film Lineup:

  1. "Desde el Principio" directed by Miguel J. Soliman (NJ, USA)

  2. "He Said" directed by Tara Lynn Orr (CA, USA)

  3. "Swipe Right" directed by Kendall Goldberg (CA, USA)

  4. "Lilac Hair" directed by Annie Drew Casella (NJ, USA)

  5. "ToGetHer" directed by Mar de Luna (Peru)

  6. "Pyramus & Thisbe" directed by Laura Raud (Estonia)

  7. "Spot" directed by Jamie DiNicola (NY, USA)

  8. "Annie Waits" directed by Marnie Paxton-Harris (United Kingdom)

 

(Viewer discretion advised. This film block is rated "R". Includes films containing strong subject matter, drug use, nudity, sexual content, or violence. )

Following the films, there will be a Filmmakers Q&A with the attending Directors, Crew, and Cast.  

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

5:30pm-7:30pm: Film Screening + Filmmakers Q&A

Preceded by Short Films:

  • "Correlation" directed by Tyrik Washington (NY, USA)

  • "Angeltown" directed by Nancy Liu (CA, USA)

  • "Family Rewritten" directed by Yasmin Mistry (NY, USA)

Rahway International Film Festival Foreign Feature Presentation: "Torments of Love" directed by Jules Caroline (France).

Language: French

Genre: Drama

Synopsis: On an island off the coast of Guadeloupe, two sisters, Myriam and Vanessa, have planned to stay for a few days in the family house, where the sweet memory of their grandmother is still vivid. But Vanessa is not aware that a particular guest is expected for lunch and when she catches sight of their father coming, a cold and quiet man that she didn't want to see anymore, it is too late to escape the confrontation. Around the table, unsaid things, provocations and blunders will lead each individual to face their own ambiguous feelings.

Following the films, there will be a Filmmakers Q&A with the attending Directors, Crew, and Cast.

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

8:00pm-10:00pm: Film Screening + Filmmaker Q&A + Woman in Film Ceremony

Preceded by Short Film:

  • "Bare" directed by Michael Cannova (NY, USA)

Rahway International Film Festival Feature Documentary Presentation: "The Last Laugh" directed by Ferne Pearlstein (New York, USA).

Language: English

Genre: Documentary

Synopsis: The Holocaust would seem to be an absolutely off-limits topic for comedy. But is it? History shows that even victims of Nazi concentration camps used humor as a means of survival and resistance. Still, any use of comedy in connection with this horror risks diminishing the suffering of millions. So where is the line? If the Holocaust is taboo, what are the implications for other controversial subjects — 9/11, AIDS, racism — in a society that prizes freedom of speech? "The Last Laugh" offers fresh insights into these questions, with an intimate portrayal of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone alongside interviews with influential comedians and thinkers ranging from Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Jeff Ross (Comedy Central Roast Battle), Larry Charles (director of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat), and Gilbert Gottfried, to authors Etgar Keret and Shalom Auslander, plus Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. 

Following the film, there will be a Filmmakers Q&A with the attending Directors, Cast, and Crew.

 

Ticket price also includes the RIFF Woman in Film Ceremony honoring Ferne Pearlstein, Director of "The Last Laugh"

Join us afterwards at our Awards Ceremony at 10:30pm where we will be announcing and celebrating the winners of this year's Film Competition!

*All Gala tickets, Day, & Weekend passes include admission to the Opening Night After-Party. All festival tickets include free admission to the Sunday Awards Ceremony. Come join the fun!

**Planning on attending multiple film blocks? Save & buy a Saturday/Sunday All-Access Day-Pass! Available for Advanced Sale only, will NOT be sold at the door.

***For helpful information such as tickets, directions, parking, handicap access, and where to eat/stay, please visit our Attend page.

AWARDS CEREMONY

Sunday, September 24, 2017

10:30pm-11:00pm

The James Ward Mansion Atrium

Please join us in closing the festival weekend at our Awards Ceremony, where we will announce and present this year's awards as decided by our judges panel consisting of leading filmmakers in the local industry.

 

Attendees must show ANY ticket, pass, or program from the weekend for admission!

 

Click here to read our judges' biographies.

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Playing All Weekend during Opening Night Gala and Between Film Blocks

Six original music videos from around the world will be showcased throughout the festival during the Opening Night Gala and in between Film Blocks. They are separate from the Film Competition.

  1. Burning Fever - HERENGER (France)
  2. Elements - Krimson (AK, USA)
  3. Fix My Bail - The Black Sorrows (Australia)
  4. Hurricane - Raffaela ft. Chris Redd (CA, USA)
  5. Space Lover - REIGN-A (NV, USA)
  6. The Old Man - Indigorado (Norway)

Click the button below to watch these music videos and for more info on the music artists and filmmakers.

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MUSIC VIDEO SHOWCASE

 

FILM COMPETITION AWARDS

All feature and short films showcased at Rahway International Film Festival are entered into competition, unless noted as a special presentation. All eligible awards are listed below. 

 

Final award nominees are informed of their nominations prior to the festival. </