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Saturday, August 29, 2015

3:30pm-5:30pm: Screening + Filmmakers Q&A

Hamilton Stage


Rahway International Film Festival Short Films Presentation

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


Block #1 Lineup:

  • Ambitions (NJ, USA)

  • Life of Sarumomo (Japan)

  • Steh Auf (Get Up) (South Korea | Filmed in Germany)

  • My Fight at 50 (NY, USA)

  • Mercy's Blessing (Malawi, Africa)

  • Cleaning Up (VA, USA)


Following the short films, there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers & cast.


All festival tickets include free admission to the Saturday Lobby Networking Hour at 8PM, which will serve complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. All tickets also include admission to our Opening Night & Closing Night After-Parties, offering a complimentary light buffet and Happy Hour bar pricing. Come join the fun!


10% of ticket proceeds will be donated to the charities "Integrity House" & "National Alliance on Mental Illness".


Student Film


Short Narrative  |  Runtime: 10:36

Country of Origin: New Jersey, USA

Language: English

Synopsis: The story of a family who lives their lives the way they have to, but not exactly the way they want to. 


Director | Writer | Producer: Daniele Sestito (in attendance)

Daniele Sestito is a young, upcoming high school filmmaker raised in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Daniele creates fun, vivid, and thoughtful films as he constantly pushes his boundaries and continues to tell stories.

"Life of Sarumomo"


Short Animation  |  Runtime: 11:05

Country of Origin: Kyoto, Japan


Synopsis: A poor mother and her son live in a small house. After the mother dies of illness, the sad son meets a dear girl, but a war begins soon.


Director: Takumi Kawagoe

Takumi Kawagoe was born 1966 in Osaka, Japan. After graduating college, he has worked on creating cut scenes of several video games. "Life of Sarumomo" is his personal animated film.

"Steh Auf (Get Up)"


Short Narrative  |  Runtime: 24:39

Country of Origin: South Korea, Filmed in Germany

Language: Korean & German


Synopsis: Taeshik, a 26 years old German-born boy of Korean descent is in turmoil. Despite his Korean upbringing he doesn’t quite identify with the Korean way to be his parents had in mind for him. He remains adrift. His only passion is boxing. But his adversary in the boxring also seems too much to deal with.


Director: Seung-Hyun Chong

Seung-Hyun Chong is born in Germany, in 1975 in Germany, as a child from Korean parents, he went to grammar school in his native Aachen to then leave for Seoul, South Korea to study acting at the prestigious Dongguk University. 

Before graduating there he decided to return to Germany to study sports and divinity at The German University of Sports in Cologne and The University of Bonn. Filmmaking became an early vocation in his life. 

“Get up”, his last short movie, that is somehow an autobiographical quotation, excelled at a great number of festivals all over the world. Seung-Hyun is a secondary school teacher. He now works at the German School in Seoul. 

"My Fight at 50"


Short Documentary  |  Runtime: 19:23

Country of Origin: New York, USA

Language: English


Synopsis: After devoting her life to a career in biotechnology, 53-year-old VeraMae Volk struggles with the possibility of taking up work as a cashier to make ends meet. The film throws light on the emotional and financial implications of long-term unemployment for older workers.


Director: Deepashri Varadharajan (in attendance)

Deepashri Varadharajan is an engineer-turned-journalist based in New York City. She specialized in documentary filmmaking and business reporting at Columbia University and is currently working as a freelance production assistant at Al Jazeera America. Prior to joining Columbia, Varadharajan worked in print and online media in India, reporting on healthcare, child abuse and domestic social issues.

"Mercy's Blessing"


Short Narrative  |  Runtime: 30:00 

Country of Origin: Malawi, Africa

Language: English, Chichewa


Synopsis: In a rural village in the heart of Africa, a teenage boy named Blessings has a dream: to get his younger sister, Mercy, and himself out of poverty. But when a twist of fate shatters his hopes, everything seems lost. Is there always a choice?


Director: May Taherzadeh

May Taherzadeh is an award winning independent filmmaker who has directed films across 6 continents. May was born in the UK, grew up in Malawi, is ethnically Iranian and currently lives in the Netherlands. "Mercy’s Blessing" marks May’s debut in Short Fiction.  

"Cleaning Up"


Short Narrative  |  Runtime: 7:34

Country of Origin: Virginia, USA

Language: English


Synopsis: Max the Janitor has some peculiar adventures while performing his duties overnight at an office building. And they tend to get even more ridiculous when he thinks no one is watching!


Director | Co-Writer | Producer: Lew Fraga

Lew has produced and directed numerous independent films and web series in the Richmond/DC area. He also runs his own photography/video studio, working with many famous brands and having ads in many national magazines.   


Co-Writer | Producer | Lead Actor: Greg Crowe (in attendance)

While this is his first time on the production end of things, Greg has acted in many independent films, including many for the 48-Hour Film Project in various cities over the years. He's even done a little television - you may remember him as the Weird Guy in a Boat on a recent episode of HBO's "VEEP."      



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