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12:30PM - 2:30PM


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 from the films. 

*All festival tickets & day passes include free admission to the Opening Night After-Party & 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.

"Tony & the Swordfish Tattoo"


Short Documentary  |  Runtime: 13:00

Country of Origin: New Jersey, USA

Language: English

Synopsis: Tony Campi, a recreational fisherman, tried for his entire fishing life to catch a single swordfish, but to no avail... until the summer of his 80th birthday when he finally achieved his goal, commemorating it by keeping a lifelong promise that if he ever caught a swordfish, he would get a swordfish tattoo.


Director: Joe Kurek (in attendance)

Joe Kurek is an American born filmmaker and writer from New Jersey. He is best known for co-writing the award winning short films Blood Country (2012) and The Graveyard Shift (2012) as well as his short documentary work, in addition to his originative, provocative avant-garde film works. He is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts in New York City.

Co-Writer | Co-Producer: Mike Taffuri

Mike Taffuri is an independent film producer and founder of HMP Productions, LLC based out of New Jersey. Through thirty years of experience in the financial services industry, he has extensive experience in cost control and P&L management, and is an alumni of NYU’s school of business where he received his Bachelors Degree. in addition to aiding the development of feature film projects, he has acted as the Executive Producer on a number of short films and is most known for producing the short documentary Tony & the Swordfish Tattoo (2017) under his HMP Productions label.

Co-Producer: Jessica Kurek

Jessica Kurek is a graphic designer and photographer located in New Jersey. She has worked with the post-production team at Michael Kors in New York City, alongside vendors for retouching and with the creative department. She was honored by the art deptartment with the award for most outstanding BFA in Graphic Design from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. She is also creatively known for her cinematography work and graphic design on the short documentary Tony & the Swordfish Tattoo (2017).

"Swan Lake"


Short Animation |  Runtime: 9:33

Country of Origin: Iran

Language: Iranian

Genre: Romance

Synopsis: A story of two swans who fall in love in a place called "Swan Lake".


Co-Director | Co-Producer: Saeed Mayahy

Born in Bushehr, Iran and started his work about 8 years ago as director and editor. Swan Lake is his fifth work so far.

Co-Director | Co-Producer: Hamid Jamali

Born in Bushehr, Iran and started his career about 10 years ago as VFX supervisor and animator. Swan Lake is his second work.

Writer: Farzad Ahmadi

Born in Nur Abad, Iran and developed his career as a writer . Swan Lake is his first work as Animation.

"Safety Net"

*East Coast Premiere*

Short Narrative |  Runtime: 17:24

Country of Origin: Ohio, USA

Language: English

Genre: Drama

Synopsis: How far would you go to hold on to the American Dream? This short narrative film follows Jerry Harris, a 35 year old black man, as he tries to save his home from foreclosure just before his wife gives birth to their first child.


Director | Writer | Producer: Andrew Rudd (in attendance)

Andrew Rudd has taught about story, media and film at a little Quaker University in Canton, Ohio for almost two decades. He works on scripts and films whenever middle age allows. The development of SAFETY NET was inspired during a collaborative gallery show that paired a portrait painter, a documentary filmmaker (Rudd) and nine strangers telling stories about perceptions. One anecdote grew into two scripts (one short and one feature length) that focus on the question: How far would you go to hold on to the American Dream?

Producer: Emily Hisey (in attendance)

The filmmakers will be travelling in from Ohio to attend the film festival!


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"Alfred J Hemlock"


Short Narrative |  Runtime: 14:08

Country of Origin: Australia

Language: English

Genre: Fantasy/Horror/Comedy

Synopsis: When Emily’s boyfriend abandons her in the night, her only way home is through an alleyway where she is terrorised by the mysterious entity Alfred J Hemlock. After reaching the depths of her despair she finds the strength that she never suspected she had.


Director | Co-Writer | Producer: Edward Lyons 

Edward started his career as an actor, graduating from the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts. He went on to obtain a degree in English from Sydney University and a Master of Media Arts and Production from the University of Technology, Sydney. His first short film, 'Can I Call You', premiered at the Academy Award ® Qualifying Chicago International Film Festival and was sold for distribution to ‘Fangoria’ magazine. He went on to write and direct the short films ‘Delusion’ (2012), ‘Thylacoleo’ (2013) and ‘Puncture’ (2013). At this time the Australian Writers’ Guild honoured him with an AWGIE nomination for his short screenplay ‘Drive-By’. His previous short film, ‘A Man On The Edge’ (2014), played in over 50 international film festivals, winning him awards for both directing and editing.

Co-Writer | Co-Producer: Melissa Lyons

Having been awarded a scholarship by world-renowned horror author Stephen King, Mel graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Creative Writing. Arriving in Australia in 2008, she started working on films in various roles including production manager, stills photographer, research and development, script editor, promotion and distribution. Shorts Mel has worked on include “Thylacoleo”, “Puncture” and the award winning “A Man On The Edge”.


Co-Producer: Lucas Newton

Lucas is an accomplished editor and a highly regarded Visual Effects Artist with a broad range of knowledge within his field. He has worked on numerous award-winning independent short and feature films as well as international productions. Recent credits as a VFX artist include "Gods of Egypt" and "Alien: Covenant". "Alfred J Hemlock" is his second foray into the wonderful world of producing.


Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

"Standing Eight"


Short Narrative |  Runtime: 20:46

Country of Origin: New Jersey, USA

Language: English

Genre: Drama

Synopsis: After being diagnosed with Systemic Lupus, Dusty Abrams is forced to retire from professional boxing just prior to the biggest fight of his career. Though his wife fully supports him, he’s wrought with despair by the idea of never being able to step into the ring again. His feelings are compounded when his would-be opponent begins trolling him for backing out of their match. This leads to the inevitable climax where Dusty decides to face his demons head-on.


Director: Brian Kazmarck

Brian Kazmarck is a New Jersey native. He’s written and directed numerous film projects. His first feature film “Terminal Legacy” was also a collaborative effort with Kazy Tauginas. Brian currently has several projects making their rounds on the festival circuit.

Writer | Producer: Kazy Tauginas (in attendance)

Kazy Tauginas grew up outside of Chicago. He is a former restauranteur (owned a 24 hr diner) and Golden Gloves boxer who decided to pursue his true dream and become an actor. He wrote “Standing Eight” as a way to raise awareness for lupus - a debilitating auto immune disease which has deeply effected his family.

Producer: Louis Peduto

Louis Peduto has been involved in the film industry since the age of 19. He has been seen in feature films and TV pilots over the years but in late 2010 he decided to move behind the camera and become a film producer. He has helped produce feature films with his most recent titled The Lennon Report which can now be found on Amazon and VOD.



"Concrete and Crashpads: Stunts in New York"


Short Documentary |  Runtime: 30:00

Country of Origin: New York, USA

Language: English

Synopsis: 'Concrete and Crashpads - Stunts in New York' is a documentary film that offers a glimpse into the invisible world of New York's booming stunt community. The life of a stunt performer is lived in the shadows, without fanfare or recognition. This film peeks into the lives of some of the men and women who put their bodies and lives on the line, or aspire to do so, for an audience that may not know they even exist.


Co-Director | Co-Producer: Stephen Koepfer 

Stephen is a lifelong New Yorker, martial artist, filmmaker and Stunt Performer. He served as a martial arts adviser for television's Human Weapon, Dhani Tackles the Globe and as a Stunt Performer, Stephen has been fortunate enough to work on John Wick: Chapter Two, NBC's The Blacklist and Netflix's The Punisher. His inauguration as a Producer came in 2011 with the acclaimed feature documentary New York Mixed Martial Arts. In 2014 Stephen was a producer on Matthew Kaplowitz's award winning feature documentary Girl Fight: A Muay Thai Story.Concrete and Crashpads: Stunts in New York is Matthew and Stephen's first directorial collaboration.

Co-Director | Co-Producer: Matthew Kaplowitz (in attendance)

In 2009, Matthew started, a news website dedicated to combat sports with a focus on video production, which has become a reliable source for information & entertainment. In 2012, Matthew became a Production Assistant with Original Media, where he worked on the weekly live Spike TV sports talk show, MMA Uncensored Live. Later, he became an Associate Producer at Matador Content and worked on over a dozen shows for Spike TV including Frank Shamrock: Bound by Blood, several documentaries in the Unrivaled series, pay-per-view specials and the Rampage 4 Real reality series. In 2014 Matthew produced, directed, shot and edited his first independent feature documentary, Girl Fight: A Muay Thai Story, which went on to become an Official Selection at over a dozen festivals nationwide and win Best Editing of a Feature at the 2015 Rahway International Film Festival.



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