Rutgers students launch new film festival for aspiring creators
The Monmouth Film Festival, an event created and run by Rutgers, will soon offer a platform for independent filmmakers to gain exposure and network with other artists, press and industry professionals after it launches later this week for its inaugural season, according to their website.
The festival will be held at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, N.J. from Dec. 16 to 18 and will feature several award-winning feature films, shorts and screenplays.
“The festival will be run in blocks throughout the weekend that we are holding it,” said Georgia Muchen, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, in an email. "We have many interns working with us to make the festival run as smoothly as possible."
The festival provides internship opportunities for college and high school students with an interest in all aspects of the industry including programming, marketing and production, according to their website.
The festival lends a hand to many new filmmakers taking their first steps in the industry. They strive to create an atmosphere where all levels of film-making, including high and low budget pieces, can be seen and heard, according to their website.
“The Monmouth Film Festival is a film festival for filmmakers, by filmmakers," Muchen said.
The filmmakers involved have an interest in film and know that the process is not always as easy as it seems, she said.
Among the films in the lineup is the feature film “Swim Team," which shows the rise of a competitive swim team composed of autistic teenagers, and trained with high expectations and zero pity, according to their website.
“So, all in all, we wanted to make this a film festival that everyone can submit a film to. That's how the idea came about," Muchen said. “My major doesn't even involve film ... I mean, I'm a biology major. With that being said, our main goal is to make sure that everyone knows we're accepting and open to almost any film."
In addition to the films, there will be an industry panel where independent creators can ask questions to established professionals on how to succeed in the industry and progress their careers, according to their website.
The festival's creators are not looking for any one specific audience, but rather want anyone to be able to watch the different movies being screened, Muchen said.
"We are holding an arm out to filmmakers, but the field of filmmakers isn't limited to one specific category," she said.
Panelists include Emmy Award Nominated anchor Bryan Denovellis, Associate Director for the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission David Schoner and New York Film Critics Series Producer Mark Ehrenkranz.
“Future students and alumni can join our team or even submit to the festival for next year,” Muchen said. “We are 100 percent open and we want people to submit their films to us or become involved in any way."
The festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies heavily on sponsorships and donations.
The festival currently partners with iPitch.tv, the New York Film Critics Series, and Pilla Creative Marketing.
“MFF guides artists of all caliber, creating an extraordinary chance for them and their work to shine”, said Communications Director Lea Ruwaldt, according to their website. “To me it’s about making that black sky bright again for those who have a passion for stargazing and constructing a constellation of talented filmmakers.”
Sharbel Skaff is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in exercise science. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.