Montclair, New Jersey’s annual film festival is a local community film festival that began in May 2012. The festival brings attention to filmmakers from all over the world while also drawing attention to the culture, traditions, and history of the Township of Montclair and its communities. The Montclair Film Festival was the 2012 recipient of the Discover Jersey Arts 2012 People’s Choice Awards for favorite film festival. According to the Discover Jersey Arts website, “the Montclair Film Festival exists to nurture and showcase the talents of filmmakers from around the world. The annual festival creates a cultural focal point in the Township of Montclair that unites, empowers, educates and celebrates our region’s diverse community and robust artistic heritage.”
Over the course of one week, the 2013 film festival took place at seven different venues within the community and attracted more than 14,000 attendees, twice as many as the amount of attendees at the inaugural film festival in 2012. Last year’s film festival screened more than 80 films, many of which were either world or New Jersey premieres, a dramatic improvement from the 45 films screened during the 2012 film festival.
In a 2013 Montclair Times article, the paper stated, “If last year’s inaugural Montclair Film Festival was like an indie hit, then this year’s outing is a glossy sequel. The 2013 Montclair Film Festival return engagement is longer, larger and broader in scope.”
The 2013 festival lineup included A Girl and A Gun, a documentary which explores how women relate to guns and gun culture, Blackfish, a film which further looks into the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by an Orca whale, Love Is All You Need, a romantic comedy which chronicles the life of a woman trying to manage her life with breast cancer and an adulterous husband, and Kid Shortz, a contest for filmmakers in grades 4-12.
In addition to the screened films by up and coming filmmakers, the film festival provided attendees with the chance to view some of the most popular films of the year followed by post screening discussions with a variety of guests ranging from directors and producers to actors. The film festival receives many prominent guests each year. Past celebrity visitors include filmmaker Michael Moore, rapper and actor Ice-T, and singer Harry Belafonte.
The 2014 Montclair Film Festival will take place between April 28 and May 4. The lineup for this year’s festival has yet to be announced on the festival’s website.