Montclair State University Film Forum Spring Series Announced

January 24, 2011—The fourth annual Montclair State University Film Forum features a diverse line-up of notable contemporary films and an opportunity to hear the filmmakers behind them discuss their work, their personal journeys in the film industry, and answer questions from the audience.   

The Spring 2011 series, which is sponsored by the Filmmaking Program of the College of the Arts, presents guest speakers and works of cultural, artistic, or political significance.

“We tried to get a wide range of people and a mix of independent filmmakers, technicians, and craft people in order to expose students to as many different kinds of films as are being made,” said Roberta Friedman, assistant professor in the Filmmaking Program.

The screening-and-discussion series is being offered as a three-credit elective course, but each of the 14 sessions is free, except for the Montclair Underdog Film Festival, and open to all students and the general public.  The weekly program is held on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in University Hall, Room 1040.

Kicking off the series on January 25 is the award-winning independent feature film Gabi on the Roof in July, an edgy character-driven ensemble comedy about young New Yorkers. Producer/editor/actor Sophie Takal and writer/director/actor Lawrence Michael Levine will be on hand.   

Emmy award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Jon Alpert will screen excerpts of his documentary, China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, on February 1.  The film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Short Subject category in 2009.

Independent filmmaker Abel Ferrara, known for such films as Pallbearers and The Bad Lieutenant, appears with cinematographer collaborator and Montclair State graduate Ken Kelsch on February 8.  Ferrara’s films, excerpts from which will be shown, often involve violence and revolve around crooked cops, psychotic killers, and victims bent on vengeance.

Casting director Ilene Starger, who has cast more than 30 films, including Night at the Museum (excerpts to be shown), will be featured on February 15.   Excerpts from the 2011 Black Maria Film + Video Tour, from the annual Black Maria + Video Film Festival’s cutting-edge contemporary works, will be shown on February 22.   A panel discussion entitled Distribution and Publicity Panel: Online Movie Delivery, with experts from Web channel Blip.tv, feature film distributors and others, is set for March 1.  On March 8, Michael Price, producer/writer of The Simpsons appears; episodes of the popular animated TV show will also be shown.

Future participants include writer/directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, of The Nanny Diaries, The Extra Man and American Splendor; West Coast experimental filmmaker Pat O’Neill; writer/director Robert Letterman, director of the animated features A Shark’s Tale and 3-D Gulliver’s Travels; and producer Linda Yellen.  Dates are to be determined.          

In a departure from the Film Forum’s regular Tuesday schedule, a full day of Oscar-nominated short films will be shown at the Montclair Underdog Film Festival on Sunday, February 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in University Hall, Room 1070.  Jointly sponsored by the Montclair Arts Council, and Montclair State’s Filmmaking Program and Department of Art and Design, the event will be divided into two sessions, one for documentaries and the other for animated shorts. Admission to one session is $10 and $15 for both sessions.