The 9th annual Atlantic City Cinefest will present more than 50 feature, short and documentary films, Oct. 14 to 16. The film festival will serve up a mix of comedy, drama, horror and science fiction, many from New Jersey filmmakers.
As with last year, films will be screened in the resort's Arts District at Dante Hall Theater and the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University, both on Mississippi Avenue.
The festival opens with the East Coast premiere of “Bad Frank,” starring Howell, New Jersey's Kevin Interdonato, Tom Sizemore and last year's honoree, Brian O'Halloran, also from New Jersey. First time director, Mendham’s Tony Germinario, wrote the drama, with Red Bank's Peter Dobson producing. The film, made entirely in New Jersey, centers on Frank Pierce, who leads a seemingly normal life, but when a disturbing past re-emerges and something precious is taken from him, his mask of sanity loosens and unearths the urge to be violent once again.
Dobson stars in and produced the short, “The Demo,” which precedes “Bad Frank.”
"The Atlantic City Cinefest is one of the most prominent festivals on the East Coast," Dobson says. "It is in honor to be part of 2016 festival along with so many great filmmakers from across the country.”
The festival will screen the powerful documentary, “Changing Hands,” from Philadelphia native, Scott L. Schwartz, who played Bruiser in “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen.” Schwartz will also receive a Lifesaver Award. “I'm still just a little ole boy from Philadelphia,” Schwartz says. “It is my pleasure and honor to be recognized by the Atlantic City Cinefest. As a child, my family used to spend summer at the Jersey Shore and now I have a chance to return in a bigger capacity than I ever imagined.”
Another Lifesaver Award honoree this year, Blanche Baker, will host a Saturday night screening of the cult classic, John Hughes' “Sixteen Candles.” Baker, daughter of Oscar-nominated actress Carroll Baker, plays Ginny, Molly Ringwald's older sister.
The festival will feature plenty of regional talent. Keith Vaile returns with the feature length, “Kidnapped” and two shorts. Pat Kazanjian also returns with the feature “Odd Crows.” Rachel Albanese presents “Lost and Found.” Among other New Jersey filmmakers: Sebastian Foxworth’s three shorts; C.J. Cullen's comedy short, “Marathon Mouth,” Mark Clauberg's “Hotel,” Maurice Paramore's “The Kill Club,” Stuart Connelly’s “Bloodletting,” Donna Hernandez’ “Crossing Blood Lines” and Larry Rosen’s “Surviving the Outbreak.”
LGBT documentaries include A.J. Mattioli's “Words,” along with “Cherry’s In Season.” “Larger than Life” and “Hang On Sloopy” are two musical docs.
The well-received film, “Sugar!” closes out the festival at Dante Hall on Oct. 16. "The message of believe in one's self was strong. Following one's dreams is a theme that never gets old," reviewer Jennifer E. Smith says.
The film stars Tony-winner, Alice Ripley and SAG Award winner, Robert Clohessy, who won an award from the Cinefest in 2014 and 2015.
For more details, visit atlanticcitycinefest.org. Tickets are $40 for a Weekend Pass; $25 for a day pass and $5 for a single block of films. Purchase them at the door, through www.atlanticcitycinefest.org or through Stockton University at www.stockton.edu/dante. Tickets go on sale by mid-month.
Atlantic City Cinefest celebrates the art form of independent moviemaking. The festival has hosted Kevin Smith, Terry Winter, Robert Downey, Sr., Scott Rosenfelt, William Forsythe, Dominique Swain and Brian O'Halloran during the first eight years. Presented by Downbeach Film Festival, the Cinefest shows movies at Dante Hall Theater, 14 N. Mississippi Avenue and the Noyes Arts Garage, 2200 Fairmount Avenue. Both venues are managed by Stockton University.