The 9th annual Atlantic City Cinefest opens Oct. 14 at Dante Hall Theater with the East Coast premiere of “Bad Frank,” featuring 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 PeterDobson producing. The film, made entirely in New Jersey, centers on Frank Pierce (Interdonato), who leads a seemingly normal life as a construction worker, but when a disturbing past re-emerges and something precious is taken from him – his wife (Amanda Clayton) - his mask of sanity loosens and unearths the urge to be violent once again.
"A kickass kidnap gripper...nastily entertaining" says joblo.com in its review.
"We are very excited that `Bad Frank’ has been selected as the opening film at the AC Cinefest,” says Germinario. “`Bad Frank’ was filmed in Jersey and most of the cast and crew are Jersey Strong, so we're looking forward to being part of a great festival in our home state."
Dobson, a former festival honoree, also stars in and produced the short, “The Demo,” which precedes “Bad Frank.” Emma Strange, a frustrated actress with a desperate need for stardom takes things into her own hands and enlists her lonely neighbor Ray Nelson (Dobson) into kidnapping Hollywood's celebrity elite to give her the greatest acting reel the town has ever seen. Ultimately they succumb to each other’s dark side and find themselves on a twisted journey to fame.
"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, which continues through Oct. 16 at Dante Hall and the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University, will screen more than 50 films of all types, including the action thriller, “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.”
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," festival reviewer Jennifer E. Smith says.
The film stars Tony-winner, Alice Ripley and SAG-winner, Robert Clohessy, who won an award from the Cinefest in 2014 and 2015.
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: A Boyband Story” and “Hang On Sloopy: The Movie” are two musical docs.
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.
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.
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