By Joyce Kaffel
PURCHASE TICKETS “Build it, and they will come” might have been the thought lurking in the minds of township residents Lynn Farscht and Alyssa Russo when six years ago, they had the idea to start a Millburn Film Festival. The two women were enjoying themselves at “Millburn Schools Rock,” a fundraising event for the Millburn/Short Hills Education Foundation. “We should start a film festival for the kids,” Lynn said to Alyssa, after both were spellbound by a terrific student-made rap video shown at the event.
Now, celebrating its fifth year as a result of the dedication of Film Fest Co-Chairs Farscht and Russo, the Millburn Film Festival is getting ready to roll once more, paving the way to the festival’s Red Carpet Premiere where the judges’ picks will be shown on April 1st at 7 p.m. at Millburn High School. An encore presentation will be held on April 6th at the Clearview Millburn Cinema at 11 a.m.
The Film Fest, also a fundraiser for the Education Foundation, is being sponsored on the Academy Award level by Karen Bigos and Daniel Cannizzo of Towne Realty Group and by the Gonnella Team on the Studio level.
All student film submissions are due by February 22nd. Students ranging from sixth to twelfth grade are welcome to submit their work with a limit of two submissions per student. The length of the film submissions ranges from three to fifteen minutes.
This year’s slate of jurors represents individuals from various professional backgrounds including those with high profile media experience. In order to serve as a festival judge, each juror must be either an alumnus of the Millburn school system or currently live in town. Many of them serve on the Millburn Advisory Arts Committee.
There are nine people on the judge’s bench this time around:
Actor John C. McGinley was raised in Millburn. Currently, he lives in L.A. with his family. He has most recently landed a role opposite Danny Glover in the romantic comedy, The Good Catholic. In addition, McGinley has completed production on the upcoming feature films, The Belko Experiment and Rounding Thir He’s played characters in over sixty films, such as Platoon, Wall Street, Nixon, and Highlander II. He executive produced and starred opposite John Cusack in HBO’s Western classic, The Jack Bull. McGinley is well known for his role as Dr. Perry Cox in the Emmy nominated comedy series, Scrubs. In theater, he was featured in Requiem for a Heavyweight, The Ballad of Soapy Smith, and Talk Radio. McGinley starred in Glengarry Glen Ross appearing with Al Pacino and Bobby Cannivale.
Chip Todd has lived in Millburn for the past 26 years. He’s a Broadcast Television Executive with NBC Universal in New York City. At this time, he is Vice-President in the Broadcast Network Operations department. His work involves coordination with the Broadcast Operations hub at NBC and actively communicating on-air plans as they unfold live with all 235 NBC stations across the country. As a Millburn resident, he has coached Millburn Little League and has served on the Millburn High School Basketball Booster Club.
All the following jurors serve on the Millburn Advisory Arts Committee:
Catherine Scorcese is a Millburn High School graduate. She attended NYU film school. Her background includes experience in children’s programming at the Children’s Television Workshop. Her love of children’s literature led her to executive produce The Elf on the Shelf, an Elf’s Story, an animated film that is becoming a Christmas movie tradition for the young at heart. She’s worked as a prop person and set decorator on Casino, The Sopranos, The Aviator, The Departed, Music and Lyrics, Shutter Island, Boardwalk Empire and many other productions. Now she’s working on Vinyl, a new HBO series to premiere on February 14th.
Laraine Brennan Barach is AAC Chairwoman. She has lived in the township and volunteered for many organization in the area for the past 41 years. Before she lived here, her career was in film and television production in New York. Eight years ago, she established the AP art scholarship with AAC member support. Laraine has collaborated with Martin Scorcese and Cathy Scorcese on industry projects and has worked at the New York Art Students League and Morris Museum. She is a former member of SAG, Aftra and Actors Equity.
Amy McGovern, AAC Vice- Chair is a public defender. She is currently studying multiple media under professional artist Anne Kullaf.
Donna Davis, AAC member, has lived in Millburn for the past 37 years. She has taken leadership roles in South Mountain School PTO/PTA and local Civic Association. Her interest in art has motivated her to serve on the committee.
Andrew Permison is a founding member of the AAC. He graduated from MHS and resides In Short Hills. Andrew is an art dealer and painter, and an avid art collector. He mentors young artists through his work on the Millburn Art Committee school programs.
Kathi Hecht has lived in Millburn for 25 years. She has a B.S. in Art Education. Kathi has taught many levels of art in after school programs locally. She was inspired to join the committee to promote art as an important part of students’ lives.
Victoria Plummer, AAC Publicity Chair, received an MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University. She’s worked as an editor for television and in the editing department for feature films. Victoria has recently been involved in bringing the Six Week Film Festival to the Millburn Library. She helped start the UFVA International Student Film Festival, now called NextFrame.
Judith Kramer is an attorney in Millburn and a town resident. She has currently been elected to the board of the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance, Art Advisory Committee and Senior Citizens Committee.
The judges are looking forward to viewing the creative works of Millburn students on the festival’s milestone fifth year.