Even record high temperatures couldn’t deter the crowds who gathered for the 11th Annual FilmOneFest held at the Atlantic Highlands Marina. More than 1,000 viewers attended.
The event kicked off on a high note at 6:00 p.m. with musical accompaniment from local acoustic duo, Double A, as food trucks opened for business amid picnic tables. Several non-profits were in attendance, including the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council who sponsors FilmOneFest. A henna painter turned sweaty hands into works of art, and the mood was celebratory despite temperatures in the 90s.
New Jersey band Zoochie was up next with original songs highlighting stellar lead vocals. Emcees Jon Crowley and Marie Jackson, provided introductions and background information for the crowd. Crowley, famous for shows such as “Impractical Jokers,” had flown in a few hours earlier to assure that he was on hand to continue his record of emceeing every FilmOneFest to date.
Musical entertainment was capped off with headliner Cranston Dean Band, named for the Atlantic Highlands native at the helm. His originals are a local mainstay and the 45-minute set was well received as the crowd swelled and people filled in lawn chairs that had been set in place as early as 7:00 a.m.
A total of 43 films were selected for the screening from a field of 2,350 from over 100 countries. Winners of the 24-Hour Film Slam and FilmYoungFest student competition, were automatically included.
In addition to Judges’ Choice Awards chosen by each of the seven judges—Jon Crowley, Holland Farkas, Johnny Grasso, Susan Littenberg, Robert O’Connor, Gedney Webb and Victor Zak— “Imagine” by Keegan Larwin was chosen as the top film for the Gartenberg Memorial Award with a $250 prize named in memory of co-founder Julie Gartenberg.
Audience members voted live by phone for their favorite film, honoring local filmmaker Mike Boylan with the $100 Audience Choice Award for "Come Here Often?" which also won the Victor Zak Jury Award.
Several filmmakers in attendance were invited onto the stage for recognition. “Filmmakers were telling me how they love our event because we make them feel so special and appreciated,” Thuss said. Swedish Filmmaker Ramon Arango who won the Holland Farkas Jury Award for ‘Rudolph” couldn’t thank us enough.”
Thuss remarked on the high quality of movies this year. “The audience feedback for the films was amazing,” she said, particularly noting the three-part alien story created as interstitials for the event by locals The Bagsville Initiative. “Our new collaborator 5-Second Films submitted seven films that were a huge hit!”
The crowd stayed hydrated with cold beverages that had been donated by PepsiCo. “We always appreciate Pepsi, but especially this year,” said Janet Peterson as she set up coolers with ice in the VIP area.
2019 Judges Choice Awards
Atlantic Highlands can be reached by car, train or ferry. Seastreak, a ferry service from Manhattan, is available to Atlantic Highlands Monday through Friday and to Highlands on weekends. From Highlands, Atlantic Highlands is easily reached by taxi or a lovely walk along the Henry Hudson Trail.
For more information on things to see and do in Atlantic Highlands go to: ahnj.com.
FilmOneFest is a project of the AHAC, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The mission of the Arts Council is to strengthen community through the arts. For more information, go to www.aharts.org.