The big event started on Friday night with a Launch Party where 75 filmmakers, sponsors and friends mingled and celebrated at the Atlantic Highlands Arts Gallery. Press representatives were in attendance, including local educator and YouTuber Ryan Moore who is featuring FilmOneFest in his series about film festivals. “I grew up nearby and life guarded right up the beach, so I’ve been aware of the festival since I was a child,” he explained.
Robert O’Connor, the co-founder of FilmOneFest who stepped down last year, was honored at the Launch Party with the Community Service Award. “This award I hold in my hand should be so much bigger considering your immeasurable contributions, not only to FilmOneFest but to our town and to the world at large,” Thuss said as she presented the award to her long time collaborator.
“Ten years ago, I thought of a small way to bring the community together around the arts,” O’Connor remarked after the award was presented. “It was amazing to watch it grow into an international phenomena, but now I am gratified to see it continue on without me. I am always amazed at the talented people like Corinna who have helped it grow, and this year I see a lot of new faces who are doing great work. I would say it’s now truly a bonafide film festival. By that I mean filmmakers see FilmOneFest as a legitimate forum for their work and one that they now seek out instead of the other way around.”
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.