Garden State Film Festival to Bring the Stars to Asbury Park, Cranford

The Garden State Film Festival is set to kick off this Friday night (March 22) with a gala reception at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park with a full lineup for its 22nd anniversary edition in 2024, featuring The Martini Shot starring John Cleese and Matthew Modine, SWIPE NYC starring Lisa Edelstein, and “American Royalty,” a documentary film that takes a deep dive looking into the Miss America pageant directed by John Daniel Fisher and Stephen Andrew Fisher.

Other highlights include Don Q directed by Claudio Bellante and starring Armand Assante, Federico Castelluccio, Saundra Santiago, Vincent Pastore, and Chuck Zito,

This year’s festival, which will run from March 21-24, will be spread out throughout Asbury Park and Cranford, showcasing over 200 films from 14 countries in eight venues. The festival is a celebration of diversity, creativity, and the art of storytelling, with a variety of films, engaging panels, live podcasts, and attendees Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), Armand Assante (Gotti), Lisa Eldelstein (Girlfriends Guide to Divorce), Bridget Moynahan (Blue Bloods), Ed Begley Jr. (Pineapple Express), Jim Cramer (Mad Money), Richard Schiff (Black Panther Wukunda), Federico Castelluccio (The Sopranos), MMA’s Louis Neglia, UFC’s Joe Pyfer, and more.

The festivities commence with a “Meet the Filmmakers” cocktail party and include a Gala Cocktail Reception, the red-carpet premiere of “The Martini Shot,” and a screenplay reading of “The Dude Is Legit!”

The Awards Dinner on March 24 is an event honoring this year’s distinguished guests, with Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach serving as the Honorary Chair. Other honorees include Carla Raij, recognized for her exceptional work in film, David Diianni as Educator of the Year, Rising Star recipient Sophia Lucia Parola, and photographer Tom Zapcic, the 2024 MVP.

The GSFF offers several categories for films and filmmakers of all kinds. The Hometown Documentary Series was created by the GSFF, Artists Alike Studios, the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission, and the New Jersey School Boards Association with the winner receiving a $500 prize from the NJSBA to the school the student attends. The High School film blocks screen on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24th at the Berkeley.

There are $250.00 prizes sponsored by UARTS [University of the Arts] for the following two categories: the best Home Grown High School and Younger Film & Home Grown Animation High School Animation.

“GSFF is proud to assist in providing advocacy and support to advance public education. We believe in the transformative power of arts education to substantially improve children’s lives and academic outcomes, and prepare them for 21st-century careers,” said executive director Lauren Concar Sheehy.

“GSFF has high school and younger categories,” she continued, “which many families and grandparents attend to celebrate their child’s achievement and to explore the career and technology resources we offer. It’s a great way to get a better understanding of your filmmaker’s passion and the opportunities that are available to them.”

For tickets and movie screening schedules, click HERE.

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