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Local filmmakers win praise during Indie Street Film Festival

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Following the conclusion of the second Indie Street Film Festival, festival organizers are planning to continue the event into 2018.

The event ran from July 26-30 in various locations in Red Bank, including Bow Tie Cinemas, the Two River Theater, the Red Bank Middle School and the Count Basie Theatre. In addition to screening independent films, the festival featured panel discussions, live art, cookouts, musical performances and a mural project.

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The festival concluded with an awards ceremony for the films screened, where artistic director Jay Webb confirmed that the event would return to Red Bank for a third consecutive year.

Films awarded at the ceremony were separated into five categories: narrative feature, documentary feature, narrative short, documentary short and animated short.

Selected by the festival’s jury as the Best Narrative Feature was “Like Me,” directed by Robert Mockler. While accepting the award and thanking the Indie Street team, Mockler noted the irony of creating a movie about the digital landscape in analog form.

The audience favorite for Best Narrative Feature was “Life Hack,” directed by Sloan Copeland. Copeland praised the atmosphere of the festival and also thanked his wife Jessica, who starred in the film.

“The atmosphere you have created is what film festivals should be like,” Copeland said.

Also screened as narrative features were “Beat Beat Heart,” directed by Luise Brinkman, and “The Ring Thing,” directed by William C. Sullivan.

The jury’s selection for Best Documentary Feature was “Unrest,” directed by Jennifer Brea. Other documentary features shown at the festival were “Barbecue,” directed by Matthew Salleh, “Hotel Coolgardie,” directed by Pete Gleeson and “Olancho,” directed by Chris Valdes and Ted Griswold.

Named as the Best Narrative Short by the jury was “Hold On,” directed by Christine Turner. The jury also selected the narrative short “Business,” directed by Kati Skelton, as Best Comedic Vision.

The audience favorite for Best Narrative Short was “Resolutions,” directed by Tamara Fisch.

“It was a thrill to share this with audiences,” said Fisch, who added that “Resolutions” was her first film. “I hope to make more.”

Best Documentary Short, as selected by the jury, was “Little Potato,” directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan M. Miller. Additionally, the jury gave a special award for Best Editing to the short documentary “Fish Story,” directed by Charlie Lyne.

Selected by the audience as the Best New Jersey Film was the short documentary “You will be Persecuted,” directed by Gerda Liebmann.

The winner of the jury’s selection for Best Animated Short was “Pussy,” directed by Renata Gasiorowska.

Alongside the films up for awards, four additional films were shown as special screenings: “Dave Made a Maze,” directed by Bill Watterson; “Coup D’Etat,” directed by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse and starring Michael Caine; “Person to Person,” directed by Dustin Guy Defa and starring Michael Cera; and “Polina,” directed by Valerie Muller and Angelin Preljocaj and starring Juliette Binoche.

Three shorts were also shown as special screenings on the final day of the festival.

“Frolic ‘N Mae,” a short narrative film that mixed live action with stop motion, was directed by Danny Madden and created by independent film company Ornana.

“Brothers,” a short documentary filmed entirely on an iPhone, was directed by New Jersey filmmaker Jack Ballo, who previously created “Destiny’s Bridge” about a homeless community in Lakewood. Ballo’s new film depicted two brothers from Sayreville living in the woods after struggling with alcoholism.

“Heart Brakers,” directed by Rodrigo Lopresti and starring Lopresti and Maayan Laufer, was filmed as the pilot episode for a planned television series.

“We’re so thrilled to have brought over 60 films from across the globe, in addition to live performance and art, to Red Bank for the second year,” festival producer Allyson Morgan said. “The audiences in Red Bank have been welcoming and enthusiastic, and our plans for the festival include continuing to engage even more of the community throughout 2018.

“Our film and event program was collaboratively designed and curated by our team and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive,” Morgan said. “We plan to continue making the Indie Street Film Festival a hub for independent creators for many more years to come.”

Contact Matthew Sockol at msockol@newspapermediagroup.com.

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