South River resident debuts music video at film festival

Music notes

SOUTH RIVER – Singer Dennis Sy was proud to present his music video at the Garden State Film Festival, depicting every parent’s journey of accepting his/her child’s inevitable maturity.

Having lived in South River for 18 years, Sy said he co-wrote the song “Can She Stay” with lyricist Michael Peloso.

Dedicated to Peloso’s daughters, Sy said, “This hauntingly beautiful and bittersweet ballad relays a father’s most relatable fear of letting his child go out into the world, which most parents can relate to.”

Sy’s video was screened at the 16th Annual Garden State Film Festival on March 25 at the Asbury Park City Council Chambers.
“We are truly humbled and grateful to have our music video screened at this prestigious film festival right in our own backyard, New Jersey,” Sy said.
As the singer and co-writer of the song, Sy said he also portrayed the father in the music video. The music video was directed by Daryl Denner and produced by Mylz Tolentino, with Director of Photography Rodney Reyes.
“Together with Denner, Reyes and Tolentino, we wanted to create a music video that tugs at the hearts of every parent with a storyline that portrays a father’s relationship with his daughter as a child, as a teenager, and finally as a grown woman,” Sy said.
Sy said the entire video was filmed in one day due to the great planning of Denner, Reyes and Tolentino.
“The creative team, the entire cast and everyone on the production team are all talented individuals who approached our one-day shoot with professionalism and creative panache, that contributed to an amazing overall experience for everyone in the creation of the ‘Can She Stay’ music video,” Sy said.
Sy’s music video was placed in the music video category at the film festival but did not win, according to information provided by the Garden State Film Festival.
According to Sy, he will be celebrating 30 years in the music industry next year.
Sy said he has received a Grammy as a producer for Ted Nash’s album “Presidential Suite: Eight Variations On Freedom” for Best Jazz Ensemble Album in 2016 and most recently for Arturo O’ Farrill’s song “Three Revolutions” for Best Instrumental Composition in 2017.
“My ‘music education’ is from experience and collaboration with amazing artists, composers and songwriters through the course of almost 30 years of singing and making music,” Sy said.
Sy said his current projects include writing and recording new music for a Christmas album and composing music for two film projects. He is also working on new songs for his third solo album.
The Garden State Film Festival was born in 2002 after a chance encounter in a Sea Girt grocery store by film industry veteran Diane Raver and Hollywood actor Robert Pastorelli, according to co-founder and treasurer Diane Raver.
“I came home from New York City to raise my children with my husband and I realized two things were wrong: Asbury Park, my cultural mecca as a child, was in urban decay, and the state of New Jersey where the film business was born had no statewide celebration of the cinematic arts. Thus, the festival was born to remedy both,” Raver said.
According to Raver, the festival premiered in 2003 and was immediately deemed a huge success. Since then, thousands of films have made their public premieres, and hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have attended, according to a prepared statement from the organization.
“We have over a thousand entries. This year, 246 films were selected from the submissions to screen. We try to screen as many as we can depending on the venues available year to year,” Raver said.
 For more information about the Garden State Film Festival, visit
To watch “Can She Stay,” visit
Contact Vashti Harris at [email protected].