Two Hillsborough residents to screen films at Garden State Film Festival


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New Jersey’s Premier Independent Film Festival is celebrating its 22nd anniversary March 21 to 24. The internationally recognized Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) celebrates the independent film genre by bringing a carefully curated and enriching selection of original works from locally produced filmmakers as well as from around the world. 

“The upcoming 2024 Festival returns to experience 200 films from over 14 countries over four days in eight venues hosting parties, professional panels, events, special honors and more,” says Lauren Concar Sheehy, the festival’s executive director.

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The Garden State Film Festival offers several categories for films and filmmakers of all kinds. Among the selection include feature length and short films, documentaries, comedies, children’s, thrillers, pilots, student films and “Home-Grown” films shot in New Jersey.

Two Hillsborough residents – Anthony Truncale and Thomas Baldinger – have films that will screen in this year’s festival.

Truncale directed “At Odds,” which will screen on Sunday, March 24 at 9:15 a.m. at Berkeley Hotel, Kingsley Room.

The film’s subject: A high school student struggles with negative thoughts as he copes with the stress of life and school.

Truncale, a sophomore at The Pingry School, said he initially didn’t plan to submit the three-minute film to festivals.

“It was just that I had this really cool concept and I had a little bit of time to make it and it just went really smoothly,” he said.

Truncale filmed “At Odds” during a weekend in his room.

“At Odds” film

“The film is about the struggle with students being able to manage their workload and ambitions,” he said, adding the idea came to him after getting through a stressful week.

Baldinger, who has his own production company, 624 Productions LLC, has two films that will screen at the festival. The film “Scoundrel” will screen on Saturday, March 23 at 9 p.m. at Asbury Hotel, Asbury Hall in Asbury Park

The film’s subject: Music video of the hard rock, metal Muse band

In addition, the TV pilot film “UN$UITED” will screen on Saturday, March 23 at 6:15 p.m. at Berkeley Hotel, Kingsley Room also in Asbury Park.

The film’s subject: Greg makes the “bad” decision to walk away from his inheritance to become a professional poker player not knowing the tremendous risks and implications his decisions will have on him and his family and friends.

Baldinger said this will be the first time “UN$UITED” will be screened publicly. They have screened the film in private to those in the poker realm and are in the process of working with a distribution agency to turn pilot into a television series.

“It’s a project we are really proud of,” he said, noting they have already mapped out six seasons for the show.

Following 2023’s successful event, this year’s 22nd anniversary celebration, will include world premieres, celebrities, industry panels, parties, and networking, along with entertainment for all with special guest speakers on Saturday, March 23 at 9:30 a.m. in the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel Johnny and June Room.  

“The GSFF is action-packed and there is something for everyone,” founder Diane Raver said.

The weekend culminates with the Garden State Film Festival Awards Dinner event on Sunday evening, March 24, where this year’s honorees will be recognized, and Festival winners will be announced. 

For more information about this film and other programs, please visit

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