During the weekend of August 11th to 13th, I had the opportunity to intern at the Monmouth Film Festival in Red Bank, New Jersey. The three-day festival consisted of many short films, a few full-length feature films, an industry panel, a few question and answer sessions, and an awards ceremony to close out the festival Sunday night.
While this year was only the second year for the Monmouth Film Festival, I think it’s quickly turning into a force to be reckoned with. This year, one of the full-length feature films which played Saturday night called Lemon was sent in by Magnolia Pictures, and the movie had many actors that people might actually recognize. However, the other films were nothing less than amazing. The other films ranged from international short films to student films to films from all over the country.
Friday night kicked off the festival with a classy networking event for filmmakers and VIPs. Many film festivals do not include networking events, but, similar to Monmouth Film Festival founder Nicholas Marchese, I felt that networking events are crucial to film festivals because they allow filmmakers to mingle with other people in their space and find out what kinds of projects others are working on.
Saturday and Sunday both consisted of blocks where short films were shown, as well as presentations of feature length films. My personal favorite short film and the winner of the best foreign short film award was a Polish film titled Matka (Mother). Matka is based on true events which took place in 1943 and 1944 in a town called Legionowo, near Warsaw. In this short film, Nazi German officers seize a house where a family of four lives.
Saturday evening consisted of an industry panel. The industry panel consisted of television executives, movie editors, film lawyers, actors, officials from the NJ Film Comision, and more. The panel had a lot of useful advice on everything related to producing films from how to protect your story from being stolen to how students can get jobs in the industry to how to get your movie on streaming sites and much more. As a student, the most useful thing I learned from the panel was that legally an internship either has to be paid or for college credits, so in order to increase my chances of getting an internship, I should ensure I could receive college credits for it.
Just before awards were given out Sunday night was the most anticipated feature film of the entire weekend. The film called Shooting Clerks, which was produced by a team from Scottland, is the story of the shooting of a film from 1994, by Red Bank Native Kevin Smith, called Clerks. Shooting Clerks goes behind the scenes to show the true story of how Kevin Smith, with maxed out credit cards and the help of those around him created his first ever film Clerks with just $27,000.
Overall, the Monmouth Film Festival was a great experience. Never have I heard of a film festival with such dedication to helping filmmakers and VIPs network. Throughout Saturday and Sunday, there was a special room just for filmmakers and VIPs so they could mingle. I was able to learn a lot by watching the Industry panel on Saturday and by networking with filmmakers throughout the weekend. If you have a chance to attend the Monmouth Film Festival next year I would highly suggest you attend. The festival improved greatly from the first year to the second year, and I can assure you that next years lineup will be nothing short of amazing.