Tag Archives: movie

garden state film festival

#HipNJ Visits the Garden State Film Festival

By: Jessica Schirripa

This weekend was way more than just ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’ It was the 17th annual Garden State Film Festival, which is a movie buff’s ticket to an inside look of the magic of cinema, all while paying tribute to New Jersey’s legacy as the birthplace of American film-making.

Held at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, the GSFF is one of the largest celebrations of the arts throughout the state of New Jersey. To be a part of this premier statewide initiative is to be a part of one of the most respected independent film festivals along the East Coast.

The vision of this film festival has blossomed into a renowned event that serves as a platform for both the filmmakers and the enthusiasts. It breeds creativity and passion, and even generates huge revenue for New Jersey’s very own city of the arts, Asbury Park, through storefront merchants and other associations at large!

Filled with ‘Best of Fests’, award ceremonies, celebrity guest appearances and overwhelming community support, this edition of the film festival proved to be one of the busiest and most impressive productions to date. Throughout the five day, ten venue commemoration, there were over 240 international films showcased. It also provided hands-on creative workshops open to the public, casting calls, back to back Q & A panels with the actors and filmmakers, non-stop after-parties, and more!

While attending Friday evening’s kick-off gala, the energy pulsated throughout the convention center. I was greeted with flashing lights, red carpets, and wall- to-wall local sponsors highlighting their own crafted foods, sweet treats and specialty services. It was neat to see the casts and crews of the movies, media and committee mixing and mingling the night away. It was the perfect way to experience Hollywood’s glitz & glam right off the boardwalk, especially since Asbury Park has been profoundly impacted by the Garden State Film Festival. In fact, the GSFF has played a leading role in the transformation from a city in urban decay into what is now referred to as “one of the coolest towns in America”. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who was one of the many A-List attendees, was beaming with Garden State pride as he watched all who have been captivated by cinematic adventure. 

Aside from the dedicated board of directors, an army of volunteers, and everyone involved in the creation of these films, there was a legion of intense super-fans who were treated to complimentary trolley rides and parking. This was a nice touch to help treat those who attended the festival from beyond the Jersey Shore

The best part about the success of this weekend’s Garden State Film Festival was that it was an opportunity to be inspired and inspire others. A festival like this provides eager filmmakers an avenue to reach new audiences and be recognized for their skills and hard work. Even though there is the element of competition throughout the showcase, everyone is there to encourage each other and motivate other budding talent to go for their dreams!

For more information, visit GSFF.org.

chuck wepner

#HipNJ Speaks With Chuck Wepner (HipNJ Exclusive)

#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino had the opportunity to speak with former heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner, who is known as the inspiration for the Rocky movies.

“I lived in Bayonne all my life, and I liked to play sports a lot,” the Jersey native says of his upbringing. Wepner got out of US Marine Corps in 1959 and joined Golden Gloves tournament in New York. He became a Golden Gloves heavyweight champion, a first for anyone from New Jersey. “The rest is history,” he states.

Wepner’s career took off quickly, as he went from training in a gym in Bayonne to travelling all over the world. He fought in England, Tokyo, Puerto Rico and more. “I didn’t try to dodge anybody,” he says on never turning down a fight.

In 1975, Wepner fought Muhammad Ali. “That was the only fight I ever trained for full-time,” he says. “I gave my best shot, but I just wasn’t good enough to beat Muhammad Ali.” The fight, which lasted fifteen rounds, changed his life forever. “After the fight, the world changed for me,” Wepner says. He went into the fight as an underdog, and came out of it as a respected heavyweight.

Shortly after, Wepner retired as the oldest guy in the heavyweight division. To this day, Wepner remains in good health. “There aren’t too many guys left from my era,” he says. Wepner, on the other hand, still goes to the gym. “I consider myself pretty lucky to be in the good condition that I’m in at this age.”

Over the years, Hollywood has taken an interest in Wepner’s story. He provided inspiration for Rocky, and ESPN aired a documentary titled “The Real Rocky” in 2011. “You have to keep yourself alive,” he states. He has done just that, as his fight with Ali is still a topic of conversation.

About a month before Rocky came out, Wepner received a call on which he was told that Sylvester Stallone had written a movie inspired by him. He was invited to see the film, which went on to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

Chuck is a new film featuring Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts and Elisabeth Moss that tells Wepner’s story. He was extremely involved in the production, from casting to going through scripts. The film is currently in limited release, but will soon go national.

Wepner has lived in Bayonne 77 out of his 78 years. “I like it here,” he says, noting the accessibility of both New York City and the shore. He currently works at Carlstadt-based Allied Beverage Group. “If you don’t move, you lose,” he says.

Answer The Telephone Like Buddy The Elf Day

Answer The Telephone Like Buddy The Elf Day

Happy Answer The Telephone Like Buddy The Elf Day! Buddy the Elf is from a recent classic Christmas movie, Elf, that premiered in 2003 with Will Ferrell starring as Buddy. If you have not seen Elf yet, Hip New Jersey highly recommends it!

What's your very favorite thing about #Christmas? I'd love to know! Love, Buddy

A photo posted by Buddy the Elf (@_buddy.the.elf_) on

A Susie Talks A Lot 🙂 what do you want for Christmas this year? 🙂

A photo posted by Buddy (@buddy_the_elf_) on

#smiling #christmas #buddytheelf

A photo posted by Buddy the Elf (@_buddy.the.elf_) on

Happy Answer The Telephone Like Buddy The Elf Day!