Tag Archives: movies

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.

Fun Weekend Activities To Consider

Fun Weekend Activities To Consider

The weekends are the perfect time to relax and participate in activities that put a smile on your face. This is your free time to use as you please and to do more of what’s going to help you to feel calm and at ease.

While it’s important to work hard during the week, it’s also necessary to take some time for you over the weekends. Sitting on the couch is nice once in a while, but you’re likely to get bored of doing this as time goes on. Instead, consider discovering new talents you didn’t know you had, meeting up with others and engaging in entertaining activities that will keep you feeling amused.

No matter the time of year, #HipNJ has a lot of fun activities for you to do. Here are some of our favorites:

Play Golf
One fun weekend activity to consider is to get outside and learn the game of golf. If you already know how to play then call up a few friends and schedule a tee time so you can get out and work on your game. Make sure you’re always prepared to hit the course by having the right equipment and gear at home. For instance, head online to check out the latest super game improvement irons so you can perform well under pressure and in any weather.

Watch A Movie
Another idea for how to spend your weekends is to watch or go to a movie you’ve wanted to see. Either stay home and cuddle up on the couch in your comfortable clothes or head out and make a date night of it with your spouse or partner. Grab a few of your favorite snacks and sit back and enjoy being entertained for a few hours. Another idea is to have a movie marathon if you have a whole day to spare and don’t feel like leaving your house.

Go Hiking
Exercise can be fun when you’re participating in activities such as hiking new and beautiful trails. Find an area that you’re unfamiliar with, and you can explore at your own pace on your time off. Be glad to know that you’ll even be burning some calories and toning your muscles while you’re at it. Just make sure you have the proper gear and attire and carry a map or GPS with you so you don’t get lost.

Play Board Games
In addition, consider playing board games as a fun weekend activity that will help to pass the time. Get the family together or invite over your friends and make a night of it by providing snacks and drinks for all to enjoy. There are a wide variety of games to choose from out there that will have you laughing and feeling joyful in no time.

Take A Road Trip
Taking a short road trip is a great way to spend your weekend hours and escape your daily responsibilities for a little bit. Commit to exploring new lands and make it feel more like vacation by booking a hotel room for a night. It’ll feel good to get away from your normal routine for a night or two and you can return home feeling refreshed and ready to go back to work.

Head to the Beach
The beach is always an excellent option when considering how to utilize your weekend free time. Pack a lunch and make an afternoon of it by enjoying the sunshine and spending some time splashing around in the water. Think about bringing along a few fun games such as volleyball and any sand toys your kids might enjoy playing with.

Grab A Meal or Coffee
The weekends are the perfect opportunity to be social and catch up with friends or family members who you don’t see often. Invite someone who you like spending time with to grab coffee or a meal and catch up about what’s been going on in each of your lives. Consider trying a new restaurant or coffee shop in the area neither of you have been to before.

Play Pool or go Bowling
Weekends are meant for engaging in fun activities such as playing pool or going bowling. Both ideas are entertaining and can be done with either your family or a group of friends. Find a venue in the area that you’ve heard good remarks about and that serves food in case you get hungry.

Visit the Park with Your Kids
Take your kids to the park for a while if you’re feeling bored and looking for ways to use your weekend time. They’ll love getting to run around and act silly and will appreciate you wanting to spend time with them. You can even think about taking them for ice cream after you’re finished if they’re well behaved and you’re in the mood for a treat.

Go Shopping
Weekends are made for shopping and getting a few errands done when you have the chance. Not only purchase the necessities such as groceries, but also a few new items for yourself such as clothes or jewelry. Take the time to check out some new stores or malls in the area and see what’s out there and trending.

Schedule A Spa Treatment
You might also want to consider scheduling a treatment at the spa during the weekend. In no time you’ll feel more relaxed and will be able to reduce or minimize any stress you’re feeling at the time. Enjoy and take advantage of the chance to unplug from technology and simply be in the moment as you get pampered by the staff. There are a wide variety of services to choose from depending on what you’re in the mood for, such as a massage or facial.

Have A Cookout
Finally, another weekend activity to consider is to have a cookout either with your family or a bunch of your friends. It’s a great way to get everyone together and enjoy some good food while being able to soak up the warm weather. Play games, put on music in the background and have plenty of food and drinks to go around. Plan ahead and don’t be afraid to ask everyone bring a dish to pass so you don’t have to do as much work.

Binge-Worthy Jersey: Spend National Popcorn Day Streaming a Jersey Marathon

Cold, winter weather is on the way, and Hip New Jersey sees a lot of binge watching in the forecast as well. So, in honor of National Popcorn Day, fill up a tub of popcorn and celebrate with some of the New Jersey based films and shows we found currently streaming!

Chasing Amy

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Streaming on: Netflix, Hoopla

No list about New Jersey and films could ever be complete without Kevin Smith. While several of his films are available for streaming (and some notoriously are not) our pick is Chasing Amy, filmed almost entirely in Red Bank, NJ and Asbury Park. There are many easily recognizable locations, including Jack’s Music Shoppe, which still stands and is neighbors with Smith’s own comic shop.

Plot: Holden and Banky are comic book artists and best friends. But their relationship and sanity are tested when Holden falls for Alyssa, also a comic book artist who is also a lesbian.

 

American Gangster

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Streaming on: Netflix

While many of the scenes take place in New Jersey were actually filmed in New York, the morgue scene was filmed at the NJ Army National Guard Armory in Morristown, New Jersey.

Plot: Based on the true story of Richie Roberts, an outcast New York City cop charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas.

 

Beautiful Mind

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Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Another biographical film, starring Russel Crowe – this time filming at many locations in New Jersey,  such as Princeton University, Paulus Hook (Jersey City), the Center for Molecular Medicine in BelleVille, Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison and Prudential Hall in Newark.

Plot: John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, but instead finds himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.

 

Cinderella Man

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Streaming on: Showtime

If you have a New Jersey-based biographical film, clearly Russel Crowe is the go-to leading man. While the movie itself was filmed in Ontario, Canada, boxer James Braddock has deep ties to New Jersey. His nicknames included the Bulldog of Bergen and the Pride of New Jersey. He is buried in Tenafly, New Jersey and James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park in North Bergen, New Jersey is named in his honor .

Plot: During the Great Depression, underdog James Braddock, a washed-up boxer desperate to support his family stages a comeback, becoming a symbol of hope for the nation.

 

The Wrestler

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Streaming on: Starz

Filmed almost exclusively in New Jersey, some of the more recognizable spots in this drama are the Stiletto Club in Carlstadt, Dover Ballroom in Dover, and Frenchy’s Bar & Grill in Roselle Park. Other filming locations include Asbury Park, Linden, Rahway, and Bayonne.

Plot: Retired wrestler, Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson deals with the difficulty of leaving behind his beloved wrestling career and attempts to make real connections with the world outside the arena.

 

Sopranos

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Streaming on: HBO GO, HBO NOW, and Amazon Prime

After six seasons, its hard to imagine an area of New Jersey untouched by the series. Some of the more well-known spots include Satin Dolls gentleman’s club in Lodi, Irvine-Cozzarelli Memorial Home in Belleville, Pizzaland in North Arlington and the Soprano’s home in North Caldwell.

Plot: Tony Soprano, a New Jersey-based  Italian-American mobster tries to balance his family life with his role as the leader of a criminal organization.

 

Boardwalk Empire

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Streaming on: HBO GO, HBO NOW, and Amazon Prime

While the show was filmed primarily in New York and some of the locations are fictional, the titular Boardwalk is that of Atlantic City and the politics are real. This change of scenery is largely because of the modernization of Atlantic City and surrounding areas, although they were tempted to use Asbury Park for a while.

Plot: In Prohibition-era New Jersey, politicians play both sides of the law, working with mobsters and gangsters to profit from bootlegging in the area.