Bernardsville Cinema hosts first annual film festival

The Bernardsville Cinema featuring their upcoming film festival.
The Bernardsville Cinema featuring their upcoming film festival.
Gianna Galesi

From October 27 through October 29, the local Bernardsville Cinema will be hosting its first annual film festival. The event will begin that Friday with a small kick-off party for both filmmakers and those with festival passes, which will be held across the street at the Diamond Dream jewelry boutique. Throughout the weekend, over twenty films will be projected at the three theaters within the cinema in a variety of narrative shorts, documentaries, and feature films. The selected group of films are sourced from all across the world, yet organizers secured roughly fifty percent of films to be created by local New Jersey and New York filmmakers.

Harvey Goldberg, owner of the Bernardsville cinema, as well as filmmakers Julianne Reynolds and Kyle Schickner, organized the festival with a common mission of preserving the historical cinema and building a creative environment for filmmakers to express their art. “Storytelling is so essential for the growth of society,” says LA filmmaker Reynolds, “We should try to preserve the community and that theater, so we don’t lose that architecture in such a unique small town.”

The tickets, running for $15 each, are arranged by categories, including “Friday Night Trinity,” “Saturday Night Shorts,” and “New Jersey Made Shorts.” There are also tickets for both the opening night and awards ceremony, running for $30 each, as well as a complete VIP pass at $65.

In the awards ceremony on Sunday the 29th, there will be five or six judges to decide which films are awarded the best film of their category. “It’s not about whether it’s shot with the best camera or the best audio, it’s about the story,” describes Reynolds, “They are going to vote on how the story emotionally affected them.” While there will be prizes for “Best Feature,”“Best Actor,” and “Best Narrative Short” (to name a few), there will also be an ultimate award for the overall fan-favorite, in which the audience will help decide a winner.

According to Reynolds, one purpose of the festival is to “build a platform that can grow in the future,” while driving interest for both Bernardsville and filmmaking in the New Jersey area. Although Reynolds, Shickner, and Goldberg are uncertain of the outcome for the upcoming festival, they will be using it as a guide to enhance another film event in April 2024. They have suggested perhaps extending the dates to a four-day event, as well as possibly including workshops for those with an interest in the artistry of filmmaking.

A more simple aspiration of the festival, however, is to “create fun and joy,” urges Reynolds, “[as well as] great conversations and great connections.” It is intended as a way for filmmakers to connect with one another through their media, as the art of filmmaking is collaborative. Reynolds emphasizes the importance of finding

Reynolds explains how “there are a lot of events in the [Bernardsville] community that are geared towards kids and Halloween” but that “people are really seeking events to come to that are creative, community-based, and that have a lot of inclusivity.” The festival provides an opportunity for people of all ages to immerse themselves in the artistry of film, and everyone is encouraged to come.

“There is something about the independent world of film that’s not inundated yet by the big corporate movie-machines,” Reynolds says, “It’s a little bit more earth-based and there’s a little bit more vulnerability to it, and that is something I believe we can all connect to.”

Bernardsville Film Festival
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