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The Slate

Ten Years of Art

Ten Years of Art

For the next several weeks, HFI will be bringing you spotlights on various film festivals both near and far. Today we take a look at the Bergenfield Film Festival.

Founded in 2004, this year marks the tenth for this Northern New Jersey filmmaking coalition. I sat down with Festival Director Ann Marie Cassar and talked to her about what the fest stood for. From humble beginnings, it all started in Bergenfield High School where, “we had a program called ‘Taste of the Arts,” Cassar recalled. Artists of every kind were welcomed and their craft appreciated at this event. However, it wasn’t enough for the filmmakers who wanted their own venue. Cassar then approached Clearview Theaters. “They were generous enough to give us five theaters for the next nine years.” Thus began the Bergenfield Film Festival.

While Bergenfield is an independent fest and doesn’t have the notoriety of Sundance, it has attracted filmmakers of multiple skill levels. The fest accepts both shorts and features from around the world and has received entries from California to New York, and as far as Europe.

But it’s not just the films that get recognition. “The best moments are really after the festival is over,” “Cassar says. We have an after party.” It is at this after party that awards are handed out and one of the biggest parts of filmmaking occurs - networking. Making films is so much about who you know and Bergenfield wants to know everyone. “The filmmakers can meet all the other filmmakers,” Cassar explains. “Sometimes they end up working with some of the other filmmakers in the future.”

This being the tenth year, Bergenfield has seen well over 100 movies on their screens and will hopefully see hundreds more. The festival has only gotten bigger and broader with age and, with community support, will continue to grow further.

Anyone interested in submitting to or becoming part of the Bergenfield Film Festival should visit their website:

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