Arts & Culture Millburn Schools / Kids

6th Annual Millburn Film Fest Highlights Talents of Township Students

Winners from this year Millburn Film Fest feature a variety of short films ranging from documentaries about a young Syrian refugee, the women’s march, Millburn’s award-winning a cappella group Soulfege, and a group of grandmothers walking across the country to a fictionalized investigation of the real fire at Summit’s Magic Fountain.

From Millburn Middle School, 8th grader Rachel Solomon’s film, “Walk-The Story of the Iron Grannies” tells the story of her grandmother, Maxine Solomon’s decision to walk with a group of friends across the United States for her 70th birthday.

Millburn High School Seniors and previous winners Aaron Surloff, Julia Newman and Brendan Weissman all have winning films in this year’s festival.

Surloff’s documentary “Poppy” focuses on the story of MHS Senior Max Marell’s grandfather Poppy’s battle with small cell lung cancer. How a shared unfortunate bond of grandfathers with lung cancer was the impetus of Marell and fellow senior Justin Phillips to found a local chapter of the American Lung Association,  and the impact that young people can have when inspired.

Julia Newman’s documentary “ Sincerely, A Feminist”, is an open letter that explains why she participated in the Women’s March on January 21, 2017. “As a Generation Z teenager, this past election was my first to follow closely and to vote in. In an open letter from young, unsettled feminists like myself, this journalistic documentary explores what will come next following the recent Women’s March on Washington and the Presidential Election,” said Newman.

Brendan Weissman and fellow senior Ben Goodman, share writing and filming credit on, “The Fountain Case,” a short film that seems to draw influences from filmmakers like Tony Gilroy and Cary Fukunaga. It stars MHS senior Nick Ryan as an amateur detective hunting down the truth behind the fire that burned down Summit’s beloved Magic Fountain. In the words of the filmmakers, “What ensues is a mystery that sends him down an ice cream rabbit hole of conspiracies and lies.” The film also features seniors Luke Wroblewski, Drew Pickard, Matt Sullivan, Danny Hayes and junior Emily Bright.

Juniors David Chun and Jonny Berkowitz’s experimental film “Eclipse” is the story of a young man grappling with loneliness and finding the joy in life.

Ariel Riseman, also a junior brings the touching story of a young Syrian refugee living in Elizabeth, New Jersey to the screen in her short format documentary, “Heba’s Story.”

Sophomore Kyle Farscht has two films in this year’s festival. “Flash”  featuring fellow sophomores Jess Yeager and Matt Gutkin is an original story and a social critique, asking the question, “Do we really just exist in front of the camera these days?” “Soulfege -The A Capella Experience” is a documentary following Millburn’s award-winning student run a cappella club as they compete in the ICHSA’s (International Competition of High School A Cappella).

Rounding out the group of winning films is an animated film from freshman Alex DeRosa: “Lyric.” Says DeRosa, ”Lyric is a hand-drawn animated film about a girl’s struggle with depression. The film taps into her mind to show her battle with the monster that torments her. At first it seems as if there is no escape, but she soon finds the strength she needs to face her inner demon through music.”

The Red Carpet Premiere on will be on Friday, April 21, 7:00 p.m. at Millburn High School and is made possible thanks to Academy Award Sponsors The Stephanie Mallios Team and New York Film Academy, and Executive Sponsors The Gonnella Team and Investors Bank. Tickets for the festival are available at www.millburnfilmfest.eventbrite.com for $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The proceeds of the event will benefit the Millburn Public Schools through the Education Foundation.

There will be an encore performance Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at Millburn’s Bow-Tie Cinema at 11:00 am.

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