2017 Honorees


Honorary Chair

Scott Cronick

GSFF is proud to announce Director of Entertainment Publications for the Press of Atlantic City, overseeing At The Shore magazine and Atlantic City Weekly, where he is also a staff writer, columnist, food and music critic and editor, Scott Cronick ,as the Festivals’ Honorary Chair. Scott also hosts a daily radio show – Off The Press with Scott Cronick – on  talk station WOND 1400-AM. Scott has won several New Jersey and Pennsylvania journalism awards and we are thrilled to honor him.



Lifetime Achievement

Sally Jessy Raphael

 Congratulations to TV Talk Show Legend and two time EMMY winner, Sally Jessy Raphael our 2017  Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for her outstanding body of work and contributions to the TV and film industries.   Sally Jessy was the first female reality talk show host on TV, her signature show was the longest-running, female-hosted talk show in television history.  In film, Sally has also had such memorable cameos in films such as The Addams Family and She-Devil.  Congratulations Sally!

 Beacon Award


Brian Dennehy

Congratulations to Brian Dennehy, this year’s recipient of the Beacon Award for his contribution to cinematic arts! A prolific actor, Dennehy is well respected on both screen and stage. He began his acting career in the 1970s and has appeared in many acclaimed films over the years. He has also had a rich theatrical career, receiving the 1999 Best Actor Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award and a Golden Globe Award. Dennehy’s comprehensive career also includes co-producing, directing and writing several screen productions. Congratulations, Brian!

Spirit Of New Jersey

Richard Kind

GSFF proudly presents Richard Kind, who hails from Trenton, recipient of the 2017 Spirit of New Jersey Award. With an extensive resume which includes roles in productions such as Inside Out (2015), Spin City (1996) and A Serious Man (2009), Richard makes all the rest of us proud to be from New Jersey too.  Congratulations Richard!


 Wave of Excellence 

Chance Kelly

Chance has had a remarkable career for someone who only took to acting on a bet. But that was a long time ago and now Kelly has more than 70 stage, television and film credits to his name, having worked with directors like Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Martin Scorsese and, Clint Eastwood. Even with all that Chance finds time to coach is sons basketball team! Congratulations Chance !



Kim Waltrip

Long time GSFF friend and supporter Director/Producer/Actress, Kim Waltrip started her career as a model in New York City. Her projects have premiered at the Toronto Film Festival as well as at the Cannes Film Festival. She has been the catalyst to bring GSFF some of its favorite films as well as VIP’s. Congratulations Kim for all you have accomplished and thank you for your continued support of GSFF.


Excellence in Animation Award

logo-laika-beigeLaika Studios

Founded in 2005, LAIKA has grown to occupy a unique and distinctive place in American cinema by continuously expanding the boundaries of the 120-year-old technique of stop-motion animation. Their accomplishments include the  2009’s Oscar®-nominated Coraline, followed by the Oscar®- and BAFTA-nominated ParaNorman in 2012. The Boxtrolls hit theaters in 2014, garnering the studio its third straight Oscar® nomination. Their fourth film, Kubo and the Two Strings, was also an award winning film.


Broader Vision Award

The Garden State Film Festival proudly recognizes a deserving organization each year with the Broader Vision Award for film making dedicated to the greater good. This year the award goes to PEI Kids and seven13 films. PEI Kids’ is a not for profit organization, whose mission is dedicated to promoting and maintaining a safe environment for all children. Seven13films is made up of award-winning filmmakers Joseph A. Halsey and Lee Kolinsky. Together they are dedicated to providing social messages that spark conversation through the art of film making designed to drive education, awareness, community outreach and engagement on important public issues giving a voice to inner city kids. Congratulations and keep up the good work.


GSFF  Rising Star 2017

camrys-hdshtCamrus Johnson

The Garden State Film Festival proudly presents the 2017 Rising Star Award to Camrus Johnson. He graduated from high school with honors at which time he received a remarkably heavy Thespian Gold Medal. Johnson got 14 college callbacks at the Thespian Conference, however, he decided to head to New York City to pursue his career. Camrus has worked with the Rockettes, the cast of Jersey Boys, Marvel’s Netflix series, Luke Cage and various others.  Camrus’s undeniable passion and work ethic has gotten him to where he is today. When asked advice for other young talent he replied, “It gets really hard at times, but working your way up is the fun part. Mainly because of all the struggles and efforts, we can always look back and see how much we have overcome”. Congratulations, Camrus from your GSFF family!