2023 Honorees

Honorary Chair

County Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone

A long-time friend of the GSFF, Monmouth County Commissioner Thomas A. Arnone is serving his fourth, three-year term, on the Monmouth County Board of Commissioners.

During his political career he established the Healthy Monmouth Initiative to educate students from different socioeconomic backgrounds about good nutrition. He started the Grow Monmouth program to revitalize Monmouth County business and he created the annual Made in Monmouth showcase of locally made consumer products.

He is active with many nonprofits and has been a screening host and supporter of the Garden State Film Festival for many years. He is committed to the arts and the role they play in the successes of businesses and the community. Thank you, Tom, for all you do to make Monmouth County and our state a great place to live and work.

Commissioner Thomas A. Arnone
Telephone: 732-431-7396
Click here to email

Independent Spirit Award

Daniel Baldwin

Feisty, fearless and always entertaining we welcome Daniel Baldwin as this year’s Independent Spirit Award recipient. Mr. Baldwin’s career includes feature films, independent films and television. Daniel Baldwin won the Burbank International Film Festival Award for Best Actor for his role in ‘The Wisdom to Know the Difference’ in 2014. The film, which he also directed, won the San Antonio Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature Film. In 2014, he won Best Supporting Actor at the Madrid International Film Festival for his movie ‘Helen Alone’.

Having had his share of struggles, he is proud of his sobriety and speaks candidly about addiction. His documentary at this year’s festival, “My Promise to P.J.” details his commitment to fulfilling a promise to a recovering addict. Daniel’s brothers Billy, Stephen and Alec appear in the film.


Ming Chen and A Shared Universe PodcaSTudio

Ming Chen’s road to Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash all began in 1995, when the college student, video store employee, and  Kevin Smith follower developed a fan website based on the movie Clerks. Smith, who appreciated Chen’s work, reached out and asked him to create the Web site for his production company, View Askew Productions. Twenty Two years later, not only does Chen continue to work on all of Smith’s online projects, but he has also ventured into several other areas within the Kevin Smith empire, most recently hosting a weekly podcast called I Sell Comics! with Michael Zapcic on Smith’s radio network, S.I.R.!: SModcast Internet Radio. Chen is not only the technical expert for The Stash, but he is also the perfect person to send out to do the jobs no one else wants to do. He takes it all with a smile, and is happy to be a part of the team.

During his free time, Chen serves on the board for the non-profit organization Root to Rise. He also co-owns a podcast studio with Mike Zapcic called “A Shared Universe” and is a partner in a coffee, gaming and comics café called “Coral Sword” in Houston, Texas with major league ballplayer Hunter Pence. Chen has been married to his wife Debbie for 15 years and has two children, Lillian and Harrison.


Declan O'Scanlon Jr.

Declan O’Scanlon Jr. is a NJ State Senator from Legislative District 13. He was sworn in for his first term in the New Jersey Senate in 2018.

Prior to that O’Scanlon served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2007 to 2017, including as Republican budget officer from 2012 through 2017. O’Scanlon earned dual bachelor’s degrees in finance and psychology from Monmouth University in 1986. He owns a telecommunications consulting firm specializing in wireless infrastructure projects. O’Scanlon is an advocate for numerous causes including animal welfare. He was born in Marlboro and has been a life-long resident of Little Silver where he previously served as councilman from 1994 to 2007. He is married to actress producer and talent Heather O’Scanlon. The couple are the proud parents of two children.


Linda Hamilton

Best known for creating the role of ‘Sarah Connor’ in the first two installments of the iconic Terminator film franchise. She is currently starring in the newest chapter, “Terminator: Dark Fate” again opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by Tim Miller.  

Following the successful launch of the first Terminator film, Linda starred in the CBS series “Beauty and the Beast” opposite Ron Perlman. The series was critically acclaimed and she was nominated for both an EMMY Award and two GOLDEN GLOBE Awards. Among her other film credits are “Dante’s Peak” opposite Pierce Brosnan and “Mr. Destiny” opposite Michael Caine. 

Linda won a CABLE ACE Award and received her third GOLDEN GLOBE Nomination for her performance in “A Mother’s Prayer” on USA Network playing a woman who lost her husband and is diagnosed with AIDS.

Linda guest starred on “Frasier” and recurred on “Weeds”, “Defiance”, “Lost Girls” and the NBC series “Chuck” playing Zachary Levi’s mother and fulfilled a dream hosting “Saturday Night Live”. She also starred as the U.S. President in the SkyTV Miniseries “Air Force One is Down” as well as the independent films “Easy Does It”, “Curvature’”, and “A Sunday Horse”.

lifetime achievement RECIPIENT

Matthew Modine

It’s been said that Matthew Modine is “one of the best, most adaptable film actors of his generation” by legendary NY Times film critic Vincent Canby. He has worked with many of the film industry’s most acclaimed directors, including Christopher Nolan, Oliver Stone, Sir Alan Parker, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, Alan J.Pakula, John Schlesinger, Robert Falls, Sir Peter Hall, Abel Ferrara, Spike Lee, Jonathan Demme and John Sayles. Matthew Modine can be seen starring in the Netflix’s original series STRANGER THINGS for which he won the 2017 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble.

He recently starred in the following upcoming films: BREAKING
NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY opposite Allison Janney, Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Mila Kunis, Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, Juliette Lewis, Jimmi Simpson, and Ellen Barkin; MISS VIRGINIA opposite Uzo Aduba; THE MARTINI SHOT opposite John Cleese and Stuart Townsend; and FOSTER BOY opposite Amy Brenneman. Modine was recently in the The Lionsgate/Black Label Media crime thriller, Sicario sequel Soldado opposite Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin. He was also seen in the blockbuster shark thriller 47 METERS DOWN.

Modine seems to constantly be working (and directing). After helming the award-winning short film Super  Sex which starred Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon, Efren Ramirez, Ruby Modine and Edward Asner (and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival), he has recently mounted three features THE ROCKING HORSEMAN, THE HORROR, and BEYOND THE HORIZON. Matthew is repped by Luber Roklin Entertainment. Throughout his career, Modine has
been nominated for two Emmy’s (HBO’s And the Band Played On, CBS’s What the Deaf Man Heard) three Golden Globes and is the recipient of one (Altman’s, Shortcuts). Modine is well remembered for the title character in Alan Parker’s, Birdy which won the Cannes Film Festival’s Gran Prix Award, and for his iconic role as Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick’s, Full Metal Jacket. His work in Alan Rudolph’s, Equinox helped earn the film four Independent Spirit Award nominations, including Best Actor and Best Film. Modine is the recipient of a Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup and Golden Lion Awards Streamers, Shortcuts.

Celebrating his accomplishments in acting and dedication to the industry that we honor him at the 18th Annual Garden State Film Festival with this prestigious Lifetime Achievement award.


Robert Patrick

We are proud to recognize Robert Patrick as our Patriot Award recipient. Robert has a long list of credits; his breakthrough role came as the legendary T-1000 in Terminator 2. He was the first actor in the history of motion capture and since then, he has worked on iconic films and television shows including Die Hard 2, Wayne’s World, Last Action Hero, Fire in the Sky, Cop Land, The Faculty, Walk the Line, Bridge to Terabithia, Spy Kids, Flags of Our Fathers and on the television hits The Sopranos, The Outer Limits, Elvis, The Unit, The X-Files and Sons of Anarchy. As well as numerous roles on the small screen.

In addition to his acting, Patrick is a lifelong supporter of the military and the USO. The grandson of an Army veteran, who served during World Wars I and II and the Korean War, Patrick grew up with a profound respect for troops. Devoted to giving back, he regularly goes on USO hospital visits and has participated in four USO tours to seven countries since 2008, visiting more than 8,100 service members and military families. As a longtime motorcycle enthusiast and Boozefighter, Patrick served for years as an Honorary Grand Marshall for the famed Love Ride which benefited veterans. He became the proud co-owner of Harley-Davidson Santa Clarita. It is for these important efforts, close to our collective hearts that we salute him at the 18th Annual Garden State Film Festival with this prestigious award.

Rising Star Award Winner

Christian Barber

Christian Barber began performing theatre in New York City in 2006, his work often connecting his audiences to characters they wouldn’t normally identify with. He continued to attack roles and joinedSAG/AFTRA in 2016. Since then, he has worked on dozens of television and film projects fromIndependent Films to Network Television, to Netflix and more. Christian currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children

Educator of the Year


Louis Libitz is both a filmmaker and an educator. Working in experimental, narrative and documentary styles, his video works have been exhibited in festivals / galleries nationally and internationally. 

Louis has over 15 years-experience teaching Film/Video/Media Arts at both undergraduate and high school arts conservatory levels. Currently, he is the Tenured Instructor of Digital Filmmaking – School of the Arts – East Brunswick Tech – Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools (2014-present) and has garnered many awards for his tireless work inspiring the next generation of filmmaker in our state as well as for his own films. His students regularly received official selections/awards recognition for their short films at numerous local, national and international film festivals. Big Congrats to Louis and keep up the great work!

BROADER VISION AWARD | Using filmmaking for the greater good

Project Seven for Soldiers follows sponsored – athlete Matt Dawson’s (“Dawson”) remarkable attempt to set seven world records to raise awareness for veterans. Activities include multiple polar expeditions, global mountain climbing, a global circumnavigation flight, an oceanic crossing and a desert traverse all while chronicling it on video. 100% of net proceeds from project Seven for Soldiers will benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation and Hope For The Warriors as they provide comprehensive support to meet the critical needs of military veterans and their families in their transition from military service to civilian life. We are very proud to recognize this worthy organization for the work they do.


Perry Lang

Starting to work in film as an actor at 17, Perry Lang has acted in over thirty films and seventy hours of television. His film work includes Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One, Steven Spielberg’s 1941 and John Sayles’s Sunshine State as well as Eight Men Out where Perry played one of the indicted eight who threw the 1919 World Series.

His Television work as an actor includes MASH, the title character in the Emmy winning television special Hewitt’s Just Different, A Rumor Of War and numerous guest appearances, including many projects that he has himself either written or directed. 

As a writer and director, Perry started professionally writing Tales From The Darkside inNew York. Among a number of studio assignments, he wrote the first film he directed, Little Vegas then rewrote the second, the Action Adventure; Men of War.

Since then Perry Lang has directed over eighty hours of television including NYPD Blue, ER, Alias, Weeds and NCIS: Los Angeles.

Perry’s newest feature, the acclaimed and successful, An Interview with God, is now in release by Universal Pictures and on Netflix.

Perry lives with his family in Santa Barbara, California.

Exceptional Women in Film

Dr. Jennifer Turner

In 2022 Jennifer Turner was named EVP, TriStar Television for Sony Pictures Television where she manages the development and production of new premium television series and chairs the content committee Time for Change initiative. Her prior credits include Senior VP of TriStar Television; Senior VP of Scripted Programming for Sony Pictures Television and VP, Licensing and Strategic Partnerships, Bravo Media, Oxygen Media including brand extensions “Top Chef”, “The Real Housewives” and the launch of “Fashion by Bravo”.

She began her television career as Director, ABC Daytime Programming, following a career as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs.

She was featured in Essence magazine’s “40 under 40” and Ebony magazine’s “Women to Watch” to name a few.

This accomplished executive holds a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University, a Bachelor of Finance from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Japanese Language also from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a classical violinist and a lover of the arts. We are proud to honor this very accomplished lady!

Beacon Award

Gail Barringer

Gail Barringer is a television producer who began her career in production accounting. She produced over 175 episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit” and seasons 2-4 of “Person of Interest” before jumping into the Marvel world with “The Punisher” and “Luke Cage.” Barringer then went on to produce Netflix’s revival of “Tales of the City,” Hulu’s “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” and most recently season 1 of “Emergence” for ABC.

Screenplay Winners

Short Screenplay Winner

OVERDUE by Penny Jackson and Melissa Skirboll

Penny Jackson is a playwright, screenwriter and novelist who lives in New York City. Jackson has written and produced too many award-winning short films and theater plays to mention. In addition, she her novel Becoming The Butlers, published by Bantam Books, was chosen as one of the best novels for young adults by The New York Public Library and was optioned for film by Warner Brothers.
 She is a proud member of New York Women In Film and Television, The Actor/Directors Unit of The Actors Studio, The Dramatists Guild, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The International Center of Women Playwrights. And now a winner at GSFF! Big congrats Penny!

Profile Penny

Feature Screenplay Winner

SHELTER IN SOLITUDE by Siobhan Fallon Hogan

Siobhan Fallon Hogan is a known as a comedy actor in Hollywood. The actress has been in several blockbusters over the years including “Men in Black”, “Forrest Gump”, “Holes”, “New in Town”, “Going in Style”, “Charlotte’s Web”, “Clifford the Big Red Dog, and “Funny Games”. Her televisions credits include SNL, Seinfeld, Billions, Wayward Pines, 30 Rock, Law & Order and many more. Recently she has added writer and producer to her long-acting resume. Siobhan and her husband Peter Hogan established Emerald Caz Productions in 2019. “Shelter In Solitude” now in production, stars Robert Patrick, Peter Macon, Peter Hogan, Dan Castellaneta and Siobhan Fallon Hogan. Fallon Hogan and Peter Hogan have been married for 29 years and have three talented children.