The Garden State Film Festival was born in 2002 after a chance encounter in a Sea Girt, New Jersey grocery store by film industry veteran Diane Raver and the well-known Hollywood actor Robert Pastorelli. Through their deep ties to Hollywood, Mr. Pastorelli and Ms. Raver were able to bring an all-encompassing event to the State of New Jersey. It premiered in 2003 and was immediately deemed a huge success.
Since that time, industry notables such as Glenn Close, Christopher Lloyd, Batman producer Michael Uslan, Austin Pendleton, Kurtwood Smith, James Gandolfini, Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen, Lainie Kazan, Diane Ladd, Laura Dern, Bebe Neuwirth, Armand Asante, Sally Struthers and our biggest supporter Ed Asner as well as others have lent their support.
The artistic philosophy of the Garden State Film Festival is rooted in the celebration of the independent film genre and the creation of a forum where local and other independent filmmakers can exhibit their work. It was also created to pay tribute to New Jersey’s legacy as the birthplace of the American filmmaking industry in Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratories where he invented the first film cameras and projectors, to Fort Lee, where the original studios were founded. Our event provides novice and aspiring filmmakers, actors, and others interested in careers in the film business, the opportunity to meet and network with industry professionals in an atmosphere conducive to learning and mentoring. Further, we are happy to present each spring in Asbury Park and to serve as an added engine for the city’s vitality through arts, commerce and culture.