The Newark International Film Festival returns in September. Founder Kenneth Gifford made the announcement at city hall.
The Tate Brothers, Lance Gross, and Kim Hawthorne are among some of the celebrities set to attend. The festival, now in its third year, has garnered global appeal, drawing thirteen-hundred submissions from two-hundred and seventy-eight countries around the world. Gifford says that he wants to make sure the film festival is supporting the arts community, right here in Newark.
"There are a lot of filmmakers that are in this city, so one of the things that we want to make sure we do is have an impact on the filmmakers that are here. You have Melvin James, you have Al Jaleel, Marlon and his group... and when we started this, there were a little bit over twenty filmmakers in the city that were doing projects. There are now a little bit over three hundred."
The festival runs from September 6th to the 9th. Screenings will take place in venues all across Newark. Submissions for the festival are due by July 21st.
For the first time, festival submissions will be eligible for recognition by the Academy Awards. Mayor Ras Baraka says local filmmakers will now have ample resources to make it in the industry.
"Three times is a charm, so we expect incredible things this time around. It's great news about the academy opportunity. It's even better news that the governor has signed a bill to give film tax credits to the state of New Jersey. I don't know if everyone understands the ramifications of what that actually means. It means we can really compete."
Mayor Baraka says Newark's film industry is now in a position to compete with some of the largest entertainment-based cities in the country, including New York and Los Angeles.