N.J. Film Festival to screen works old and new

 “Swim Little Fish Swim” “Swim Little Fish Swim” Movie buffs, get ready — the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2014 is coming. The Rutgers Film Coop/ New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Cinema Studies program at Rutgers University, is presenting the event, marking its 32nd anniversary.

Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals and cuttingedge documentaries, the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2014 will feature more than 50 film screenings.

All the works being screened, with the exception of seven programs, are part of the New Jersey Film Festival competition and were selected by a panel of judges that included media professionals, journalists, students and academics. These judges selected the 25 finalists, which will be screened publicly at the festival. The finalists were selected from more than 392 works submitted by filmmakers from around the world. The judges, in conjunction with the festival director, will choose the prizewinners. The winners will be announced after the Feb. 9 screenings.

 “Malala: A Girl from Paradise” “Malala: A Girl from Paradise” The films will have their New Jersey or Middlesex County premiere screenings as part of the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2014 and the United States Super 8mm Film & Digital Video Festival.

Some of these include In Hak Jung’s “The Other Side of the Mountain,” the first co-production between the U.S. and North Korea; Mohsin Abbas’ documentary on 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize; Ruben Amar and Lola Bessi’s independent feature film “Swim Little Fish Swim”; “Snows of the Nile,” an environmental documentary by Nathan Dappen and Neil Losin; Catherine Brabec’s film about New Jersey surfers and superstorm Sandy; Elena Pogrebizhskaia’s “Mama, I’m Gonna Kill You,” a documentary about three children who reside in an orphanage in Russia; and “The Reverend,” by Stuart Brennan and Neil Jones, a comic feature film that riffs on the vampire genre.

 “Swan Cake” “Swan Cake” The festival will also include two highly anticipated premiere screenings, according to organizers. On Feb. 27 and 28, the festival will present Shirley Clarke’s “Portrait of Jason,” the restored and rarely seen documentary about a gay hustler that Ingmar Bergman called “the most extraordinary film I’ve seen in my life.” The U.S. premiere screening of Edward S. Curtis’ restored silent film about Native Americans, “In the Land of Head Hunters,” will screen March 1.

Classic and rare experimental film screenings will take place on select Thursday evenings. They include “Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer” on Jan. 30, and films by Stan Brakhage on Feb. 20. In addition, the festival will include the “Jersey Fresh: Films by Jersey Filmmakers/ Our Town” program on April 26. Three free screenings via the Italian Independent Film Series will take place on Feb. 23, March 30 and April 27.

As part of the 26th anniversary of the United States Super 8mm Film & Digital Video Festival, a different program of films from around the world will be presented Feb. 15-16 at Rutgers University, Voorhees Hall, Room 105. More than 200 filmmakers are competing for many prizes.

Prizewinners are announced on the last night of the festival, and audience members will vote for their favorite film.

The festival is open to works predominantly shot on either Super 8/8mm film, Hi8/8mm video and/or digital video. This program is being co-sponsored by Jungle Software, Pro 8mm, PAC Lab, Gorilla Software, Johnson & Johnson and many others.

The festival will also be graced by 15 confirmed special guests, including film directors, producers and actors. All visiting directors will introduce their work and hold a Q-and-A session after the screenings.

In addition, film/video workshops taught by professionals will be offered during the spring by Rutgers.

For more information on films, workshops or schedules, visit www.njfilmfest.com.