A Night at the Montclair Film Festival

Saturday, May 7th marked the 5th Annual Montclair Film Festival’s closing night. In celebration of the 10-day festival, numerous filmmakers, industry professionals, audience members and more attended the annual Filmmaker Party hosted at the Audible Listening Lounge. The lounge, located in the heart of Montclair, provided a perfect backdrop for the event. Attending the party and being able to mingle with so many in the crowd of creative and passionate individuals was an incredible experience. Simply breathing in the artistic ambiance exuded by everyone there made it impossible to leave without a thread of inspiration.

Orange, pink and yellow lights illuminated the curtained walls of the room. The second floor, a balcony overlooking the party, featured several pieces of art on the wall and provided attendants with a more intimate setting. Walking into the lounge felt much like a child walking into their first dinner party: adults mingling over fruity drinks and wine and my sights set on the caramel popcorn decorating the back of the snack table. Making a beeline to the popcorn, I walked past several groups of people discussing the films shown at the festival. One man in particular stood out and shortly after grabbing a cup of the gourmet corn, I decided to walk over. The young man, a festival volunteer named Joe Marra, began talking about what he thought made the Montclair Film Festival stand out.

“I think there’s a lot of star power to this one. I think they’re getting a lot of cutting-edge movies, stuff that’s being seen at other big festivals like Sundance and South by Southwest. I think they’re on the forefront of exciting new products that are coming out.”

After a few minutes we parted ways and I, not surprisingly, found myself gravitating toward the food once again. While casually grabbing a bite of the shrimp ceviche I began talking to a woman who attended the festival for the first time. After asking what she thought of the festival she replied,

“I think it allows people to experience other types of films than the typical mainstream ones. Film is an art, and I like art. I like exposure to new ideas and new ways of doing things…I think it’s interesting.”

At this time the lounge was filled with a sea of people. With barely any room to move, I weaved myself through the crowd and to the front. This time, a girl approached me and asked what newspaper I was writing for. After mentioning Her Campus, I asked why she believed the festival was so important.

“It’s something that brings people together, as cliché as it is to say, when everyone shares a love for something as powerful as film and visuals. Certain people have a certain eye for film, and its something that’s unexplainable with words,” she excitedly pointed out, “So it’s nice to get together with a bunch of people who have the same kind of passions as you do, and those unspoken things click with those people as you are able to share your art with them.”

It was this appreciation for the art of film that beautifully summed up the night. With that, I thanked her for speaking to me and made my way to the door. I took one last glance at the party and smiled, thankful for the inspiration, stimulating conversation, and gourmet caramel popcorn.