Story by Lourice Angie
The Hoboken International Film Festival (HIFF), named by FOX, Time Warner and other major media networks as one of the 10 biggest film festivals in the World, is set to occupy the beautiful and scenic Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park, located at 5 Windermere Ave. in Greenwood Lake NY from Fri., May 18 to Thurs., May 24. The Festival will open with a star-studded celebration on Fri., May 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Now in its 13th year, the HIFF will showcase and promote the world’s most cutting edge films, TV stars, TV pilots, and screenplays from filmmakers throughout the U.S. and internationally. Festival events during the week will also take place at the Greenwood Lake Elks Lodge, located at 35 Chestnut St. and at the Cove Castle, located at 13 Castle Ct.
A celebrity jury comprised of several elite actors, filmmakers and industry leaders, and powerhouse partners including: WCBS FM, Anheuser-Busch, News 12, Coca-Cola, The New Continental Inn, Stella Artois, the Times Herald-Record, Orange County, Backstage, the Warwick Valley Dispatch, the Greenwood Lake Chamber of Commerce, Cove Castle Restaurant, Empire State News, WTBQ, O’Connor Davies, the Mid-Hudson News, Greenwood Lake Bagels, Alkaline Water King, Juli-Anne’s Kitchen, Green Point Juicery, Greenwood Lake Roasters, Jean-Claude Pastries, Tracey Diamond Designs, Beattie & Krahulik, Josephine Moon Bloomfield, Reilly Design, Ferreira-Carpenter Wine, and many more help make the Festival happen.
HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award in Acting
Boasting a lineup of Academy and Grammy Award winning stars, comedians, performers and singers, the 2018 HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award in Acting will be presented to Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Louis Gossett, Jr. at the Opening Ceremony on Fri., May 18. Gossett is best known for his work in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Diggstown,” “Iron Eagle,” and “Roots.”
Opening Night Movie Premieres
The worldwide premiere of a music video featuring the HIFF theme song, “In the Building,” will be presented. The video was produced by Sony/Orchard Red in association with Raise Em Up Records and the song was recorded by Bronx native and vocalist Mike Flowerz, with featured vocals from his wife LaToya J.
Music Composer Ken Hampton encouraged HIFF President and Co-founder Kenneth Del Vecchio to add a category at the HIFF Award Ceremony called “Best Composing Film Score for a Motion Picture” and this will be the first year that the category will be awarded.
Following the premiere of the music video, the evening commences with the premiere screening of “Never Heard,” directed by Josh Webber. The highly anticipated film is a suspenseful roller coaster ride about a man named Aaron Davis played by David Banner, who says he was wrongfully accused of a crime he didn’t commit. His son, Jalen (Romeo Miller), is forced to grow up on the streets of Los Angeles without guidance of a father and primarily being raised by his mother Shala (Robin Givens) and his grandmother Camilla (Karen Abercrombie).
Jalen finds his life at risk after his friend, Diggy (Dijon Talton), decides to partner with one of the biggest drug dealers in the city leaving a large debt to be recouped. Everything seems to turn around when Aaron tries to find a way to prove his innocence and save his son’s life by putting his faith in God and relying on the power of prayer to help him solve his problems.
Film Director Josh Webber described the film as a monster project with a lot of potential saying, “I didn’t want to make a stereotypical film about an urban family. I think we all did such a great job that it will have the interest of the core community in all markets. I loved the high energy of partnering with Kirk Franklin and learning about Gospel music; I dived right in to it. I learned a lot directing ‘Never Heard,’ many things that I could identify with in my personal life.”
Actor Dijon Talton described the film as powerful, spiritual and uplifting and said, “I learned a lot from three different perspectives. It opens your eyes and gives you a better understanding of the real and unfortunate circumstances and situations that some people are left to face without having the proper guidance. It emphasizes that with God and the support of our fathers and mothers, we can become a better person.”
Brian White, who is a producing partner of the film, is an avid supporter of the arts and film industry said, “The film is about learning to play the game and educating yourself to whatever that may be. There’s an intense scene where Aaron (David Banner) and I are in the interrogation room at the jail. The two go back and forth and you learn that he is a man of integrity and trust. Despite the circumstances there’s a way for two men from different walks of life to come together and connect.”
HIFF Closes with Gala Awards Ceremony
The 2018 HIFF Excellence in Acting Award will be presented to Grammy winner Tia Carrere at the Gala Awards Ceremony on Thurs., May 24. Carrere has been seen in such movies as “True Lies,” “Wayne’s World,” and “Lilo and Stitch.”
Also to be presented at the Gala Awards Ceremony will be the 2018 HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing, which will go to the legendary screenwriter Karen McCullah for her work on “Legally Blonde,” “Ella Enchanted,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” and “The House Bunny.”
Tickets for the opening ceremony are $35 per person. To purchase tickets or to view a complete schedule of screenings and events visit www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com.