Story by Lourice Angie
The Village of Greenwood Lake rolled out the red carpet for the Hoboken International Film Festival’s (HIFF) sold out Opening Night Gala on Fri., May 18 at the Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park.
The star studded event brings all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the shores of Greenwood Lake and officially kicks off a week long showcase of some of the best, most cutting edge independent and fine non-studio films, TV pilots and screenplays from filmmakers throughout the U.S and abroad.
The stars were “In the building” this year as numerous celebrity guests such as Martin Kove (“Karate Kid”), Julie McCullough (“Growing Pains”) and special guest, Academy Award winner Louis Gossett, Jr. (“An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Roots”) could be spotted talking to members of the press and taking pictures as they made their way down the red carpet.
Over a thousand people were in attendance including local elected officials who mingled with the stars, filmmakers and film fans. The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour that included hors d’oeuvres, dessert and non-alcoholic beverages. In addition, there were special discounted cocktails for sale. The ceremony was hosted by comedian Buddy Fitzpatrick, who did a great job keeping the crowd entertained and amused throughout the evening.
“We are very excited to have the film festival here for the second year in a row; very proud to have all the great partners in the Greenwood Lake community, all of our businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Warwick, Orange County, all of our Village employees – everybody did such a great job and we are very excited to host Louis Gossett, Jr., Martin Kove, Julie McCullough, Tia Carrere, and all the other great actors. It’s going to be a lot of fun this year. Great weather tonight,” said Village of Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer.
“What a nice evening this is for Greenwood Lake. I’m very happy to be here. Everyone looks great,” said Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton.
HIFF Chairman Kenneth Del Vecchio, who walked the red carpet with his wife, mother and son said, “The most exciting thing about the festival is having all of these legendary stars receive special awards and showcasing hundreds of independent film directors, films and screenwriters from all over the world who come to join us right here at the scenic Thomas P. Morahan Park in Greenwood Lake.”
The official premiere of the HIFF theme song and music video, “In The Building,” which was filmed at the Cove Castle in Greenwood Lake, was very well received. The video included HIFF Chairman Kenneth Del Vecchio and his son, Mari, Castle Cove staff, Village locals, actors, models, and many more. It was produced by Sony Red and Raise Em Up Records with vocals by recording artist Mike Flowerz and hooks by his wife, Latoya J. To purchase the HIFF theme song online for 99 cents visit www.raiseemuprecords.com.
“I’m so excited to be here, I really hope you all enjoy the song,” said Mike Flowerz.
“I’m so proud of my husband and all the work he’s done. He deserves this so much. It’s been a long time coming,” said Latoya J. Flowerz.
2018 HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award in Acting
The 2018 HIFF Lifetime Achievement in Acting Award was personally accepted by Brooklyn-born Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr., who is best known for his Academy Award winning role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film “An Officer and a Gentleman” and his role of Fiddler in the 1977 ABC television miniseries “Roots.”
The ever so humble and kind Gossett began acting at the age of 17 after suffering a sports injury that resulted in his decision to take an acting class. He made his first stage debut in a school production of “You Can’t Take It With You” and was encouraged by a high school teacher to audition for a Broadway play. That resulted in his selection for a starring role on Broadway in 1953. After graduating from the Abraham Lincoln High School in 1954, he received an offer to play basketball during his college years at NYU, but declined so he could concentrate on theatre.
The amount of talent, sacrifice and years of hard work that Gossett has contributed to the big screen is immense. He currently continues to work on several films, including “The Cuban,” an indie coming-of-age drama filmed in southern Ontario from S.N.A.P Films and Director Sergio Navarretta.
Gossett has founded the “Eracism Foundation,” a non-profit public benefit corporation, a movement he is very passionate about. With projects, philosophy and leadership championed through the Foundation, Gossett intends to provide training for youth and adults alike that enrich their lives by assisting them in setting the example for living a racially diverse and culturally inclusive life.
“The answer to racism is eracism,” says the star. Before he was presented with his award, a tribute video was played honoring Gossett’s extraordinary work and career. He received a standing ovation and his first words were, “Alright, everybody. Get down; give me fifty.” The crowd began to laugh.
“Thank you so much everybody. I am extremely grateful for this award. Thank you Ken and your staff. Thank you all for the hard work. I see you guys worked very hard to put together this film festival. I am very deeply grateful and humbled by all these years of getting this love. Back at you by the way,” said Gossett
When asked by this Dispatch reporter how he felt about receiving the honor he replied, “It’s nice to know that what you’ve done all these years is still appreciated by people.”
He also mentioned that he was no stranger to Greenwood Lake, having run the entire lake in the early 50s with former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson.
“There were no streets then,” he said.
For more information about the Eracism Foundation, visit www.eracismfoundation.org.
World Wide Premiere of ‘Never Heard’
The evening continued with the worldwide premiere screening of “Never Heard,” directed by Josh Webber. The movie is a must see criminal suspense roller coaster about a man who is wrongfully convicted of a murder, leaving his son’s destiny to be guided by a life of criminals, his family and God. The film stars David Banner, Robin Givens, Romeo Miller, Master P, Karrueche Tran, Dorien Wilson, Brian White, Dijon Talton, and Karen Abercrobie.
Check out HIFF’s best 2018 screenings all week long at the Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park, located at 7 Windermere Ave., at the Greenwood Lake Elks Lodge No. 2067, located at 35 Chestnut St., and at the Cove Castle, located at 13 Castle Ct. The best HIFF submissions this year will receive cash prizes in nearly ten categories at HIFF’s Gala Award Ceremony to be held on Thurs., May 24.
The Oscar-style awards ceremony will be hosted by Gilbert Gottfried. Actress Tia Carrere (“Waynes World”) will receive the Excellence in Acting Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing will be presented to legendary screenwriter Karen McCullah (“Legally Blonde,” “Girls Trip”).
For additional information on movies, showtimes and to purchase tickets for the closing night gala visit www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com.