Story by Lourice Angie
The glamorous feel of Hollywood, with all the lights, cameras and action, was the scene at the Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park in Greenwood Lake NY on Thurs., May 24 for the Hoboken International Film Festival’s (HIFF) closing night Awards Ceremony, hosted by comedian Gilbert Gottfried.
Actress, model, voice actress, and singer Tia Carrere, who obtained her first big break as a regular on the daytime soap opera General Hospital, accepted the HIFF 2018 Excellence in Acting Award. Carrere’s engaging smile and easygoing personality made her very approachable as she spoke to fans.
When asked how she felt about receiving the award she responded saying, “I can’t believe I was chosen to receive this award. I really don’t know what to say. I’m not worthy,” as she jokingly quoted a line from the movie Wayne’s World.
“I would have gotten down on my knees when I got here if I wasn’t wearing this gown,” said Carrere. “I‘m currently working on my music and will be going on tour with my new band. Greenwood Lake is absolutely beautiful, it seems peaceful and very exotic to me.”
Screenwriter Karen McCullah received the 2018 HIFF Lifetime Achievement in Writing Award. McCullah said she rarely returns to New Jersey apart from class reunions, but was thrilled to be in Greenwood Lake.
McCullah said, “Greenwood Lake is beautiful and I’m having a lot of fun.”
Other stars attending the closing night ceremony included Joyce Dewitt, most famous for her role of Janet on the 1980s sitcom, “Three’s Company.”
Dewitt gave Greenwood Lake raving reviews saying, “I love it here. Greenwood Lake is such a beautiful Village. The people here are so kind and gracious. The lovely people who run and own the New Continental, which is where we’re staying at, wrap you in their arms and they take you in. This Village does that, it brings you in so invitingly and graciously.”
Actress, model and standup comedian Julie McCullough sported a steampunk inspired look at the film festival this year. She said that she was driven to become a part of the HIFF family and has now become the HIFF Ambassador because of all the amazing people and, of course, the location.
“Last year, I spent the entire festival week in Greenwood Lake. I wasn’t just impressed with the Village, I was enamored with it. This year, I am again enamored. I have stayed the full festival week and my feelings of excitement and praise have remained constant,” said McCullough. “Every festival day, I spent my time travelling to each screening location and each location had something special to offer.”
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried was back again to host the film festival for the eighth year. He immediately took to comedy while on stage at the awards ceremony saying, “Well, now we can all say we made it in show business. We’re big enough to come to Greenwood Lake, New York.” In addition to the well known stars, some of the world’s leading independent filmmakers and actors were presented awards and cash prizes for each of the films nominated in multiple categories.
Festival Chairman Ken Del Vecchio said that organizers worked closely with the Village of Greenwood Lake this time around. They made a priority of getting the word out about the local eateries and hotels. According to G.L. Mayor Jesse Dwyer, the Village did see an increase in revenue this year and many businesses benefited from the increased traffic.
Del Vecchio expressed being very content having Greenwood Lake host the festival, and says he would like to possibly renew his contract after next year, the third year of a three-year contract.
“There is no better way to kick off the good weather season in Greenwood Lake than having great events every weekend. It’s great seeing stars walking around our downtown such as Louis Gossett, Jr., Martin Cove, Julie McCullough, and many others. Movies were shown all week at the beach, Cove Castle and our very own Elks Lodge. The Chamber hosted a hilarious and entertaining Comedy Night at the beach which brought a great crowd to see some very talented (and famous) comedians. I’m looking forward to next year,” said Dwyer.
For additional photos of HIFF’s opening and closing night ceremonies visit www.wvdispatch.com or visit the Warwick Valley Dispatch Facebook page.