New Jersey Film Festival to be held virtually once again because of pandemic
A tradition that film fans around New Jersey look forward to every year will be going all-virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Normally held on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University, the New Jersey Film Festival will take place online since campus gatherings are not allowed.
Rutgers film professor Al Nigrin founded the festival in 1982. He first pivoted the twice-yearly showcase for features, shorts and documentaries online for the fall 2020 edition.
“Literally we will be 40 years old come this fall. It’s crazy that I’ve been running this thing since then. But it’s a labor of love. You do what you love to do,” Nigrin says.
Nigrin says that the mission of the festival is to connect filmmakers and film fans. He says that this can be achieved even if everyone is watching the films from home.
The festival features around 40 films, including “The WBGO Story: Bright Moments from Newark to the World,” by filmmaker Chris Daniels. The film tells the story of WBGO radio’s humble origins and its rise against the odds to become a jazz powerhouse in Newark.
“You don’t have to be a celebrity superstar. I wanted it to be about regular people getting together and doing something positive,” Daniel says.
Daniels, a lifelong jazz fan, says that he began shooting the project in 2018. It debuts at the festival on Saturday.
The festival runs from Jan. 30 through Feb. 21, with tickets available for purchase on the festival’s website.