Ocean County Filmmakers Selected For Local Film Festival

Behind the scenes of Let’s Talk. (Photo courtesy Stephanie Angel)

  BRICK – Two residents of Brick Township will have their respective films showcased at this year’s Garden State Film Festival, March 21 to 24.

  New Jersey’s Premier Independent Film Festival returns for its 22nd anniversary with screenings in different locations throughout Asbury Park.

  The Garden State Film Festival celebrates the independent film genre, curating a selection of original works from locally produced filmmakers and moviemakers from around the world.

  “The upcoming 2024 Festival returns to experience 200 films from over 14 countries over four days in eight venues hosting parties, professional panels, events, special honors and more,” Lauren Concar Sheehy, the festival’s Executive Director, said.

  Secret of the Strings Part II, directed by Brick resident John Caccamo, will screen on March 23 at 11:45 a.m. at the Asbury Hotel.

 In Secret of the Strings Part II, “a young man who is eager to learn the way of the guitar takes a strange lesson that changes his life forever.”

Behind the scenes of Let’s Talk. (Photo courtesy Stephanie Angel)

  Caccamo is a graduate of the Montclair film program and has worked professionally in the film industry for about five years.

  “I am always looking to create films that subvert audience expectations. My goal with this film was to create an entertaining short with only a few hundred dollars and I believe we have succeeded,” Caccamo said. “I am always looking to expand my skill sets in directing. I was also fortunate enough to direct a web series pilot created by Raven Smith that will be premiering at the Garden State Film Festival.”

  “The best part about working in this industry is meeting new people who push each other creative limits,” Caccamo added.

  Secret of the Strings Part II was shot at the Art Factory in New Jersey and only took one day to film. The post-production for this project only took about a month to complete,” Caccamo said.

  In addition, Let’s Talk, directed by Brick resident Stephanie Angel, will screen on March 24 at 12:15 p.m. at the Berkeley Hotel, Kingsley Room.

  The film follows Nora, a 9-year-old girl with a brain tumor, who plays a therapist and helps other kids through their challenges, including another girl who also has a brain tumor.

  Angel is the founder of Angelight Films, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit production company that produces short films with children who have brain and spinal cord tumors, giving them the chance to create and star in their own short film. 

Stills from the film Secret of the Strings Part II. (Photo courtesy John Caccamo)

  “To date, I have directed 12 and produced 14 Angelight Films. I created this nonprofit in honor of my younger sister, Ilana, who died from a brain tumor when she was five and I was seven,” Angel said.

  Angel has more than 20 years’ experience on mainstream feature films, television series, music videos, documentaries and commercials. In 2018, Angelight Films received the 2018 Broader Vision Award for Film Making Dedicated to the Greater Good presented by The Garden State Film Festival.

  “Let’s Talk was filmed in Manhattan at a real therapist’s office. We filmed all of the therapy sessions in two days in January 2023. In November we also filmed the part where Nora dances in the park at Untermeyer Gardens Conservancy in New York as well as her walking to work in Hastings NY. Our Angelight Films production office is located on Mantoloking Road in Brick. The edit, now that was the most time-consuming part and took months,” Angel said.

Stills from the film Secret of the Strings Part II. (Photo courtesy John Caccamo)

  The Garden State Film Festival offers several categories for films and filmmakers of all kinds, including feature length and short films, documentaries, comedies, children’s, thrillers, pilots, student films and “Home-Grown” films shot in NJ.

  “It is wonderful to see our filmmakers live where they work, and to fulfill their creative dreams,” Concar Sheehy said. “And since New Jersey offers so many different kinds of locations and settings; mountains, beaches, cities, farms and more, we see Jersey appearing in so many different kinds of films.”

   “The GSFF is action-packed and there is something for everyone!  Come one, come all, it only happens once a year and we don’t want you to miss it,” Founder Diane Raver said.

  For tickets and more information, visit gsff.org.