Pre-Oscar Party Fundraiser for the Montclair Film Festival.
The Third annual Pre-Oscar party took place last Saturday, Feb. 23, in Montclair in order to raise money for the upcoming Montclair Film Festival this spring.
Over 250 people were in attendance at the Pre-Oscar Party from 7:30 – 11 p.m at the Loft, located in downtown Montclair. With a mix of contemporary jazz, and new age electronic music playing, patrons watched previews of Oscar nominees, ate finger food, drank, vied for raffle prizes and got their picture taken on the “red carpet.”
Several volunteers from surrounding towns moved throughout the room while serving drinks and food, and accommodating the needs of anyone who required it. Event photographers were numerous, ensuring the event was well represented.
The raffle prizes from the Pre-Oscar Party ranged from tickets to “The Colbert Report,” “The Daily Show” and “Kelly and Micheal Live” V.I.P. passes, to classic movie and e-book bundles and tickets to Shakespeare at the North Jersey Theater.
The event had several sponsors including Audi, Investors Bank and American Express. Blue J Syrups, one of the sponsors who debuted their product, joined several other sponsors in contributing to the nights festivities. Almost all of the food at the event was donated by local eateries and stores.
Members of the board were amongst the crowd in attendance: Bob Feinberg, co-founder and chairman of the board; Meredith Ladov, general manager; and festival directors Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers.
“It’s been phenomenal,” said Beth Hart, community director of the festival. “We’ve garnered so much support in so little time.”
Feinberg, who has been on the committee since the beginning, took the microphone halfway through the party to deliver a speech about the progression of the festival and the Pre-Oscar party. “If we tried having a party like this 3 years ago, we would only have two people,” said Feinberg.” We’ve grown fast, and we’ve grown smart. I’ve visited Sundance Film Festival, and it’s almost the same as Montclair Film Festival. Now I have filmmakers coming up to me asking to show their films at Montclair.”
The comparison between the Montclair Film Festival and Sundance was made by many of the patrons throughout the night. The slogan of the MFF (coined by Stephen Colbert and John Stewart) captures that feeling, stating “It’s Sundance only Jersier,” which was written on t-shirts and other items being sold at the party.
Feinberg stressed the qualities of the film festival: community, culture and cinema, themes that were prevalent in the crowd and atmosphere.
There were more tickets sold this year than the last two years, and the amount of members who are party of the festival have grown by the hundreds.
Montclair is a prime area for a festival with nearly 20 local theaters and Montclair State University, which last Sunday premiered the Oscar shorts to a strong crowd.
The Montclair Film Festival will take place from April 29 – May 5, 2013. With the strong presence of sponsors and donors at the pre-Oscar party, the board is hopeful that this festival will be the largest and most successful in the festival’s history.