The festival kicks off this Friday, June 1 with a free presentation of the crime thriller Polycarp at Pier A park and culminates with a gala awards night at the Stevens Institute of Technology on Thursday, June 7.
Those hoping to see a little Hollywood up close can catch events hosted by Danny Aiello (see sidebar for events), Artie Lange and others.
Although Hoboken has hosted other film festivals over the years, none have had the scope of this year's festival, which boasts over 70 independent films to be screened at historic Stevens Institute or at Pier A. Hoboken was picked as the host town by former resident and filmmaker Ken Del Vecchio, who is the chairman of the Hoboken International Film Festival.
Del Vecchio is passionate about films and hopes to share some of that enthusiasm with the thousands of people who are expected at the festival.
"I think every movie has something to offer," said Del Vecchio. "It could be that the movie has a message, it could entertain, it could bring back a memory, or spark an emotion."
There is wide selection of films - everything from comedy to thriller to documentary to film short from international filmmakers to well-known locals.
According to Del Vecchio, there were roughly 2000 films submitted for the festival, which were each screened no less than three times by the rigorous jury.
A little over a dozen of the films to be shown are special screenings that are not part of the competition. One such movie is Del Vecchio's film Polycarp, which is a free screening. Del Vecchio said that he didn't want any conflict of interest. Any panel judge or film festival chairperson was excluded from the competition. Del Vecchio said that while not every film was to his personal taste, if three people on the panel gave it an eight or a nine (out of 10 possible points) it got into the festival.
Del Vecchio, who is also a writer and a lawyer, said that moviemaking is the ultimate collaboration. He cited many components that make up a good picture such as solid acting, directing, and producing. "However, if you don't have a good script, you have nothing," said Del Vecchio.
Hollywood in Hoboken
According to Del Vecchio, it was only natural to bring the festival to Hoboken. "Hoboken is, without a doubt, the artistic capital of New Jersey," said Del Vecchio.
Yet, he can't take all the credit for deciding to bring the festival to town. Del Vecchio said that Hoboken Police Captain Anthony Falco Sr. was the first person who asked Del Vecchio to bring his festival to Hoboken.
Both Del Vecchio and Falco discussed the idea with Mayor David Roberts and Geri Fallo, the director of cultural affairs, who wholeheartedly loved the idea.
The rest is Hoboken history in the making, as the city readies itself for the a little "Hobie" magic.
"Think Oscars," said Del Vecchio. "[The awards ceremony] will run in the same way as the Oscars."
In addition to the screenings and gala, there are several star studded events throughout the week, including a keg party and screening of Beer League with Artie Lange.
That event, which is on Saturday, June 2 at the Sheraton in Weehawken, includes a private cocktail party with Artie Lange, plus a stand-up comedy act with him before the film is shown.
Before the speeches and the awards ceremony, ticket holders will have the chance to mingle with the stars of the festival at an elegant cocktail hour at the Babbio Center at Stevens on Thursday, June 7 at 7 p.m.
After the pre-party kick-off, guests will arrive at DeBaun Auditorium for the awards ceremony. The night includes past Oscar and Emmy award winners and nominees who will present awards to the rising stars of this year's festival.
Some of the standard categories include: best actor/actress, best feature, best screenplay and others. Many of the awards include a cash prize, including a $1,000 prize for Best Feature.
In addition, two-time Academy Award winner Charles Durning will accept a Lifetime Achievement Award at the gala.
Del Vecchio said that people should more than get their money's worth, with many of the screenings and seminars priced at $9.
Tickets to attend the screenings and events can be purchased at several locations in town and from the website: www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com.
But hurry! Several of the screenings are already sold out.
"When I created the festival, I wanted it to be the best festival in New Jersey," said Del Vecchio. "I never knew it would take off. Some of the films in this festival - you aren't going to see anywhere."
The Hoboken International Film Festival runs from Friday, June 1 thru Thursday, June 7. For more information, visit: www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com. Special screening, Q&A, and concert by Danny Aiello
Hoboken gets star power with renowned actor Danny Aiello, who will personally host the screening of three of his hit movies, Dinner Rush, 2 Days in the Valley, and 29th Street on Sunday, June 3. Aiello, who has adopted Hoboken as his home way from home, volunteered to be involved in this year's festival and chose smaller films that have personal meaning to him.
"They happen to be my favorite movies that I've done," said Aiello at a recent interview at his favorite Hoboken restaurant, Tutta Pasta. "The reason I like them is because [the roles] are as close to Danny Aiello as I am."
Audiences will have the chance to see Aiello's work in the new film, The Shoemaker, which was directed by Tony Marsellis, written by Susan Charlotte, and stars Aiello and actress Judith Light.
This short is the first part of a trilogy titled, The Broken Sole Trilogy. The first part tells the story of a shoemaker (Aiello) who is frantic to close his shop early, while a woman is desperate for him to keep the shop open. Meanwhile, a pair of shoes sits on a shelf awaiting the return of the owner, who will never come back for them on the morning of 9/11.
Aiello said that he is pleased to spend the day in Hoboken and he will be happy to answer questions in between the screenings.
"I love this town. I love its youthfulness," said Aiello. "It's such an exciting and alive community and I'm alive and exciting."
Those in attendance will witness a new side to Aiello - his talents as a singer. Guests will get a sneak peek at Aiello's new video from an upcoming album that will soon be shown on MTV and VH1. Afterward, Aiello and his eight-piece orchestra will perform a private concert.
According to Aiello, the switch to music wasn't unusual.
"As an actor, I build characters based on music," said Aiello. "I see in my mind the music that goes along with a character. In my heart of hearts, I hear the music."
Dinner Rush is the first film that will be screened at 2 p.m. at Burchard Auditorium on Sunday, June 3, followed by 2 Days in the Valley. At 6 p.m., 29th Street will be screened at DeBaun Auditorium followed by The Shoemaker.
After the screening, there is a Q&A with Aiello and the filmmakers, followed by the private concert. For more information, visit the festival website. - DS
Film Festival screenings and events
Note: please see website for details, exact time slots & locations. Polycarp, Rad Racers, 8:30 p.m., Fri.
Hell on Wheels, Darius Goes West, noon, Sat.
Medal of Honor, Cherry Bloom, The Pros & Cons of Breathing, 2 p.m., Sat.
Tommy the Kid, Norman Rockwell's World, 2 p.m., Sat.
And So Life Goes On, Rendezvous, Hajime, 4 p.m., Sat.
Aids Inc., 6 p.m., Sat.
Beer Leaguescreening with Artie Lange, 7 p.m., Sat.
Fingerprints, 4 Shadows Cast from Confusion, 8 p.m., Sat.
Tinsel Town, Something Borrowed- Something Blew, 10 p.m., Sat.
Animal People, Smith & Mike on a Tuesday, noon, Sun.
Dinner Rush, 2 p.m., Sun.
2 Days in the Valley, 4 p.m. Sun.
Get Thrashed, 29th Street, The Shoemaker, 6 p.m. Sun.
Rules for Men, Holier Than Thou, 8 p.m., Sun.
The House is Burning, 10 p.m., Sun.
Love in the Age of Dion, Mafiosa, noon, Mon.
Hidden Treasure, Rhyme Animal, 2 p.m., Mon.
Shooting Roebling, 4 p.m., Mon.
Chasing the Lotus, Busboys, 6 p.m., Mon.
On Broadway, Salted Nuts, Take Out, Should Heaven Fall, 8 p.m., Mon.
Pride & Loyalty, Blink, 10 p.m., Mon.
Escola De Samba, Erie Road, noon, Tue.
Disquiet, Lily, 2 p.m., Tue.
Caimon De Carga, North of Providence, Little Claus & Big Claus, 4 p.m., Tue.
The Little Gorilla, AWOL, Anna, 4 p.m., Tue.
The Power of Community..., Creating Ustava, 6 p.m., Tue.
Mike Marino..., Y Que Cumplas Muchos Mas, The Magic Man, 8 p.m., Tue.
White Chicks Incorporated, ?OM, 10 p.m., Tue.
The 6 Day Bicycle Races, A Walk in the Park, Letter to You, noon, Wed.
Man on the Bottom, Home For Good, 2 p.m., Wed.
Parting Words, 4 p.m., Wed.
The Drum Beats Twice, I'm No Stud, 6 p.m., Wed.
The List, The Pink Conspiracy, 8 p.m., Wed.
Strictly Background, 10 p.m., Wed.
Gala Awards, 7 p.m., Thurs.