Garden State Film Festival was all shorts – but long on pleasure

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The Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) presented “The Best Of” at the Croft Farm in Cherry Hill on Sunday, October 6th. It included six “shorts” from their much longer film festival.

The shorts were international in scope, ranging from Japan to France to Ireland to the USA. Some were poignant, some visionary, and some laugh- out-l oud funny. All were warm, heart-felt films, not in a superficial Hollywood ersatz “feel-good” way, but in a penetrating way that plumbed the deeper realms of the human psyche, human relationships, and most of all, the human condition.

The remarkable part is that all of the films were under 30 minutes long. Yet each said more and showed more about the human condition than most full-length feature films. 

As Diane Raver, co-founder and Executive Director of the GSFF said independent films are made by people who make films for the love of it, not for money, fame, or fortune. Independent films are to the film industry what organic farming is to the food industry.

The six shorts were “Admissions” (USA), “The Wednesdays” (Ireland), “Jerome’s Bouquet” (USA), “Un Peu Plus” (France and Ireland), “Miuki’s Wind Bells” (Japan), and “Death, Taxes & Apple Juice” (USA).

When asked by an acquaintance after the festival what my favorite short was, I finally went with “Admissions”, a deeply memorable film about the next stage after death, love, forgiveness, heaven and hell. And all this in 20 minutes!

While there probably won’t be an opportunity to view these films again, GSFF may offer another “Best of” festival, perhaps at Croft Farms; check their website at www.gsff.org There will be an opportunity to view a whole new slate of shorts and full-length films at their annual film festival to be held on March 19-22, 2015, in Atlantic City. 

GSFF is a non-profit organization that needs and wants donations and volunteers.

If you like movies that are not about gratuitous violence, sex, vulgar or slapstick comedy, or sappy romance, movies that make you think and feel deeply, that bring up a belly laugh or tears to your eyes, you will love what this organization offers.