The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center and
the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies present the

New Jersey International
Film Festival Summer 2017
Screening Schedule

Click Here For General Information

Cover Art: Kyle DeVaul x 3 byAlbert Gabriel Nigrin ©2017

Winners of the 2017 New Jersey International Film Festival
All the works that were part of the New Jersey International Film Festival Competition were selected by a panel of judges including media professionals, journalists, students, and academics. These judges selected the 22 finalists which were publicly screened at our Festival. The finalists were selected from 322 works submitted by filmmakers from around the world. In addition, the judges chose the Prize Winners in conjunction with the Festival Director.

Grand Prize Winners:

Winner Best Feature Film
Emma – Juan Pablo Martinez (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Winner Best Documentary Film
Levinsky Park – Beth Kruvant (South Orange, New Jersey)

Winner Best Short Film
The Ravens – Jennifer Perrott (Annandale, New South Wales, Australia)

Winner Best Animation Film
First Bloom – Tingting Liu (Nanjing, Jiang Su Province, China)

Honorable Mention Winners:
Glowworm – Laina Barakat (Marlborough, New Hampshire)
Don’t Think About It – Niv Klainer (New York, New York)
Church – Stephen Bodossian (Franklin, New Jersey)
Seppuku – Daryn Wakasa (Montebello, California)
Second Nature – Michael Cross (Seattle, Washington)
Kedi – Ceyda Torun (Istanbul, Turkey)
One Eightieth of Zhang Tianyi – Shuhan Fan (Glendale, California)
Passaic – Douglas Underdahl (Millburn, New Jersey)
I Am Still Here– Mischa Marcus (Los Angeles, California)
Strawman – Tian Xie (Alhambra, California)

Special Promotions and Events:
-All films screened as part of the New Jersey International Film Festival
are New Jersey or Area Premieres!
-Jimmy John’s of New Brunswick will be providing free food prior to all the
New Jersey International Film Festival Screenings!
-Free Parking in Rutgers University lots near the screening space!

Saturday-June 3-Voorhees Hall #105-5PM $12; $10; $9

Princess Bride: A Watchman’s Tale – Jeremiah Kaufman (Ramsey, New Jersey) 

In this music video, a prince finds himself on a medieval quest to rescue a princess bride and her beautiful maidens, who are being held captive on a mountaintop. 2017; 6 min. Special Guest Appearance by Writer Norman Kauman!

Tramcar Girl – Alex Tymchak, Dan Lewinstein, and Gerard Zarra (East Hanover, New Jersey)

In this charming story of summer love set on the Jersey shore, a “tramcar girl” spots a man buried up to his neck in sand on the beach.  The next day, as she drives her tramcar on the Wildwood Boardwalk, she spots him again. Will the sparks fly or not?  2017; 9 min. Special Guest Appearance by Directors Alex Tymchak, Dan Lewinstein, and Gerard Zarra!

Don’t Think About It – Niv Klainer (New York, New York)

Ron and Casey are expecting a child, but things get out of hand when they both try to protect each other from an inevitable break-up. 2016; 12 min.

Church – Stephen Bodossian (Franklin, New Jersey)

In this black comedy about the perils of trying to please prospective in-laws, Alan, a Jewish germaphobe, pretends to be Catholic, in order to appease his girlfriend's parents. 2016; 13 min.

Helping Hands – Justin Guerrieri (Middletown, New Jersey)

Hired as a production assistant, a young man slowly but surely realizes that making movies isn't always as magical as it seems. 2016; 16 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Justin Guerrieri!

Glowworm – Laina Barakat (Marlborough, New Hampshire)

When Emma decides to leave her life in the city, in order to shut down her late grandfather’s remote New England farm, she is inclined to sell everything. Upon arriving, she meets Pedro, her late grandfather's farmhand, who is determined to change her mind and help her say goodbye to the man she barely knew. 2017; 25 min. Special Guest Appearance by Actress Emma Barakat!

Saturday-June 3-Voorhees Hall #105-7PM $12; $10; $9
Seppuku – Daryn Wakasa (Montebello, California)

Mari, a young woman who holds the U.S. record for the fastest 400-meter time in track and field, is crushed to discover, just before the Olympic trials, that she has a potentially career-threatening injury. Not listening to her doctor or her mother’s advice, she pushes herself too far.  So far that the powers of nature thrust her into the depths of a psychological purgatory. While there, she meets her spiritual sidekick, who communicates through handwritten signs as she lures Mari deeper into her domain. 2016; 22 min.

Second Nature – Michael Cross (Seattle, Washington)
In this hilarious and timely indie comedy, a most unusual mayoral race is about to go down in the small town of Louisburg. One female candidate decides to fight the odds by taking on a womanizer who is running on the other ticket. One magic mirror may turn it all around. 2016; 80 min.
Special Guest Appearance by Director Michael Cross, Actor Carollani Sandberg, and Co-writer Edi Zanidache!

Sunday-June 4-Voorhees Hall #105-5PM $12; $10; $9

Karma – Zhaoyu Zhou (Los Angeles, California)

In this animated film, a boy meets a fish in a mysterious forest. 2017; 4 min.

Kedi –  Ceyda Torun(Istanbul, Turkey)

Hundreds of thousands of cats freely roam the streets of Istanbul, Turkey’s capital city.  Wandering in and out of people’s lives, they are an essential part of the small neighborhoods that make up the daily life of the city. Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame — and they bring joy and purpose to the caretakers who feed and look after them. Filmmaker Ceyda Torun presents endearing and intimate portraits of eight such cats and their caretakers. Closely following along, as the cats nimbly navigate their way through Istanbul’s streets, this tender-hearted documentary presents the city through the eyes of its most free-spirited citizens: its felines.  In Turkish, subtitled. 2017; 80 min. 
A Benefit Screening for the Scarlet Paws Animal Welfare Network (SPAWN)!

Sunday-June 4-Voorhees Hall #105-7PM $12; $10; $9

First Bloom
– Tingting Liu (Nanjing, Jiang Su Province, China)
This lovely animated film tells the story of the budding freindship between a servant and a princess in ancient China.  2017; 5 min.

One Eightieth of Zhang Tianyi – Shuhan Fan (Glendale, California)

When Zhang Tianyi, a 25-year-old graduate of the most prestigious law school in China, finds himself competing with 8 million other people for a new job in Beijing, he decides to make an outrageous career choice: he opens a small rice-noodle restaurant in his hometown in Hunan. Branding himself as a new “great leader” on social media, he soon attracts more than half a million followers. His unconventional success becomes a telling commentary on the struggles faced by China's millennial generation. In Chinese, subtitled. 2016; 19 min.
Strawman – Tian Xie (Alhambra, California)
This is the true story of one Chinese family living in a remote rural village. A family torn apart when a mother and father are forced to go to work in the city to make ends meet and leave their children behind. What follows is the struggle of the three children who are left to fend for themselves: in order to provide for his younger brother and sister, the eldest son decides to turn to a life of petty crime.  This is a true story about modern China: a place of newfound economic expansion that unflinchingly tramples over and forgets the detritus it leaves behind in its expanding wake.  In Chinese, subtitled. 2016; 74 min.
Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University Confucius Institute!

Saturday-June 10-Voorhees Hall #105-5PM $12; $10;$9

The Ravens – Jennifer Perrott (
Annandale, New South Wales, Australia)
When a young girl’s father returns unexpectedly from war, his volatile state makes it difficult for the family to reconnect.  His young daughter begins to project her anxieties onto a pair of ravens, who are vigilantly defending their nearby nest, and who become a catalyst for the troubled family's journey from crisis to healing. 2016; 22 min.
Emma – Juan Pablo Martinez (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
In this touching and meditative feature film, Juan works in a coal mine in Patagonia, Argentina. Anna, a young Polish woman, finds herself alone, after her husband, the only person in the country she knew, suddenly disappears. In their own ways, Anna and Pedro both live isolated from everyone and everything.  When a car accident unexpectedly brings them together, they begin, very slowly, to build a relationship. Perhaps their loneliness and disconnection from the world will allow them to save each other. In Spanish and Polish, subtitled. 2017; 76 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Juan Pablo Martinez and Lead Actress Sophia Rangone!

Saturday-June 10-Voorhees Hall #105-7PM $12; $10;$9

A Way Out – Gladys Bensimon (Hoboken, New Jersey)

A Way Out is a timely documentary about three young men from Newark, New Jersey, who successfully beat the odds that could have left them poor, incarcerated, or even dead...They beat those odds not by luck, but rather through the consistent support they were given and the opportunities they chose to pursue. Filmmaker Gladys Bensimon weaves together their compelling stories with incisive reflections on the historic, economic, and cultural roots of poverty, and on the history of racism and inequality in the U.S.. 2017; 53 min.
Special Guest Appearance by Director Gladys Bensimon!
Sistas Conversation – Shelley Titus (West Orange, New Jersey)
A lively documentary about a group of diverse women who take on topics that include the Black Lives Matter movement, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and the threat posed by ISIS. Sistas Conversation serves as a conversational time capsule of 2016. 2016; 64 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Shelley Titus!

Sunday-June 11-Voorhees Hall #105-5PM $12; $10; $9
Hijo Por Hijo (Child for Child) – Juan Avella (Los Angeles, California)

The life of a Venezuelan kidnapper is turned upside down when his own son is kidnapped by his latest victim’s father. In Spanish, subtitled. 2016; 11 min.

I Am Still Here– Mischa Marcus (Los Angeles, California)

I Am Still Here relays the harrowing story of a 10-year old girl named Layla, who was stolen from her family and thrown into America’s child sex industry. Stories of courage, drawn from interviews with trafficking survivors, are the foundation for this fictionalized account of Layla’s journey as she confronts the monsters of her past and embraces the hope of her future. 2016; 103 min.

Sunday-June 11-Voorhees Hall #105-7PM $12; $10; $9
Passaic – Douglas Underdahl (Millburn, New Jersey)

The son of an investigative journalist stumbles upon his late father’s last unsolved case – a murder that tore apart the gritty town of Passaic, NJ – and he needs to decide if he will dig back into the decades-old crime, to discover the truth behind the tragedy, in order to better understand his father and, ultimately, himself. Based on a true story. 2017; 15 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Douglas Underdahl  and Writer/Producer Michael Klausner!

Generations of Artists: Roosevelt, NJ – Ilene Dube (Princeton, New Jersey)

Ever since mural painter Ben Shahn was invited by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) in the 1930s to create a mural in Jersey Homesteads, this experimental rural farming community, now known as Roosevelt, New Jersey, has become a haven for potters, painters, musicians, and artists.  A loving portrait of a time, a town, and a creative New Jersey community.  2017; 20 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Ilene Dube!
Levinsky Park – Beth Kruvant (South Orange, New Jersey)
No country has been more historically indebted to refugees than Israel. Yet, in the Levinsky Park neighborhood of Tel Aviv, a community of sub-Saharan African refugees seeking freedom in a strange new country has found itself in a vexing clash between two cultures. The film provocatively ventures into the lives of the denizens of Levinsky Park, incisively capturing the mixed feelings of resentment, apprehension, and acceptance on the part of the established Jewish community along with the exhilaration and anxiety felt by the newest residents. A fascinating and nuanced portrait of one of the defining global issues of our time: refugee migration. In English and Hebrew, subtitled. 2016; 66 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Beth Kruvant!

General Information

5:00PM and 7:00 PM. Films are screened in the order listed.


Voorhees Hall #105, 71 Hamilton Street/College Avenue Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

NOTE: Our primary screening location, Voorhees Hall #105, features comfortable seats, stadium seating, and a state-of-the-art hi-definition projection and sound system. We can also provide listening assistive devices, without charge, to those who are hearing impaired.  Please contact us 48 hours prior to a screening so that we can arrange to have these listening assistive devices available for your use.

$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC Friends.
All films are subject to change. Call our information number 848-932-8482 the day of show to confirm titles.

Tickets are available on a “first-come-first-served” basis and can be purchased at the door beginning a half-hour before the start time.

Advance Tickets are available to groups of 2 or more only. We do advance sales using Paypal.Advance Tickets for screenings will need to be purchased up to the day before a screening unless they sell out. Go to  Use as the send money address. Tickets are $14 each in advance ($12+$2 processing fee). Include the names of those individuals that are coming in the memo box and the screening you are buying tickets for. We will have a list of those who pre-paid at the door. Advance Tickets are non-refundable.
Call or email us for more info on Advance Ticket sales.

Voorhees Hall #105=Take the NJ Turnpike to Exit 9 and then take Route 18N (New Brunswick direction) and go for 2 1/2 miles to the College Avenue Campus/George Street exit and make a left at the light at the end of the exit ramp onto George Street, then go to the next light and make a right onto Hamilton Street, then go to the next light and make a right onto College Avenue. Almost immediately on your right hand side there is an University Parking Lot (#9) which is made available for our patrons to park in. Voorhees Hall is adjacent to the Zimmerli Art Museum and is 100 paces across the Voorhees Mall from Parking Lot 9. Patrons can also park in Rutgers Lots #1 (next to Kirkpatrick Chapel) and #16 (next to Murray and Milledoler Hall).

Map and Directions are also here:

: Parking in the lots listed above are only for visitors to the University. Faculty, Staff, and Students must park only in lots they are authorized to park in.

New Jersey International Film Festival
Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center
Rutgers University Program in Cinema Studies
4170 Academic Building, 15 Seminary Place
New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901-8525 U.S.A.
(848) 932-8482 phone (732) 932-1935 fax;,  e-mail;
Web Site:

The 2017 New Jersey International Film Festival is funded and sponsored in part by The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center; The Rutgers University Program in Cinema Studies/School of Arts and Sciences; Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission/Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; The Rutgers University Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA Centers); The Rutgers University Office of Academic Engagement and Programming; Confucius Institute of Rutgers University;  The Rutgers University Zimmerli Art Museum; Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program; The Rutgers Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs; The Rutgers University American Studies Department;  The Rutgers University Italian Department; The Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Johnson & Johnson; Jungle Software; Jimmy Johns of New Brunswick; Dunkin’ Donuts; WCTC/WMGQ; WRSU; The Home News Tribune; The Asbury Park Press; New Brunswick City Market; The Rutgers University  Dean of Students; The Rutgers University Office of Community Affairs; The Rutgers University Digital Classroom Services Office; Design Ideas; Advanced Printing; Steven C. Schechter, Esq.; Share and Harris.




Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC 2017 Staff
Executive Director/Curator
: Albert Gabriel Nigrin
Office and House Managers: Brian DaSilva, Jake McNamara, John Noonan, Morgan Sanguedolce, Ezekiel Tek
Volunteers/Interns: Arunendra Banerjee, Shaka Barnes, Nicholas Bartelotti, Victor Del Rio, Laura Dengrove, Thomas Evans, Dayna Hagewood, Richard Hampson, Ori Manahan, Isobel Mancini, Shannon Ray, Joshua Reich, Austin Renna, Gina Shinella, John Slover, Alexandra Tangarife, and Tiffany Thomas
Advisors: Dr. John Belton, Bob Brodsky, Victoria Connor, Dr. Susan Martin-Marquez, Dr. Daniel Nigrin, Toni Treadway, and Dr. Alan Williams
Board of Trustees: Dr. Irene Fizer, Bill Harris, Albert Gabriel Nigrin, and Steven C. Schechter, Esq.

The New Jersey International Film Festival Summer 2017 is curated by Albert Gabriel Nigrin. Schedule Editor: Irene Fizer. Schedule compiler: Vic Fern. Schedule Designer:  Victoria Connor/Design Ideas. Schedule printed by Advanced Printing.  Cover Art: Kyle DeVaul x 3 by Albert Gabriel Nigrin ©2017.