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By Mark Bell | July 16, 2014

Running August 22-23, 2014 in Oaklyn, New Jersey, the first annual Reel East Film Festival has announced that filmmaker John Sayles will be making a guest appearance, among other programming highlights. From the official press release:

The Reel East Film Festival (REFF), a premiere event in South Jersey to be held on August 22-23, 2014 at the historic Ritz Theatre in Oaklyn, NJ, is proud to announce the appearance of John Sayles. Noted filmmaker (Return of the Secaucus 7, The Brother from Another Planet, Matewan, Passion Fish, and Lone Star) and novelist (Los Gusanos, A Moment in the Sun) Sayles will appear on Saturday, August 23 at 8 pm for a screening of his new film, Go For Sisters, with a post-screening discussion. Tickets for this event, and other festival films, may be purchased here.

Along with our features, REFF is looking for exciting and unique short films, 40 minutes or under, to present to a fresh regional audience. The deadline for submissions is July 20, 2014. To submit, please visit our submissions page.

Presented by the County of Camden, Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies, and Rutgers-Camden Film Studies, REFF is seeking narrative, documentary, experimental, or animated short film submissions under 40 minutes in length for inclusion in one of our short film programs. International submissions are also welcomed.

Student films from colleges and universities worldwide are also invited to submit for our students series. Both the short film and student short film programs will be in competition for several awards, including an Audience Award, to be presented on the second day of the festival.

About REFF:

The first annual Reel East Film Festival is honored to bring independent and upcoming feature films and shorts to Camden County and greater South Jersey.

As the birthplace of cinema, New Jersey continues to produce and inspire great movies. Located just miles from Philadelphia, the first annual REFF is a premiere summer festival of the Delaware Valley. This event will feature screenings of new and classic films, discussions, and workshops.

Attendees can look forward to meeting regional and visiting filmmakers over the course of two days/nights in August. A weekend festival, REFF serves area residents, visitors, students, local businesses, and the regional film community. Committed to a global perspective and the power of storytelling, the festival will feature independent films of all levels and genres. We’re proud to offer an insider’s view of a democratic industry.

Along with John Sayles and Go For Sisters, theFeature Program includes:

  • Diagram for Delinquents, the theatrical premiere of a new documentary on comic book censorship, from South Jersey filmmaker Robert A. Emmons, Jr. (Goodwill: The Flight of Emilio Carranza [2007], De Luxe: The Tale of Blue Comet [2009]) who will appear for a post-screening discussion.
  • Going Attractions, the new film by April Wright that chronicles America’s unique tradition of drive-in movies, to be screened just miles from the drive-in’s birthplace in Camden, NJ.
  • Stephen King “Dollar Baby” Short Films – a program of adaptations of short works by the master of horror.
  • Brotherhood of the Popcorn, the latest from filmmaker Inda Reid that documents a group’s 35-year tradition of meeting to celebrate the silver screen.

Reel East Film Festival Awards (for Short Films)

Audience Award – Voted on by festival audience, the Audience Award posses the critical validation of the viewing public. The Audience Award is often a filmmaker’s most coveted prize at festivals.

Best of Festival Prizes (3)

1. Edison Prize – The festival’s top prize. The invention of cinema was a global effort. On American shores, particularly in the Garden State, no name is more synonymous with film’s birth than Thomas Alva Edison. With the critical assistance of early film pioneers and technicians like William Dickson, Edison presented the world with the kinetoscope and the Black Maria Studio. And soon the world was captured by the magic of motion pictures.

2. Porter Prize – An employee of Edison’s, Edwin S. Porter directed over 250 films throughout his career as a writer, director, cinematographer, and producer. Porter was an innovative and inventive filmmaker. His most well-known film, The Great Train Robbery (1903), is a critical American film that pioneered new techniques in production and editing that we still see in today’s movies.

3. Goodwin Prize – Hannibal Goodwin is a largely forgotten but crucial name in American film history. In a modest house in Newark, NJ, Reverend Goodwin invented transparent flexible celluloid film for roller cameras. Goodwin’s patent application was submitted in 1887, two years before George Eastman’s celluloid film patent, but remained unissued as it underwent several amendments. Goodwin died in 1900, but in 1913 he was posthumously vindicated when it was ruled that Goodwin’s patent had been infringed upon by Eastman.

Achievement in Student Filmmaking Prizes (2)

1. Audacity Prize – Awarded to the student film that demonstrates a unique vision and a willingness to take risks in order to further film as an art form.

2. Jury Prize – Awarded to the student film that demonstrates extraordinary achievement in film.



Purchase Tickets Here (Festival pass available)


Short Film Submissions at FilmFreeway (Fee: $15, Students: $10)

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