The 17th Annual Garden State Film Festival is Proud To Present A Live Script Reading Of Its 2019 Screenplay Competition Winner And Several Stimulating Professional Panel Discussions

Asbury Park, NJ, March 18, 2019 - In addition to the over 245 fabulous films from around the globe screening throughout The 17th Annual Garden State Film Festival’s spectacular FIVE-DAY EVENT March 27-31st, GSFF is presenting the following informative and inspiring professional panel discussions. These lively discussions and workshops offer an array of fascinating topics related to film production and the industry.

They are being held at The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel at 1400 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park and The Jersey Shore Arts Center at 66 S. Main Street in Ocean Grove. The Screenplay Reading is FREE with the suggested donation of the purchase of a screening block ticket; all other panels are $15 in advance, $17 on site, and ARE included in the Festival’s weekend pass – truly the best way to enjoy GSFF!

Acquisitions Panel Discussion

Saturday March 30, 2019
9:45 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Berkeley Continental Room, 2nd Floor

Join industry pros including Arianna Bocco, EVP Acquisitions IFC Films and Chris Beaver, Director, Content Acquisition Showtime Networks, along with others as they give you the ins and outs of getting your film distributed. Ms. Bocco has spent nearly a decade overseeing acquisitions and productions for IFC Films, Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight, three multi-platform film distribution labels owned and operated by AMC Networks, Inc. She is revered for her vast experience in acquisitions, production and development, having held a variety of high-level posts throughout her career. Ms. Bocco was featured on last year’s Variety list of the 60 most powerful New Yorkers in the entertainment business.

GSFF’s Screenplay Competition (Free Reading)

Saturday March 30, 2019
12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, Oval Room 2nd Floor

Professional actors will perform a LIVE stage reading of “A Brooklyn Christmas” by Drew Henriksen, winner of the 2019 Garden State Film Festival Screenplay Competition. The cast features actors Ronnie Marmo, Brian O’Halloran and Garry Pastore. Also starring Anthony Patellis, Janine Molinari, Kerrianne Spellman, Nathan Sutton, Ashley Platz, Nick Falcone, Artie Pasquale, Joe Sernio, Michael Townsend Wright, Heather Brittain O’Scanlon, Elizabeth Ritacco, John Hedlund, Darryl Wey, Dominick Mancino, Nick Wey and Michael Tota. Drew is an accomplished writer of both novels, as well as award winning short films. He has supplemented his income by supervising a lab, teaching high school, as well as showing off his black belt in martial arts as a stunt work and fight coordinator in several films.

“A Brooklyn Christmas” is set on Christmas Eve when suave wise guy, Tony C., loses his life saving a young boy from being hit by a truck. He finds himself before Saint Peter who has taken the form of a dentist. In the heavenly office, we meet Horatio, a bungling apprentice angel. After his judgment, Tony and Horatio are sent back down to Brooklyn to help guide a young fireman Jerry through the season after losing his beloved wife. The Screenplay Reading is FREE with the suggested purchase of a screening block ticket $15 to be used over the GSFF weekend.

Animation Workshop

Thursday March 30, 2019
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Jersey Shore Arts Center, 1st Floor & Balcony

Hands-On Animation Workshop from flipbooks to stop motion, and everything in between. Hosted by award-winning Animator, Bruce Bertrand, President, Film Editor and CG Artist from Early Films. Bruce will give a demonstration of his work and various tools used to create animation and stop-motion. His experience spans independent shorts and feature films, broadcast news, corporate and non-profit, primarily as an editor and motion graphics artist. Bruce conducted the Youth Animation Workshop for first four years of The Garden State Film Festival.

Actors on Acting Panel

Saturday March 30, 2019
2:30 p.m.-3:30
Berkeley Oval Room, 2nd Floor

Veteran actors share the highs and lows of their climb to the top, including multiple award-winning actor August Diehl, who stars in GSFF’s opening film “The Bird Catcher,” and GSFF’s own former Rising Star, actor and producer Ronnie Marmo, along with actress Siobhan Fallon Hogan & Arthur Hakalahti who will talk about finding the truth as an actor, his approach on auditioning, and the industry as a whole. You won’t want to miss this inside scoop!

Your Face Doesn’t Lie Workshop

Sunday March 31, 2019
10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Berkeley Hotel Continental Room, 2nd Floor
Hosted by Dana Ketels, Body Language Expert and Coach and Actor Garry Pastore. Body language doesn’t lie. During this interactive panel you will get an introduction to micro expressions, micro movements on your own and other people’s faces. Discover the link between those micro movements and typecasting. This will enable you to recognize and understand nonverbal behavior. This skill will help to make your headshots, dialogues and auditions more effective. You will work in pairs during one of the exercises so one of your fellow actors can give you feedback about your micro movements on your face during a conversation, so you will understand your nonverbal impact on others.

Creating and Protecting Your Legacy
(Follows Film “Right Time, Right Place: The Jim Hickey Story)

Sunday March 31, 2019
Berkeley Kingsley Ballroom, 1st Floor

We are creating our legacy every day. Broadcast & media companies are evolving and making rapid transitions for the 21st century. Learn how to build and protect your legacy from a panel of professional media experts.


Jim Hickey | Award winning journalist
Hollis Towns | Executive Editor/VP News Asbury Park Press
Andrea Smith | Award winning news & technology journalist
Michael Corsey | Monmouth University Marketing & Communications
Moderator | Susan Pellegrini

Now in its 17th year, the Garden State Film Festival, is New Jersey's premier independent film festival® and was founded to promote the art of filmmaking on all levels by showcasing a wide variety of film, video and animated works, as well as provide educational programs in the creative arts to the public by industry leaders.

The Festival’s events are listed along with the complete film-screening schedule on the GSFF’s website at:

GSFF anticipates over 20,000 attendees this year and promises its most exciting event yet! For more information, please visit


About The Garden State Film Festival:
The Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) was envisioned by 25-year film industry veteran Diane Raver and the late Hollywood actor Robert Pastorelli in 2002 and launched the following year. Since 2003, thousands of films have made their public premieres, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have attended; and the total infusion of cash to local businesses since inception exceeds $5million. It is held in Asbury Park and surrounding area. The GSFF is a 501-c-3non--profit organization. For more information about the Garden State Film Festival, contact:

For social media updates on the GSFF, please visit the sites below: