Unique Three-Day Event Held in Manasquan from January 27-29;

Presented by Garden State Film Festival and Algonquin Arts Theatre

MANASQUAN, N.J.– New Jersey native Andy Milkis’ feature documentary ‘5,6,7,8’ won the audience choice award as “Pick of the Flicks,” besting the other 37 films competing in the first annual Kidz Filmz at Algonquin Arts Theatre.

Chronicling a year with a New York State dance company, the film also won Best Feature Documentary as Sunday’s award ceremony wrapped up three days of great films.

“There’s something kind of magical, really, about the film festival environment, having the filmmakers here and all of the question and answer sessions that happen,” Milkis told The Asbury Park Press. “It’s a great opportunity, especially for kids, to get to see who makes the movies.”


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A joint venture between Algonquin Arts Theatre and the Garden State Film Festival, the festival was created with the mission to provide educational enhancement as well as an outlet for creativity and enrichment through the presentation of films that are the very finest in entertainment for the young and young at heart. 

“The weekend could not have been more perfect,” said Diane Raver, founder of the Garden State Film Festival. “Manasquan and the Algonquin Arts Theatre, my movie house as a child, proved to be a fantastic venue because it is in a great family area with so many creative filmmakers.”

Almost 1,000 people attended across seven blocks of film and a workshop. After each screening block, filmmakers answered questions from audience members about all aspects of filmmaking from budgets to the creative process.

Films competed in two categories, overall and homegrown, with Wall’s Cari Fletcher of “X Factor” finalists Lakoda Rayne on hand to award certificates to the winners.

Homegrown winners included:

  • Best Homegrown Short: “Monster Goo” directed by Michael Fromm of Englishtown and produced by Cyd Katz of Manalapan
  • Best Homegrown Music Video, High School: “Love Will Tear Us Apart” directed by Kevin Woods of Communications High School
  • Best Homegrown Short, High School: “Too Shy” directed by Ryan Hutchins of Wall
  • Best Homegrown PSA, Middle School: “George Washington Vacations in New Jersey” from Toms River East Intermediate School
  • Best Homegrown Short, College Student: “Apollonia” by Jenna A. Bush of Manalapan

In addition to “5,6,7,8,” overall winners include:

  • Best TV Pilot, High School Student: “The Drama” from directors Mathew Grodsky and Joe Flowers
  • Best Short: “Tick Tock Time Emporium” from direct Morgan Faust
  • Best International Short: “What Makes Me Happy : Tung’s Film, Vietnam” from The Ragdoll Foundation and director Annie Gibbs via Vietnam
  • Best International Short, Middle School Student: “Play Lunch” from director Cassandra Nguyen and producer Tamara Small of Australia
  • Best Short Animation, Graduate Student: “Strange Tale of Billy Barker” from director Jana Johnson.
  • Best Short Animation, Cell Animation, Middle School Student: “My License” from Waffle Films and director/producer  Elizabeth Herrick
  • Best Short Animation, Claymation, College Student: “The Minstrel and the Duck” directed by Stephan Leeper and Luke Nimtz
  • Best International Short Animation, Claymation: “For a Fistful of Snow” from director/producer Julien Ezri of Switzerland
  • Best International Short Animation, Cell Animation: “The Ghostwriter” directed and produced by Joey Agbayani from the Philippines

Plans are currently underway for Kidz Filmz to return in January 2013 and submission information for filmmakers will be distributed later this spring following the 10th Annual Garden State Film Festival from March 22-25 in Asbury Park. Visit algonquinarts.org/kidzfilmz or gsff.org for more information. 

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...