Golden Door Film Festival Promises Glitz, Glamour, and Great Flicks

Jersey City is getting its annual “taste of Hollywood” this weekend as the Golden Door Film Festival brings a bevy of films, parties and movie glamour to the neighborhood.

The festival, which began yesterday and will run through Sunday, Oct. 13, features over 60 independent films from all over the globe at five locations around the city–the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Journal Square, Art House Productions, Parlay Studios, Panepinto Galleries and the Brightside Tavern.

“It’s bigger and better,” said Bill Sorvino, President and Founder of the festival. “We’ve expanded a lot. There are more films, better quality, better program. It’s gonna be a big party.”

The event kicked off last night with a red carpet opening gala at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, followed by a screening of The Fix starring Armand Assante, Kresh Novakovic and Luca Pierucci. Assante, an Emmy winning actor, is honored with the festival’s Lifetime Achievement award this year. Also featured last night was a screening of Fall To Grace, a documentary about former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, who is now the head of Jersey City’s Employment and Training Commission, followed by a Q&A session with McGreevey answering audience questions about the film from the stage.

Each day of screenings will be followed by an after-party where the audience can meet the filmmakers, film industry experts, the GDFF team and like-minded film aficionados. Student category entries include several from local Jersey City film students from New Jersey City University as well as others from around the world. Maniac, a short film starring Jersey City’s own Bill Sorvino is making its way around the festival circuit and will be screened at the Golden Door Film Festival. On Sunday, filmmakers will enjoy a brunch at GP’s Restaurant on Hamilton Park–a nice way to network, relax, and just spend time together after all the running around of the weekend, Sorvino said. Awards will be presented at the Closing Night ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 13 at the Loew’s beginning at 6 pm.

The festival is one that is becoming well known in the industry, every year getting “a touch more glamorous,” according to Sorvino. “It’s growing in its stature in terms of the industry…Everybody knows about the festival.”

And the industry recognition, he said, is the biggest satisfaction right now. “You need them to know about it in order to get the quality films, the standing, legitimacy, so that it’s considered one of the top-tier festivals,” he says.

The goal of turning it into one of the top-tier festivals is right in line with the new city administration’s vision for the city. Just this week, city officials introduced a new film ordinance to encourage filmmaking in Jersey City. Mayor Steven Fulop will be making the official announcement at the film festival.

“I love [the new ordinance] because the whole concept of the film festival was to give Jersey City a platform to show itself as a great filmmaking area in its own right,” said Sorvino. “We have all these different types of places that can mimic New York or some industrial place in the Midwest.”

“I feel that we’re going to be the top festival of New Jersey,” he added. “If we’re not already.”

For more information, admission fees, screening locations and the full film schedule, visit the Golden Door Film Festival website.

Lana Diaz

is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Hudson Reporter, Jersey City Magazine, 07030, Palisade Magazine, and other publications. As a Wordsmith, she currently hosts various events around the area. For more information, visit