Croft Farms Art Center host The Best of Garden State Film Festival

Joshua Sodicoff, For Eastside

The Best of Garden State Film Festival marks one of the first parts of the Fall into the Arts series of events, which was held at the Croft Farms Art Center at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct 12. The viewing featured six unique short films, previously shown at the Garden State Film Festival. Many residents of the town came to the park to celebrate the artists’ creativity for the event.

Mrs. Melinda Kane, of the Town Council, said, “Cherry Hill is the only town with a dedicated arts department in Camden County.”

Kane strongly recommended that every student take advantage of this event and get out into the community to experience the fine arts.

First to be premiered was “The Wednesday’s”, directed by Conor Ferguson. It was the delightful, though bittersweet tale of an elderly couple who tried new ways to revive youth and vigor into their dreary lives. During several points in the film, the entire center echoed with the audience’s laughs.

Second played was the film “Admissions” by John Viscount, which is a somber tale of life, death and forgiveness. It highlighted the controversy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict head-on and told personal stories of those affected by the hate. The film ended with a call to create a Department of Peace in order to promote and secure brotherhood for all. This film altered the dynamic of the audience’s attitude. Although the film switched from a light-hearted to an emotional bearing story, the audience’s focus never drifted.

“Jerome’s Bouquet” by Chris Calkins and Bebe Neuwirth played as the third film starring an elderly woman, once a flower arranger who now aids in the rearrangement of the lives of others. She travels home with the aid of good Samaritans and teaches them life lessons. Although heartfelt, the film maintained a jocular attitude through its entirety.

“Un Peu Plus” or “A Little More” also by Conor Ferguson was done in the style of French New Wave. An old woman fulfills her final wish by traveling throughout Paris to taste a sampling of baked goods. The film brought a tear to the eyes of many as the credits passed and the tale ended. This film also greatly impacted viewers as they witnessed an elderly woman living out her dream.

Following was “Miyuki’s Wind Bells” by Ken Ochiai. Filmed in the Japanese countryside, this film focuses on a girl who learns the meaning of family from her grandmother. The film offers several lessons as the grandmother suffered while her family died from American planes during World War II and an old bomb. The film had its ups and its downs, but taught a valuable lesson: to appreciate family.

“Death, Taxes, and Apple Juice” by Tamar Halpern was the final film of the day. The short offered enchantment and featured two young girls mirroring the lives and speech of their parents. The girls’ naive portrayals of their parents give the audience a reflection of how small the problems of the average man are.

All films shown had all been well received at previous festivals, and as the head of the Festival told the crowd, they were only able to be seen at small viewing events. Several representatives from the festival attended to raise awareness of the event, as well as to showcase the films. The 2015 Festival will be held this year from March 19 to March 22 in Atlantic City.