Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

An Accent on the Personal at the Passaic Film Festival

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

An Accent on the Personal at the Passaic Film Festival

Article excerpt

For anyone who doesn't believe depression is an illness that can drive people to suicide against their will, filmmaker Gina Guerrieri wondered how she could put non-believers in the afflicted person's shoes.

Guerrieri, a filmmaking teacher at William Paterson University whose father took his own life when she was younger, decided to use the power of her art to viscerally dramatize and communicate an understanding of what depression really is. Her new 10-minute film, "Dark Light," is one of many styles of shorts being presented in today's 12th annual Passaic County Film Festival at Paterson's Fabian 8 Cinema.

"I attempted to use the language of cinema to try and convey what it feels like to be in a depressive episode, set with music, special effects, visuals and narration," she said.

The festival showcases a wide range of film projects created by students and independent filmmakers who live, attend school or work in Passaic County. The festival's objective is to support student and independent filmmakers by not only providing a public forum to showcase their work but an opportunity to interact with members of the television and film community.

"There's a lot of talent here," said Deborah Hoffman, director of the county's Division of Economic Development, which runs the festival. "Some are love stories. Some are tourism-oriented films. Others focus on year-round activities in the high schools. One is about the high school band. There are some great music videos. One focuses on doo-wop. And some very good public service announcements on things like HIV, drug addiction, that sort of thing."

More than 50 shorts will be shown in the categories of High School Documentary Films, High School Music Video Films, High School Public Service Announcement Films, High School Short Films and University/Independent Short Films. These finalists were culled from more than 100 entries reviewed by volunteer members of the Passaic County Film Commission, all professionals in some aspect of the arts field with some connection to the Passaic County area.

While works like "Dark Light" are more experimental, filmmakers like Mike Dygos of West Milford and Larry Curran of Ringwood want nothing more than to simply make you feel good. …

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