September 9, 2016


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Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced that beginning today and going on through Sunday, September 11, the inaugural Newark International Film Festival (NIFF) will unleash 100 independent films by 90 filmmakers from 50 countries on downtown Newark. In addition to the screenings, dozens of cultural hot spots and landmarks in the area will host a dazzling lineup of workshops, panels, events and activities for independent filmmakers, film aficionados and aspiring creatives. 

This evening, filmmaker Tommy Oliver hosts a special screening of 1982, his semi-autobiographical debut starring Hill Harper, Wayne Brady, and Sharon Leal at the CityPlex Cinema. On Saturday morning, families and film buffs can join the “Filmed in Newark Scavenger Hunt” and compete for cash prizes. Saturday night, Bob Sumner, the creative mind behind HBO's Def Comedy Jam, presents the Let’s Laugh Comedy Showcase with a stellar lineup of 11 acts. On Sunday afternoon, a roster of music industry pros including top A&R executive Faith Newman (who signed hip-hop icon Nas), creative executive Angelique Miles and music journalist Kim Osorio, among others, share their insider experiences for the Women In The Room: How Hip-Hop Became Mainstream panel.

“This three-day-international film festival has something for people of all ages and walks of life.” said Mayor Baraka. “We are bringing the art and business of filmmaking to the masses.”

It all culminates on Sunday evening with the NIFF Award Show at the historic Newark Museum Theatre. Awards will be given for 18 categories, including best short, best film, best youth film, and best directing, plus the presentation of the “Hannibal Goodwin Award for Innovation in Filmmaking.” This honor commemorates Hannibal Goodwin, a Newark Episcopal rector who filed the first patent for celluloid film.

Celebrity guests throughout the weekend include John Gibson of the Motion Picture Association of America, FOXTV hit-series Empire cast members Tasha Smith and Tobias Truvillion, VH1 on-air personality and producer Sway Calloway, actor, producer and writer Hill Harper, casting director Winsome Sinclair, and many more.

The entire international film festival, supported by Newark-based Panasonic, is open to the public. Transportation between venues and events will be provided, in addition to local train, light rail and bus services.  A limited number of discounted passes, ranging in price from $5 - $25, are available for purchase online at with the codes NewarkFilmB, NewarkFilmG or NewarkFilmV.