Best of Fest: Montclair Film Fest director offers his picks –


It’s 150 films, in 10 days, in six venues. In other words, it’s a lot.

The Montclair Film Festival is edgy, exciting, overwhelming — especially overwhelming. How to navigate a festival that hop-scotches all over the town, and takes in not only films but parties, panels, contests, special star appearances?

Here’s some help from festival executive director Tom Hall. Hacking a path through the thicket of great offerings, he provides his own curated list.

Personal picks

Here are some films he likes — just because.

“Band Aid,” directed by Zoe Lister-Jones. Fred Armisen (“Portlandia”) heads the cast in this comedy about bickering marrieds who form a band. “It’s a terrific relationship comedy, that incorporates really great original music and has a real pop sensibility that we thought was perfect for our audience,” Hall says. 7:30 p.m. May 6, Wellmont Theater.

“Band Aid,” one of the films featured at the Montclair Film Festival (Photo: Montclair Film Festival)

“Brave New Jersey,” directed by Jody Lambert. A period comedy about panicked New Jerseyans fleeing a nonexistent Martian invasion during the 1938 Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast. “It’s a throwback to a very fun kind of comedy you don’t really see any more in independent film,” Hall says. “It’s a period piece that’s done very well, very light, but very sweet, with a big heart.” 7:15 p.m. April 29, Clairidge 1; 2:30 p.m. April 30, Clairidge 1; 11:30 a.m. May 2, Bellevue 1.

“Lady Macbeth,”  directed by William Oldroyd, about a 19th century English woman sold into a loveless marriage, based on Nikolai Leskov’s novella “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.” “It’s a masterpiece, probably the strongest drama in the festival, and a film that has an incredible pedigree,” Hall says. “It’s played Toronto and Sundance before our festival, and it’s a classic art film that people will remember at the end of the year. 7:15 p.m. May 5, Bellevue 2.

“Lady Macbeth,” one of the films at the Montclair Film Festival (Photo: Montclair Film Festival)

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