New Jersey’s Garden State Film Festival is getting around the cancellations due to coronavirus by agreeing to live stream all the films on its lineup beginning next week.
The only catch is that to watch the films, you have to be a ticket holder to the festival.
The Garden State Film Festival, now in its 18th year, was meant to kick off in Asbury Park, NJ on March 26-29, but all industry activities, workshops and public panels have been canceled due to the spread of COVID-19. However, the festival will now live stream its program of over 240 films films across five days via its private servers at the films’ originally scheduled times.
“GSFF is providing technical and visual safeguards, including intermittent watermarking throughout the broadcast, to help combat pirating. These measures (i.e. watermarking) exceed the measures implemented by other services, such as YouTube and Vimeo,” a festival rep says in a statement.
Some of the films highlighting the festival include the opening night movie “Team Macro,” the Quentin Tarantino documentary “QT8: The First Eight,” “Foster Boy” starring Matthew Modine and presented by Shaquille O’Neal and the New Jersey premiere of the documentary “Stallone: Frank, That Is,” about the life of the lesser known younger brother of Sylvester Stallone.
“Although impacted by the coronavirus pandemic which has forced the cancellation of the Garden State Film Festival’s annual event, we believe the opportunity to venture into a new digital frontier can serve as a blueprint for festivals worldwide and we look forward to bringing global film fans GSFF 2020 through online and virtual exposures,” the festival’s executive director Lauren Concar Sheehy said in a statement. “It promises to be a celebration of independent film that you can’t see anywhere else, all from the comfort of your home. Our top priority remains with the health and well-being of all those involved in this global event.”
“Our frontline efforts right now must be to aggressively mitigate the potential for exposure and further spread. We are taking this step because social distancing works. It is our best chance to ‘flatten the curve’ and mitigate the chance of rapid spread, so we can respond to this public health emergency in an even more focused manner,” New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said in a statement.
“At this time of uncertainty, when many are exercising social distancing and refraining from public gatherings, our Board of Directors wants to assure the opportunity for our fans — both in New Jersey and globally –the opportunity to experience the high-quality entertainment our festival offers in a safe and meaningful way,” GSFF chairman Eric Ascalon said in a statement. “Towards this, we intend to “virtually” reach not only our traditional attendees but also an expanded homebound audience yearning to interface with the arts.”
The festival will honor official GSFF 2020 film screening tickets in 2021. This does not include the black-tie awards dinner.
Single block screenings are $15. Multi-film screening passes are $55. Find a full schedule and list of films here.