The Sony Pictures Classics rockumentary LAMBERT AND STAMP is screened as part of statewide student film competition Project FX, with finalists in the High School and College categories showcased at the Count Basie this Sunday, April 19.
They hail from places like Middletown High School South, Christian Brothers Academy and Brookdale Community College — and for a few minutes at least, they’re peers on a par with such Jersey-bred filmmakers, movers and shakers as Kevin Smith, John Sayles, Danny De Vito — even Tom Edison and his Black Maria studio.
The revolution that placed pro-grade videography and editing tech into the hands of aspiring filmmakers everywhere — and the social media mechanism that allows neighborhood auteurs to have their work be viewed by mass audiences — is at the heart of Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide film competition for students of New Jersey high schools and colleges.
Sponsored by Bank of America and presented in partnership with Sony Pictures Classics, the contest collected hundreds of short-form narrative and documentary entries between September 2014 and March 2015 — and on Sunday, April 19, the winning films will be showcased on the big Basie screen during a daylong Project FX Festival that also features workshops with film industry professionals.
Finalists were selected from the field of entries by a panel of experts that include Sony Pictures Classics co-president (and Middletown resident) Tom Bernard; Broadway producer Kate Lear; Shore Flicks owner TJ Brustowicz, Basie CEO Adam Philipson, and Robert O’Connor, founder of the annual FilmOneFest of short-short films that’s become a summer highlight in Atlantic Highlands. Finalists in the High School category include The Session by Dylan McCormick (Middletown South) and 147 by Joseph Bellavia (CBA) — while College category finalists include Animus by Erik Massimino (Monmouth University), and BCC student Jacob Vernick’s portrait of local Jersey Shore landmark Asbury Lanes. All finalist films are available for preview on the Count Basie website.
A grand prize winner will be announced at the Sunday’s 2 pm event, with that entrant awarded an internship at Sony Classics — as well as an opening slot for the 7 pm showing of the day’s featured film from Sony — Lambert and Stamp, the 2015 rockumentary portrait of Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, a pair of aspiring filmmakers in early 60s London whose discovery of the band that would become The Who wrote an exciting new chapter in rock music history.
There’s more in store between 2 and 7 pm, including workshop sessions and discussions hosted by Project FX adjudicators and other professionals in the fields of film production, distribution, marketing and festival curation. The general public is welcome to attend the Project FX Festival free of charge (tickets must be obtained at the Basie box office), and admission to the evening feature film is just $5 (free, if you’re a member of the Count Basie Theatre Cinema Society).