Montclair Film Festival Artistic Director: Event Offers Cultural, Economic Benefits

Actors and directors converged at the third Montclair Film Festival, where more than 90 films were featured. Montclair Film Festival Artistic Director Thom Powers told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that the festival has featured excited audiences that respond to the event.

“We have great audiences in Montclair and when people come out, guests that we have — directors or subjects of film — they always respond to that,” said Powers.

Some of the guests at the film festival included entertainment manager Shep Gordon, who said that the Montclair Film Festival question and answer session was one of his favorites, according to Powers.

The film festival takes place in Montclair, and Powers said that it helps the community in many different ways.

“There’s a cultural benefit to the community,” said Powers. “A film can change your life. We all have had that experience before so when we put 92 films out there, you can’t even calculate how many lives are being changed by it, in a festival atmosphere. Then secondly, I would say is an economic benefit. All those people are coming to see films.”

According to Powers, people who are going out to see the films go to lunch or dinner afterward or spend money shopping in the town.

One of his goals with the film festival, Powers said, is that he wants to fill the void left by recent budget cuts. When Powers and his wife were hired, Powers said that the board in Montclair told them about the budget cuts in the arts over the years.

“We moved here from Manhattan in order to start the festival at the behest of the board,” Powers said.

Along with the entertainment aspect of the film festival, Powers said that there’s an educational component with several educational workshops available.