By CANDY STALLWORTH
Hoboken International Film Festival (“HIFF”) just wrapped its 14th year. For the last three it was held on the shores of Greenwood Lake, New York, with picturesque waterfront views, acclaimed cinematic presentations, high-powered celebrity attendance, and top shelf, packed house opening and closing events. The praise for the festival was universal and unwavering.
As HIFF Talent Coordinator Christie Napurano said, “The list of celebrities who, in just a one week span, made their way to this cool beachy upstate New York town would be impressive for a film festival in Manhattan. A group like this is unheard of, though, for nearly anywhere else.” Some of the 2019 attendees included: Academy Award nominee Danny Aiello (Moonstruck; Do the Right Thing), Governor Jesse Ventura (Predator; The Running Man; “Conspiracy Theory”), “Cobra Kai” star Martin Kove (The Karate Kid; Rambo), superstar standup comedian Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin; Problem Child), leading man Jason London (Dazed and Confused; The Man in the Moon; The Rage: Carrie 2), Joyce DeWitt (“Three’s Company”; Rock Story), Scott Schwartz (A Christmas Story; The Toy), Judie Aronson (Weird Science; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), famed news anchor David Shuster (MSNBC; Fox News; i24 News), Julie McCullough (“Growing Pains”; Sharknado), Jackie Martling (“The Howard Stern Show”; An Affirmative Act), and Gena Lee Nolin (“Baywatch”; “Sheena”).
And they all had great things to say about Hoboken International Film Festival. Watch them here, during interviews on the 2019 HIFF red carpet. Just some of their red carpet quotes include:
When asked why she returns to HIFF every year, iconic TV actress Joyce DeWitt replied, “It starts with [HIFF Chairman] Kenny Del Vecchio. Ken’s passion for film, and his passion for all the people it takes to put together a good piece. That passion and love that he has is so infectious. And we became friends working together, and after that, becoming involved with the festival really had to do with what he and his wife Francine have birthed in this marvelous situation. There are films here from across America, and also from 24 countries. So this has become one of the largest film festivals in the world, and the very core of that reason is Kenny Del Vecchio.” DeWitt presented the Best TV Pilot award at the festival’s gala show on the last night this year.
Weird Science starlet Judie Aronson, who presented an award at the HIFF Gala Awards Ceremony, declared that she’s “having such a fun time here. So many people…I’m going to be presenting the Best Documentary Award this evening. There are quite a few really wonderful documentaries this year, so I’m really excited to be a part of this. The movies are amazing, all different movies, and I’m having a great time here in Greenwood Lake…I’m just so excited to be here, and for all the winners. Everybody did such a great job on their films this year.”
Martin Kove, a fan-favorite who is right now one of the most visible silver screen actors with his show “Cobra Kai” being in the top three rated shows nationally, stated this before he accepted the HIFF Hall of Fame Award on Opening Night: “I’m here really to support my friend Ken because Ken supports all these young filmmakers…And Ken mentors a lot of these kids who have a lot of dreams…People like Ken really allow these dreams to become a reality for all these young filmmakers.” Earlier in the evening, Kove stated his admiration for Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer and the beauty of the town.
“Baywatch” star and best-selling author Gena Lee Nolin, who presented the Best Supporting Award at the HIFF Gala Awards Ceremony, proclaimed, “I’m here to support indie films. I am just so thrilled at some of the nominees and the films I’ve seen over the course of the last few days. It is truly inspiring. And the talent, the raw talent that’s out there…I appreciate good filmmaking. I got into town two days ago, and I love it.”
Star news anchor David Shuster explained, “We’re here because Ken Del Vecchio hooks us up with cool people…Greenwood Lake is beautiful…we would come out here for a weekend and have a nice weekend at Greenwood Lake. It’s a beautiful community, and everybody seems really nice and excited to have this sort of event. So it’s amazing. It’s great.”
HIFF Chairman Kenneth Del Vecchio – who is also an acclaimed filmmaker of dozens of star-filled movies, a best-selling author, a popular TV network analyst, a former judge, and who has previously published for ESN – echoed the excitement of his celebrity colleagues in a red carpet interview at HIFF Opening Night, saying: “What kind of circumstance is this for a filmmakers coming from all different parts of the world to have their movies shown in a beautiful setting like this. It’s such an oddity, it’s so rare, it’s really exciting for that reason alone. Now, on top of it, we’ve got a major roster of stars that are going to be here this year.” Later that evening at the ceremony, Del Vecchio thanked Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer, the village’s board, and the village for having Greenwood Lake serve as the host community. He also thanked all the officially selected filmmakers, festival goers, festival staff, and the special awards recipients. Prior to the Gala Awards Ceremony, he spoke specifically about them. “Marty Kove is legendary, with incredible range. Jason London is wildly talented, with fantastic charisma. And Jesse Ventura is a multi-faceted success story. Most importantly, they all are all great people. That’s why they are receiving the top awards at HIFF this year.”
After receiving the 2019 HIFF Excellence in Acting Award at HIFF’s Gala Awards Ceremony, Dazed and Confused star Jason London posted on Facebook that he was “Catching up with great friends and enjoying this beautiful town.” Before the Gala Awards Ceremony, he said, “This festival is so important to independent filmmakers from everywhere. It’s an incredibly well-run event, with great people behind it. Ken knows what he’s doing.”
Walking into the Gala Awards Ceremony, Oscar nominee Danny Aiello stated: “It’s incredible, the crowd here. So many people. I’ve always been glad to be a part of Hoboken International Film Festival.” A sentiment Aiello has expressed before.
The praise for HIFF, however, doesn’t end with celebrities. The filmmakers, fans, and local residents were also thrilled, en masse. And they weren’t shy about it, making public statements and sending written notes to HIFF.
The following Facebook posts are a sampling of the enormity of the social media applause for HIFF, that occurred during and directly after the 2019 HIFF:
“An incredible experience! It was wonderful to see so many great films and spend time with such fun and greatly talented people! Thank you Ken Del Vecchio and everyone for a fantastic festival!!”
– Lizet Benrey
“We had a wonderful time! Thank you for the all out effort to put on an amazing festival!”
– Joe Whelski
“Thank you Ken, Julie and all the great people that made it happen. The festival was so well run, elegant, fun…with lots of great films and cineaphiles. And the setting….gorgeous!”
– Victoria Guthrie
“The Hoboken International Film Festival was an amazing experience with such wonderful people which I found to be all True Class. The Founder Kenneth Del Vecchio and the entire HIFF crew were totally professional and honesty did a remarkable job! Thank You for having us and for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this moment in the Festivals History – The Wiseguyz.”
– Freddy Tenore
“It was a wonderful time! I can’t wait until next year! It’s so great to see the event evolve bigger and better with each year. Thank you Ken for shinning a spotlight on the area for independent artists and businesses… to the many that is known, the 14th annual Hoboken International Film Festival happened this past week and last night wrapped up with a star studded gala and awards. The buzz is STILL in the air on amazing performances and witnessing something AWESOME.”
– Charles Marinaro
“Great time…thanks to everyone see you next year.”
– Wes Anderson
“Loved it! Thanks as always for a fantastic time… Wow I’m psyched to now be an award-nominated actor (Best supporting actor in a feature film) and even better that it happened at one of the biggest and best film festivals in the world, the Hoboken International Film Festival! …Thank you to Kenneth Del Vecchio and the wonderful crew of the festival for another incredible year. I’m already looking forward to next year!”
– Anthony Gagliardo
“The amount of planning and work it takes and expense no one can realize but those like me who also do things like this. Its a credit to all involved. CONGRATS TO ANOTHER GREAT FESTIVAL…”
– Billy G Lippolis
“I hope you come back next year.”
– Courtney O’Brien
“Was soooooo fun!!!”
– Oriana DAgostino
“You’re a genius! This Film Festival is terrific. Love Danny. A real gentleman…”
– Kevin M Hudson
“Glad to be part of Hoboken International Film Festival with Greek short film IVAN…
– Panagiotis Kountouras “
“ … you are not going to want to miss this outstanding film festival with unbelievable talent and honorees….”
– Michael DeGennaro
“Awesome! Love this festival.”
– Laura Shapanus
Thank you Hoboken International Film Festival for being amazing!
– Mike Flowerz
“Opening Night at the Hoboken International Film Festival was a success! The feature film I’m the lead of A Karate Christmas Miracle opened the festival (also starring Julie McCullough, Martin Kove, Eric Roberts, Mario Del Vecchio) , Martin Kove received a Lifetime Achievement award, and Governor Jesse Ventura received a Humanitarian Award. And I got to reunite with a lot of my cast and crew, which was a treat!! Thanks for putting it all together Kenneth Del Vecchio, and for casting me in your film! Looking forward to the Awards Gala on Thursday.”
– Mila Milosevic
“Last nights opening for the Hoboken International Film Festival was awesome!… Another amazing time at the Hoboken International Film Festival 2019 congratulations to all the winners!!!”
“…WHAT. A. FANTASTIC. NIGHT, seeing myself in the Opening Night Movie of The Hoboken International Film Festival! “A Karate Christmas Miracle.”
– Hugo Salazar
“Attending the Hoboken Film Festival last night in support of the movie A Karate Christmas Miracle was the bee’s knees!…”
– Candy Fox
“Great times great people.”
Fun Opening Night At The Hoboken International Film Festival. Can’t Wait To Be There Tomorrow!… The Hoboken International Film Festival Is Roaring With Excitement !!!!!!… The Evening Was Trilling , Filled With Unending Excitement.”
– Josephine Moon Bloomfield
“Absolutely thrilled that the World Premiere of our feature will be @ one of the biggest Film Festivals in the Universe.”
– Mike Vezza
“Great screening this weekend of What Tomorrow Brings at the Hoboken International Film Festival!”
– Sean Hoagland (filmmaker)
“Thanks Kenneth Del Vecchio for an awesome festival!”
– Joe Puglisi
“Congratulations Kenneth Del Vecchio for hosting the wonderful Hoboken International Film Festival and for the film – A Karate Christmas Miracle.”
– Lydia Fiore
“Great job on the festival as always Ken! It’s awesome that you created such a platform where so much talent can shine & be recognized. Keep it up.”
– Gregg Woods
“Ken Del Vecchio does an over the top job with his film Festival every year. Each one better than the last. Not only is Ken a friend, but, each year all of us that attend feel like it is a family reunion. So much fun. I come over from Bloomingburg, NY. I am the director and co-host of The Mr. Phil Show. We have had Ken on our show and he will be back soon on a post Hoboken show. Great job Ken and crew. Congratulations!”
– Mary Lent-Frost
“Fantastic screening yesterday of Catnip Nation at Cove Castle. Every chair taken. Lots of emotion. Looking forward to closing ceremony.”
– Tina Traster
“The Tarab team rocked it on the #redcarpet at Hoboken International Film Festival in the beautiful town of #greenwoodlakes NY!!! Thanks for having us!!!… Met some cool fellow #filmmakers at Hoboken International Film Festival !!! Saw the fantastic #documentary 21 Years -A Folded Flag directed by Richard A. Fitts Jr. and produced by @rudolphchilds .Can’t wait to meet more cool peeps at the Gala Awards on Thursday!”
– Tarab Filmmakers
“Last night at Hoboken International Film Festival was pretty special. After a year and a half of hard work, Mystery Mansion won the jury award for Best New Pilot! It was a surreal moment. I am impossibly grateful to the festival and everyone who made this possible.”
– Mike Handelman
“40th won the award for Best Short Short at the Hoboken International Film Festival! Guy and Kate got to make a speech. They were congratulated by Jason London who was there picking an award himself. Very fun night! Congratulations all!”
– 40th Filmmakers
“The Hoboken International Film Festival was just another amazing event to behold. I don’t know how they manage to make every year better than the last. It was truly a blessing and a honor to be invited to be a part of such a first class celebrity award ceremony. Among the hundreds of new and seasoned producers, directors, writers and actors were some of my favorites! Jessie the Body Ventura, Gilbert Gottfried and of course Joyce DeWitt, as Janet from Three’s Company. She really is as sweet and caring in person as her character she played on the show. I don’t have to tell you how much they all loved the taste of Antioxidant Alkaline water. We already received our invitation for next year… We had a blast at yet another very memorable event… So excited to be a part of this prestigious event another year!
– Alkaline Water King
“Good time again on the red carpet with icon Martin Kove during the Hoboken International Film Festival in Greenwood Lake, New York… On the red carpet opening night for the 14th annual Hoboken International Film Festival in Greenwood Lake, New York. Appreciate founders Kenneth Del Vecchio & Dr. Francine Del Vecchio for hosting me for another great year. Congratulations!”
– Joshn Carpenter, Head of Acquisitions – Green Apple Entertainment
Some of the festival goers not only posted their compliments on social media, but also sent writings directly to HIFF. For example:
John Bernieri of Greenwood Lake, wrote to HIFF, exclaiming: “Just when you thought Ken Del Vecchio and his Hoboken International Film Festival staff couldn’t get any better, any more exciting, any more entertaining, he blows it out of the water! In this case, Greenwood Lake, which is turning out to be a fantasy land of talented entertainers! Joyce DeWitt, Julie McCullough, Martin Kove, Gilbert Gottfried, Danny Iello and more! Whew! As an actor and writer (winner of last years “Best Screenplay “) I feel honored to be part of this , yes I’ll say it, significant event!The films were amazing, the talent relentless and the energy was over the top! Bravo, Ken and staff for a job to be proud of! Hey Hollywood, watch your back!!” Bernieri had also posted on Facebook, “Thank you Ken Del Vecchio for being quarterback for an amazing team. Greenwood Lake should be honored. You should be especially proud of your staff, totally professional every one! Excellent!”
Orange County resident Phil Weiner declared, “It was the best night of my show business career. It was an honor to once again meet all the celebrities and they remembered Mary and me. It was also an honor to be in 2 films associated with the festival. The films shown were great. It was great to be interviewed on the red carpet opening night and awards night.”
Tina Ramos, who lives in Middletown, NY, proclaimed, “It was an exciting week at the Hoboken International Film Festival held at Greenwood Lake New York. So exciting to see the films and the filmmakers and actors who worked so hard. It’s especially exciting to share the Camaraderie and anticipation throughout the week. Thank you HIFF, Ken Delvecchio and everyone that worked so hard to make this past week spectacular, exciting and memorable. I was able to visit some of my favorite local restaurants and pubs. I definitely found my summer 2019 hot spot. You outdid yourself AGAIN! Mario is quite the star. He did not go unnoticed. Here’s to HIFF 2020!!!”
Jessica Martin of Poughkeepsie added, “As someone fairly new to the industry of Radio and Broadcasting I’m always looking for new ways to network and branch out. I came across the Hoboken International Film Festival by way of advertising. Right away I knew I wanted to be involved. I spoke with the Founder Mr. Del Vecchio and it only further confirmed my interest. All I can say about the HIFF and everyone involved is WoW. This festival and all aspects of things from start to end Exceeded my Expectations like nothing I’ve experienced before. I am so grateful to have found this Festival and all the great people involved all around. It is now my favorite thing to look forward to every single year right along with my other favorite which is Christmas. Thank you so Much HIFF and Mr Del Vecchio. “ And Martin posted on Facebook: “Hoboken International Film Festival Such an Amazing time interviewing All the Directors, Producers, Actors & Actresses In all the Wonderful Films, Shorts & Documentary’s. Truly Wonderful. Thanks Kenneth Del Vecchio Again for this Great Opportunity.”
Joann Santoro from New Paltz had this to say: “I went to the Hoboken international film Festival for my first time ever. My friend invited me and I had such a good time. I met big-time celebrities and all the actors and writers of the films. Greenwood lake is gorgeous!! There’s so many restaurants and so much to do. Next year I’m inviting all of my friends. I’m really looking forward to it. “
It’s clear that a lot of people look forward to Hoboken International Film Festival, and with the greatest of excitement.
“I have the most earnest of thanks to all of these people who attend HIFF,” Del Vecchio said. “Just like making a movie, a film festival is the ultimate collaboration in the arts. The filmmakers, the host town, the sponsors, the festival attendees, they are all equally as important as the festival staff. And I’m just one of the staff. We have an outstanding, dedicated group at HIFF. And I also can’t say enough great things about the wonderful talent who presented awards at HIFF this year – truly exceptional people like Julie McCullough, David Shuster, Judie Aronson, Gena Lee Nolin, Scott Schwartz, Jackie Martling, Mila Milosevic, Sydney Houlihan, Chrsitie Napurano, Julie Kimmel, Kenneth Hampton, and how about my incredible son and wife – Mario Del Vecchio and Francine Del Vecchio. And then the hosts of our key shows, Gilbert Gottfried and Buddy Fitzpatrick. I mean, these guys are the best of the best; they are comedy talent at the highest.” Del Vecchio finished his thanks up with: “Danny Aiello and Joyce DeWitt. Now there’s absolute class and grace. Superstars, as both actors and human beings. HIFF honored them with its top award in past years, and they keep coming back. Now that’s worthy of gratitude.”
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