Montclair, NJ, has 37,669 residents – one of them is Stephen Colbert – but no film festival. Until now, that is.
The inaugural Montclair Film Festival will launch May 2nd and it is moving closer to its deadline by adding two important contributors — its directors: Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers, best known for starting up New York's documentary film festival DOCNYC as well as the IFC Center's documentary series Stranger than Fiction (Powers is also a programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival).
The board of directors also includes Colbert and his wife Evelyn McGee-Colbert.
The festival will include both fiction and documentary films and Colbert told The New York Times that it was likely he would be participating in plenty of festival events. Colbert hosted the festival's first major benefit last week at Montclair's Wellmont Theater.
The Montclair Film Festival board, chaired by WNET VP Bob Feinberg, was established two years ago and has been doing several high profile one-off film screenings, including a screening of The New York Times doc "Page One" with Montclair resident David Carr.
Speaking with Indiewire, Thom Powers said he was convinced that joining the team was an easy decision when he saw how serious the board was. In addition to Feinberg, the board also includes various TV and film executives as well as community leaders.
"As Manhattan residents, raising our two year old, we are intrigued by the Montclair lifestyle," Powers confessed. He continued, "It's a special community that I've long known about. There's lots of journalists, a lot of media people. It's a town known for its diversity and its welcoming nature. It really embraces the arts."
The festival has decided to make its mark on the festival scene as a showcase for comedic films. "It won't be a comedy film festival, but comedy is going to have a special spotlight at this festival. We'll have a comedy film comeptition, around six titles, and we'll generally be looking beyond the obvious mainstream comedy world to note what's happening in independent film, international film, documentary, and animation."