3rd Annual SOMA Film Festival Announces Schedule March 16-18

From the SOMA Film Festival:

Maplewood, NJ – The SOMA Film Festival returns for its third season with an impressive slate of films that will both entertain and enlighten. The festival takes place March 16-18 and for the first year at The Woodland in downtown Maplewood with selected screenings at both Maplewood Theater, and Bow Tie Cinemas in South Orange.

This years’ event will launch on the evening of March 16 with a party themed in honor of the days of the drive-in movie theater and with a screening of the indie documentary, “At the Drive-In” with the filmmaker and cast in attendance.

A record number of filmmakers will be joining in the festivities this year, and informative Q & A’s will follow many of the screenings. The popular Kids Program which features all original kids programming and is back for another year with an encore presentation being offered, as well as the Youth Filmmaker Program from Cinema Ed that highlights some of our own talent from Columbia High School, and a Locals Only! Program will showcase many of our friends and neighbors.

“It’s a big year for us with our new location and partnership with Maplewood Arts Council and we’ve worked hard to program films that will appeal to our growing audience in our two communities and beyond” stated SOMA Film Festival founder Matt Smollon.

Some other highlights from this years’ festival include the horror comedy, “Tragedy Girls” which is about two high school seniors who become killers to raise their social media status which screens as the Saturday Night Feature. An all empowering block of films that promotes female filmmakers and is anchored by the feature film, “The Sunrise Storyteller” which tells the story of a 16-year-old girl who traveled the globe in search of stories of hope and resilience. There will also be an inaugural shorts program to close out the festival on the evening of Sunday, March 18th and both a US and World Premiere of Reverse Diaries (Japan) and Fatherhood (USA).

Oh! Canary will be providing arts and crafts classes for little ones during the festival for only $10 per child during select program screenings on Saturday, March 17th from noon to 6:30 so parents can have a day date and watch a movie or two.

Tickets range in price from $10 to $125 and can be purchased here!

SOMA Film Festival 3 Schedule 

Friday March 16th 

The Woodland

6:00 PM

Opening Night Party – A throwback to days of the drive-in movie theater themed event.

8:00 PM – Opening Night Program

Jesszilla – Director: Emily Sheskin / New York, NY – 7:00

Jess “Jesszilla” Silva wants to be a professional fighter but her father finds himself caught in between supporting her dream and worrying about her safety.

The Ribbon on the Kite – Director: Gianlorenzo Albertini / Los Angeles, CA – 18:30

Rebecca finds a homeless man living on the river bank by her house but soon realizes that it is her lost brother Daerik who suffers from PTSD after his time in Afghanistan.

NJ Premiere!

At the Drive-In – Director: Alexander Monelli / Philadelphia, PA – 1:19:00

Unable to purchase a $50,000 digital projector, a drive-in movie theater in rural Pennsylvania fight to stay open by screening only vintage 35mm film prints and working entirely for free.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AtTheDrivein

Filmmaker and Cast Q & A to follow screening

Saturday, March 17th

Bow Tie Cinemas, South Orange

10 AM – Local Filmmaker Celebration

Altered Minds – Director: Michael Wechsler / South Orange, NJ – 1:46:00

Starring: Judd Hirsch

A tormented writer tries to uncover a dark secret about his dying father, a former psychiatrist for the CIA.

Filmmaker Q & A to follow screening


10 AM – Kids Program

Hedgehug – Writer/Director Dan Pinto

Dear Hedgehug eagerly anticipates Valentine’s Day. But when he goes out, heart in hand, he finds his loving gestures are quite unwelcome.

Fresh Guacamole – Written and Directed by PES

You’ll never guess what unique ingredients go into this guac.

Wishful Whiskers – Writer and Director Pulkit Datta

For little Ella, tagging along with her dad to his business lunch is no fun. That is, until she notices something. Her dad’s business partner has a fluffy white mustache, which wiggles when he eats. It’s fascinating. Suddenly, everyone else has a mustache too! Why doesn’t she have one? Her mission is clear: she must get her own mustache, and it must be better than what everyone else has.


Lynx and Birds – Directed by: Francesco Mazza & Simone Giampaolo

Producer: Tom Box

A timely tale of love triumphing over fear.

Sniffles – Directed by Jeremy Galante and David Cowles

A comic strip dog travels around the world to track down his runaway nose.

Octave Species – Director and Animator: Linda Beck (LOCAL FILMMAKER)

Living with a gryphon in 8 incomposite intervals.

Storybots – I’m A Star – Directors: Evan Spiridellis, Gregg Spiridellis (New Jersey Natives)

This out-of-this-world music video doesn’t just have one star. It has billions of them!

Bat Time – Written and Directed by Elena Walf

When night dawns on the farm a little bat wants somebody to keep its company.


Playing with Food – Director:  Soohyun Kim (Ringling College of Art and Design)

A hungry fox prepares a TV Dinner, but instead of a tasty ready-to-eat meal he gets a surprise!

We Say Night Night – Writer & Producer – Mason Rather (FORMER MAPLEWOOD RESIDENT)

Soapy water, warm pajamas, brush your teeth, story time, it’s time to say night night! Listen to this song as you get ready for bed!

Submarine Sandwich – Written and Directed by PES

How about a little baseball mitt and football on your sandwich?

Red and Fiona Plant a Garden – Director:  Justin Simonich (LOCAL FILMMAKER)

Come along with two adorable little monsters, Red and Fiona, as they plant a garden together!

The Birdie – Director:  Ekaterina Filippova

Once the birdie met a hippo, they became friends and have built a lovely house together.

The Music Box – Director:  Jennifer Oxley, Nicholas Oxley

A Little Girl comes up with a creative solution for opening an antique box.

An Object at Rest – Director:  Seth Boyden

An Object at Rest follows the life of a stone as it travels over the course of millennia, facing nature’s greatest obstacle: human civilization.

Storybots – We Are the Planets – Directors: Evan Spiridellis, Gregg Spiridellis (New Jersey Natives)

Let the StoryBots DJ “revolve” it with sweet beats as the rapping sun and planets give you their spin on the whole solar system.

Noon – Have A Heart Program

Someone Good Will Find You – Director: Leelila Strogov / South Orange, NJ –  8:40

A well-intentioned Chinese immigrant father tries to teach his son how to make it in America but unknowingly reveals the human capacity for connection, compassion, and sacrifice.

Goodbye – Director: Ali Akin / Istanbul, Turkey – 9:25

The sweet story of an aquarium fish, left over from a broken love.

New Jersey Premiere!

44 Pages – Director: Tony Shaff / New York, NY – 1:37:00

A stirring portrait of Highlights Magazine, following the creation of the cultural phenomenon’s 70th anniversary issue, and introducing the people who passionately produce the monthly publication for “the world’s most important people,”…children.


Filmmaker Q & A to follow screening

2:30 Afternoon Delight I

The Fools – Filmmaker: Chris Bean / New York, NY – 15:00

It’s another wonderfully hectic day at Good Clean Fun, a corporate entertainment firm that specializes in unique acts like Mr. Invisible and Toby the Trivia Robot.

Life Hack – Director: Sloan Copeland / New York, NY – 1:40:00

This incredibly timely romantic comedy about love, digital privacy and cyber threats in the digital age. Cover your webcam but not your heart.

Filmmaker Q & A to follow screening

4:45 – Afternoon Delight II

Gustav – Director: Ken Williams / London, England – 11:00

A man wakes up with a strange tune in his head. But what is it? And how did it get there? And when will it go away?

E-Delivery – Director: Kirsten Cho / New York, NY – 3:53

A humorous take on what the future of human reproduction may look like.

Academy Award Nominee!

Garden Party – Filmmakers: Florian Babikian, Vincent Bayoux, Victor Caire, Théophile Dufresne, Gabriel Grapperon, and Lucas Navarro – 8:00

A female frog catches the attention of a curious male toad in a stately villa whose owner seems to have been gone for a very long time.

Northeast Premiere!

Wild Honey – Filmmaker: Francis Stokes / Los Angeles, CA – 1:30:00

A lonely, down-on-her-luck phone sex operator who falls for one of her callers, flies across the country to meet him to find all of us are playing a role.

7:00 PM – Movies with a Message Showcase

Daddy – Filmmaker: John Gallen / Menlo Park, CA – 30:00

The “you can’t make this shit up” story of youth basketball coach and drug trafficker Curtis Malone.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DaddyFilm2018/


World Premiere!

Fatherhood – Director: Ben G / London, England – 1:15:00

A fusion of documentary and songwriting, street kids from Memphis, LA, New York and London talk about their absent fathers and perform music videos of original songs they penned about the same subject.

9:00 PM – Saturday Night Party

Bride of Frankie – Filmmaker: Devi Snively / Cleveland, OH – 18:30

In this darkly comedic feminist nod to Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, a not-so-mad scientist builds a mate for her mentor’s lonely creation with electrifying, and deadly results.

Tragedy Girls – Filmmaker: Tyler MscIntyre / Los Angeles, CA – 1:38:00

Teenage crime reporters Sadie and McKayla are hot on the trail of a crazed serial killer but after capturing and holding him hostage, they soon realize that the best way to elevate their social media stardom is to commit more murders themselves.

Sunday, March 18th

Bow Tie Cinemas, South Orange

10:00 AM – Youth Filmmakers Presented by Cinema Ed

Schedule is coming!

Maplewood Theater, Maplewood

10 AM – Kids Program Encore Presentation!

Schedule above


The Woodland

9:30 AM – International Originals

The App – Filmmaker: Julián Merino Díaz / Madrid, Spain – 15:35

A man uses an app to dictate his life with unexpected results.

Dusk -Filmmaker: Jake Graf / London, England – 15:00

Growing up in 1950s England in an intolerant and uninformed world, young Chris Winters struggles to fit into the gender roles dictated by wider society.


US Premiere!

Reverse Diaries – Shin Sonoda / Tokyo, Japan – 1:39:00

A young novelist falls madly in love with an eccentric woman but after her suicide attempt he reads her diary and soon realizes that their encounter was not a coincidence.

Filmmaker Q & A to follow screening

Noon – Who Runs the World? Girls!

Cranberry Lake – Filmmaker: Zoya Baker / Brooklyn, NY – 17:00

Forest ecology students lead us through an immersive learning experience at a remote research station in the Adirondacks.


A Crude Injustice – Filmmaker: Jane Hammond / Fremantle, Australia – 26:37

On August 21, 2009 a blowout in the Montara oilfield off the West Australian coast, caused millions of liters of crude oil to spew into the Timor Sea and eight years on the people of

Northeast Premiere!

Sunrise Storytellers – Filmmaker: Kasha Slavner / Toronto, Canada – 1:05:00

The Sunrise Storyteller follows a teenage filmmaker as she sets out on her 16th birthday across the world in search of stories of hope and resilience that shine a light on what it means to be a global citizen and how we can all make a difference.

Filmmaker(s) Q & A to follow screening

2:00 pm – Seton Hall University Student Film Program

Schedule is coming!

Filmmaker(s) Q & A to follow screening

4:30 PM – Locals Only! Program

Punchline – Filmmaker: Joseph Redl / Glen Rock, NJ – 14:40

Dante suffers from a dangerous psychological disorder that he was cursed with from birth, a diagnosis known in the medical field only as “a missing funny bone”.

Into Silence – Filmmaker: Zubaydah Bashir / South Orange – 4:16

In a near future dystopian America, on the brink of a civil war, a woman and her fiancé are escorted by a guide from an underground refugee organization.

Looking Through the Window – Filmmaker: Cris Thorne / Maplewood – 10:54

Sam and Denise recently tied the knot and have purchased their first house. With their crazy circle of family and friends now just around the corner, perhaps they moved a little too close to home.

Almost Free – Filmmaker: Chris Messineo / Berkeley Heights, NJ – 3:57

Jason and Alice are running for their lives and, for a moment, find peace in the woods.

Goodstein – Filmmaker: Lee Navlen / Maplewood, NJ – 8:35

Goodstein prepares for a colonoscopy and he and his friend the Rabbi get more than he bargained for during the prep leading up to the procedure.

Farm and Fork Society – Filmmaker: Melissa Goldberg / Millburn – 2:45
Meet River Bend Farm in Far Hills, NJ who are dedicated to producing healthy, all-natural meats.

Dangerous Intersection – Filmmaker: Zak Mir / Maplewood – 13:30

A college bound young girl, Emily and her neighbor Paolo meet up for a moment she won’t soon forget.

Chance Encounters – Filmmaker: Eric Richardson Hagans / East Brunswick, NJ – 5:00

A cop comes across a dangerous criminal during what he thinks will be a routine stop.

Shyft – Filmmaker: Jennifer Plotzke / Jersey City, NJ – 5:47

Ride share gone wrong.

Momtress – Filmmaker: Liz Samuel / Montclair, NJ – 11:30

A busy Mom and actress tries to keep her life together for her kids while she struggles with aging and loss.

The Biggest Wad is Mine – Filmmaker: Samantha Gury / Maplewood – 3:03

Junior High is one sticky situation.

In the Night, I Remember You – Filmmaker: Vicki Speegle / South Orange – 43:44

A daughter’s tender look into her mother’s amazing life as her mother slips further into the grips of Alzheimer’s.

Filmmaker(s) Q & A to follow screening


7:00 – Award Winning Shorts Program

Close the Shutters – Filmmaker: Ynon Lan / Tel Aviv, Israel – 4:30

A young man tries to hold on to the image of his sick grandfather, by piecing together fragments of memories he has of him.

Swimming in The Desert – Filmmaker: Alvaro Ron / Los Angeles, CA – 15:00

In the drought-stricken town of Agua Dulce, in the California High Desert, a ten-year-old girl challenges her grandfather to follow a crazy plan and bring the water back to the dry river.

Lonely Kingdom – Director: Thomas Southerland / Lexington, Kentucky – 15:20

87-year-old Kaei Uechi recalls his experiences as a conscript in the Japanese Army during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

I Promised Her Life – Filmmaker: Robert Nazar Arjoyan / Los Angeles, CA – 15:15

On the day of her daughter’s funeral, a grieving Armenian-American mother defies a centuries-old ritual and tests the limits of tradition as she walks the thin line between death and afterlife.


Light Sight – Filmmaker: Seyed M. Tabatabaei / Montreal, Canada – 7:34

M.E., the imprisoned character in a room is attracted to a hanging light and tries to catch it. But the room itself becomes an obstacle on his way.

Lawman – Filmmaker: Matthew Gentile / Los Angeles, CA – 13:11

In 1875 Indian Territory, Bass Reeves, is the first African-American to be deputized by the U.S. Marshal service.

Bernoulli – Filmmaker: Leonardo Malaguti / Rome, Italy – 13:41

Bernoulli, an eccentric middle-aged clown, runs around the neighborhood to escape Flora, a stern and determined woman.

17 Locust Street– Filmmaker: Daniel Wyland / Fredericksburg, MD – 16:50

Two detectives find themselves trapped in a killers’ dark agenda, and become victims of a twisted mind from which there seems no escape.

Six Letter Word – Filmmaker: Lisanne Sartor / Los Angeles, CA – 16:30

A mom who works as a prostitute is forced to confront her young son’s autism after an unexpected encounter with one of her johns.

Please note that schedule is subject to change without notice.


All films have not been rated and should be considered improper for children 13 and under besides – The Kids Program, Youth Filmmaker Program, and Locals Only! Program