Newark International Film Fest draws celebrities, cinephiles to opening night reception

Filmmakers, actors, directors and cinephiles gathered at the Hahne & Co. building in Downtown Newark Thursday evening for the opening reception of the 2017 Newark International Film Festival.  It’s the second year the Brick City has hosted the event, which has received over 800 submissions from 86 countries and  is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to the area over the weekend.

The evening included a programme hosted by festival Founder Kenneth Gifford, with performances by R&B crooner, Major, Kenny Bobien, the “King of Gospel House Music,” and remarks from festival sponsors, including Panasonic.  Guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and spirits, while live jazz music echoed throughout the majestic venue.

Newark International Festival Founder, Kenneth Gifford, with NJTV News Correspondent, Lyndsay Christian, who served as the official Red Carpet Host.

“We’re happy to kick this off and shine a positive light on the birthplace of film,” said Gifford. “The festival offers something for all ages and I want people to take advantage of all of the activities. It will be a huge economic boost for the city.”

Actors Tobias Truvillion (“Empire”), Guyviaud Joseph (“Power”) and Kimberly Hawthorne (“Greenleaf”), all of whom are Newark natives, made an appearance on the red carpet to support the festivities.

Newark Arts Executive Director of  Jeremy Johnson was presented the Newark Community Arts Award for his notable achievements.

The festival runs Friday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept. 10.