BY SONIA OWCHARIW
Kenneth Del Vecchio, chairman and festival founder, is launching the Hollywood-style glitz of the Hoboken International Film Festival (HIFF) in Greenwood Lake on May 19 to 25 at the Thomas Morahan Waterfront Park, on the north end. This is the first year at the Greenwood Lake location, and Del Vecchio promises that it is going to be the best HIFF yet.
HIFF running now in its 12th year, originated in Hoboken, New Jersey at the Frank Sinatra Park near the Hudson River. The film festival also moved to Teaneck and Jersey City before heading to Orange County, New York.
Most recently, Del Vecchio just concluded a four-year stay at the historical Paramount Theatre on South Avenue in Middletown. “I decided not to go forward after the 4-year run even though there was rejuvenation such as Middletown receiving a $10 million revitalization grant from NY state,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the revitalization competition for Middletown on July 6 at the Paramount Theatre.
“Greenwood Lake’s location is more convenient for all to find with close proximity to North Jersey such as West Milford and Bergen, Passaic and Essex counties. And only 50 minutes from New York City,” Del Vecchio said.
On May 19, Armand Assante, Golden Globe and Emmy Winner, will receive Lifetime Achievement 2017 award at the Thomas Morahan Waterfront Park. Opening night will be celebrated by red carpet with food and beverages and party.
According to Del Vecchio, Greenwood Lake has so much to offer such as the beauty of its lake and what better place to watch movies this May, then under the stars. In addition, bringing HIFF to Greenwood Lake was supported by Mayor Jessie Dwyer of Warwick who was willing to take some risks and is 100 percent behind the festival as well as support from Steven M. Neuhaus, County Executive from Orange County, New York, he said.
“The festival and the format for HIFF will be the same as it has been in the past,” Del Vecchio said. “Every year the festival keeps getting better and better,” Del Vecchio said.
HIFF has included in the past such stellar appearances of Lifetime Achievement award like Paul Sorvino, Danny Aiello, Charles Durning, Eric Roberts, and Billie Dean Williams. Actors and performers have graced the red carpet such as Joyce DeWitt, Gilbert Gottfried and Buddy Fitzpatrick who opened this past HIFF press conference with his comedic monologues on Jan. 28 at the Elks Lodge on Chestnut Street.
Del Vecchio considers himself the ‘Renaissance Man,’ who wears many hats such as acclaimed filmmaker, best-selling author, Fox news analyst, and former judge. He is also running for judge in Warwick.
He lives in Warwick with his wife, Dr. Francine Del Vecchio, who is a professor at Caldwell University in Caldwell, New Jersey and has a doctorate in Curriculum and Reading from Columbia University. They have been married for 19 years, and have a son Mario, 8-years-old.
“My wife is my equal partner, and the First Lady of the Film Festival,” Del Vecchio said.
During the press conference, Mario recited the last 10 presidents of the United States. His father referred to his son as having “photogenic memory.”
On May 24, there is a Double Feature according to Del Vecchio which features “Rock Story,” a Del Vecchio film starring Eric Roberts, Dominque Swan and Joyce DeWitt, and the second movie is still a surprise. The Gala Award Ceremony is on May 25.
There is also a “Question Of The Day,” if answered correctly, you can win two free all-movie passes at HIFF.
After Hurricane Sandy damaged HIFF’s Jersey City venue in 2012, Del Vecchio went shopping for a new home for the festival. Ultimately Middletown won the competition with the help of lobbying efforts by prominent politicians including US Senator Chuck Schumer.
In July 2016, Del Vecchio made it known that HIFF’s agreement with Middletown had expired and Rockland County announced its interest in hosting the festival. The mogul chose Greenwood Lake, but continues to discuss other possible projects in Rockland. “No plans right now, but Rockland County sure has a lot to offer,” Del Vecchio said.
For more, visit: www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com.