New Jersey arts and entertainment news, features and event insights.



originally published: 07/11/2022

(FRENCHTOWN, NJ) — ArtYard Joy Film Festival! runs from July 13-17, 2022. It is a celebration of a film designed to bring joy back after more than two years of pandemic isolation. The festival includes short films, feature films and joyful documentaries with guest filmmakers and live musical performances.

Each day features a unique theme exploring types of joy – Romantic Joy, Laughing Joy, Movie Joy, Real Joy, Lively Joy, and Joyous Noise. Films take place Wednesday through Sunday at ArtYard’s McDonnell Theater in Frenchtown, NJ.

The festival is curated by Amy Heller and Dennis Doros, co-founders of Milestone Films and early purveyors of obscure and restored classic gems to cinema.

The Festival kicks off with an exclusive Opening Reception at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday for Full Joy Pass Holders. The reception offers happy surprises and a chance to meet the curators.

The tickets are available for purchase online or in person at the ArtYard box office, located in the lobby of 13 Front Street, Frenchtown. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

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July 13 – Romantic Joy. Join them on the opening night of the Film Festival of Joy as they explore Romantic Joy through two films – Something good fuck nigga and I know where I’m going. Hear from film historian Allyson Nadia Field, who will present Something good and tell us how it was made and found.

Something good, fuck nigga – This short film brings us moments of dark love from 1898 as a couple hold hands and kiss.

I know where I’m going – Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller), a determined young Englishwoman, boards a train to marry a wealthy industrialist on an island in the Hebrides. But much to his frustration, the trip is delayed again and again by bad weather and rough seas. Perhaps the spirit of Scotland has other plans for her – in the form of handsome Torquil MacNeil (Roger Livesey). Cinema greats Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger shot this magical love story on the Isle of Mull. Martin Scorsese called I know where I’m going a perfect movie. And it’s.

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July 14 – Joy of laughter. The second night of the Joy Film Festival features four silent comedies with live music performed by one of the country’s leading silent film accompanists, Ben Model. The model will improvise on the keyboard while four short films are screened – The scarecrow, tall and giddy, timid horse, and Skip the sauce.

For nearly 40 years, Model has created and performed several hundred live scores for silent films on piano and theater organ. A resident film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art (NY) and the Packard Campus Theater at the Library of Congress, Model was the first to bring the silent film experience online during the COVID pandemic, launching a weekly livestream called The Silent Comedy Watch Party.

the scarecrow – Comic genius Buster Keaton is a farmhand who shares a house full of ingenious gadgets with his rival for the farmer’s daughter. Hijinks ensue, including Keaton’s narrow escape from a “rabid” dog, an inadvertent marriage proposal, and a motorbike wedding!

High and dizzy – New Doctor Harold Lloyd gets tricked into a friend’s moonshine business and ends up tipsy on the ledge of a building above the street – where he encounters a sleepwalking patient.

shy horse – Ineffectual goofball Edward Everett Horton makes a hilarious attempt to learn how to ride a horse during a fox hunt, in order to impress his host’s daughter.

Skip the sauce – A hilarious comedy about rival fathers who must make peace when their children get engaged. Everything goes awry when comedian Max Davidson’s son cooks the beloved award-winning rooster belonging to the other father for a joint family dinner.

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July 15 – Joy of cinema! To celebrate the third evening of the Film Festival of Joy, join them for a screening of The Young Girls of Rochefort, an effervescent musical about a dance teacher and music teacher and a tribute to Hollywood optimism. They will also screen selections from the 22nd Swedish Film Festival, amateur recreations of famous films. To honor the theme, they will present a token of appreciation to the viewer wearing the best homemade costume from a Hollywood movie.

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The Young Girls of Rochefort – Jacques Demy followed Umbrellas of Cherbourg with an even more sparkling musical. Twins Delphine, dance teacher and Solange, and music teacher (played by real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac), yearn for life in the big cities. And when a fair comes to their peaceful harbor town, so does the chance to get away from it all. With its jazzy score by Michel Legrand, its pastel paradise of costumes and its divine supporting cast, the film is a tribute to the Hollywood optimism of the quintessential dreamer of 1960s French cinema.

Selections of the 22nd Swedish Film Festival – Sweded Films are amateur recreations of famous films using limited resources and technology inspired by the 2008 comedy film Be Kind Rewind. This original Row House reel is made up of the best classic films, remade by amateurs who replace A-list stars and CGI with whatever lies around their homes and a ton of creativity. It’s strange, unexpected and very funny. The 2022 reel includes Swedish from The Goonies, Misery, The Truman Show, The Lord of the Ringsand more!

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July 16 – True Joy. Saturday at the Film Festival of Joy features two documentary screenings exploring the real-life stories of Occupy Wall Street and the music of Afro-Cuban religious ritual, each with discussions with the filmmakers.

First with a screening at 3:00 p.m. All Day, All Week: A History of Occupy Wall Street by filmmaker Marisa Holmes who played a pivotal role in the Occupy movement and shot footage from its beginnings until the eviction from Zuccotti Park. Holmes joins them for a chat after the movie. After a break, join them for a screening at 7:30 p.m. Tierra Sagrada by filmmaker Ned Sublette offering a vibrant and immersive Afro-Cuban religious ritual. Sublette joins us after the film.

All Day, All Week: A History of Occupy Wall Street – In the summer of 2011, a group of activists set out to #Occupy Wall Street. Using social media and self-organization, their action has become a global movement; within weeks, there were more than 1,000 occupations worldwide. People have come together to oppose a corrupt political and economic elite and to call for true democracy. Documentary filmmaker Marisa Holmes played a pivotal role in the Occupy movement and shot footage from its beginnings until OWS was evicted from Zuccotti Park. His beautiful and moving film gives an intimate view of aspects ignored by mainstream media, illuminating the ups and downs of the movement. All Day All Week tells the story of Occupy Wall Street from the perspective of those who lived through it.

Tierra Sagrada – A vibrant and immersive journey into the music of Afro-Cuban religious ritual, Tierra Sagrada was made pre-pandemic in January 2020 in west-central Cuba. The documentary takes the viewer to sacred spaces in a region of Cuba where captive Africans were brought in large numbers until the 1860s. Tierra Sagrada features chanting, drumming and wall-to-wall movement leading to the dramatic experience spirit possession. Filmed in urban temples, rural groves and public celebrations in Matanzas and Sagua La Grande – places that have never been seen before – it features ancestors, elders and young people, as well as a variety of drums from African origin.

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July 17 – Animated Joy. Don’t miss this free Animated Joy family-friendly afternoon celebration on the final day of the Film Festival of Joy. They will screen six short animations suitable for children— Feed the Kitty, The Animal Movie, Begone Dull Care, Bridgehampton, Hair Piece, The Wrong Trousers.

Feed the cat – Host Chuck Jones’ cat-and-dog comedy features a ferocious bulldog bewitched by a fearless little kitten. (projection of Feed the cat is a free bonus outside of Festival of Joy: Animated Joy).

animal movie – A little boy happily explores the world with a series of pets.

No more dull skincare – Animation genius Norman MacLaren painted on the film itself to create a beautiful and dizzying counterpoint to Oscar Peterson’s piano score.

Bridgehampton – John Canemaker’s hand-painted animation celebrates a year of natural beauty.

Piece of hair: a film for nappy heads – Ayoka Chenzira’s riotous and insightful satire uses animation and collage to convey the self-image struggles black women experience when forced to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards.

The wrong pants – Everyone’s favorite stop-motion superheroes, Wallace and Gromit (with a pair of “techno-pants”) take on penguin villain, Feathers McGraw.

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July 17 – Happy Noise. Join them in closing the Joy Film Festival with a night of jubilation and songwriting featuring a live gospel choir. The evening will kick off with a live performance by the award-winning Anointed Friends, a Paterson-based gospel group founded by Roz Thompson who will be joined by Brittany Dawson, Tiffany McCutchen, Tyeshia Reels. Then they will filter Say Amen, someoneone of the most acclaimed music documentaries of all time about the father and mistress of gospel and heartbreaking performances.

Say Amen, someone – One of the most acclaimed music documentaries of all time, Say Amen, someone is George Nierenberg’s masterpiece – a joyous, funny and deeply moving celebration of black culture, featuring the father of the Gospel, Thomas A. Dorsey (“Precious Lord, Take My Hand”), his matron, Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith, and earth-shattering performances by the Barrett Sisters and the O’Neal Twins.

art court, located at 13 Front Street in Frenchtown, NJ, is an incubator for creative expression and a catalyst for collaborations that reveal the transformative power of art. It is an interdisciplinary alternative contemporary art center consisting of an exhibition space, a theater and a residency program, dedicated to the presentation of transformative works of art, the promotion unexpected collaborations and the incubation of new original works.

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