Friday, February 5, 2016




WHEN: Feb. 12-14
South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ
ADMISSION: Festival passes:  $25-$35 one-day pass, $45-$55 full weekend pass, $20 opening night party
For a full look at the SOMA Film Festival schedule and to purchase your single day, and weekend passes, please visit or call the box office at (973) 313-2787.  Two-day passes are $45-$55, and one-day passes are $25-$35. An opening night party on Fri, Feb 12, 7-9 p.m., is $20.

The SOMA Film Festival has announced an esteemed group of moderators to helm discussion sessions immediately following the screening of four prestigious new films during thefestival at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.  For those who want to better understand the many intricacies and nuances of movie making, and the unique vision of a director, these discussions will be an invaluable experience as well as highly entertaining.

The complete schedule for the SOMA Film Festival can be found at

Stephen Whitty, film critic for the Star-Ledger, will moderate a discussion with In Transit’s Lynn True and Nelson Walker following the Feb.13 morning screening. In Transit takes the audience on a journey into the hearts of minds of passengers aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder, the busiest long-distance train route in America and is the final film of legendary documentarian Albert Maysles who passed away last year.

Haze Director David Burkman will take part in a discussion led by Thomas Rondinella, Professor of Communication at Seton Hall University.  The controversial and hard-hitting film centers on a college freshman’s desire to join the best fraternity on campus, and the destructive lengths that the desire to “belong” can lead to.

Award-winning documentarians Sarah Klein and Tom Mason will lead the discussion following Among the Believers on Feb. 14. Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi will answer questions about their documentary feature that follows charismatic cleric Abdul Aziz Ghazi, an ISIS supporter and Taliban ally, who is waging jihad against the Pakistani state.

Tribeca Film’s Susan Greeley will helm the final session immediately following the narrative feature Completely Normal on Feb. 14. The film tells the story of Greg, a hopeless romantic who’s sincere, yet awkward affections are a little too much for most “normal” girls.

SOMA Film Festival is also proud to present films by many local young filmmakers presented by Cinema Ed™ a non-profit organization dedicated to using independent film as an educational tool.  Dozens of live action and animated films were submitted by New Jersey high school students and judged by professional filmmakers. Winning films will be screened as part of the “Local Filmmakers Program” on Sunday, Feb. 14th.

“Film by nature is a collaborative endeavor, and a film festival is no different.  We’ve worked very hard to bring many films, filmmakers, and industry professionals together to make the SOMA Film Festival a unique and inspiring event for all” says festival founder and director Matt Smollon. 

About SOMA Film Festival
The SOMA Film Festival is dedicated to presenting unique, and aspiring filmmaking from around the world. SOMA is an acronym for South Orange and Maplewood, two towns that are a short train ride from New York City and that pride themselves on artistic expression. It is home to numerous actors, actresses, filmmakers, cinematic and theatrical professionals.

These two unique communities invite filmmakers into an environment where they can show their work to a highly receptive audience who both appreciate their creative endeavors and understand first-hand the immense effort it takes to make a dream come true.

In addition to Matt Smollon, Festival Founder, an advisory committee of actor John Michael Higgins, writer/director Steven Kampmann, President of Grasshopper Films Ryan Krivoshey, documentary filmmaker Ben Niles, actress Christianne Noll and NY Latino Film Festival Director Elizabeth Gardner Potter have helped to shape the Film Festival in its inaugural year.

SOPAC programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is a 501(c)(3)charitable organization.

Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The premier arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages.  To further expand its offerings, SOPAC has a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music to present Juilliard @ SOPAC—a series featuring upcoming musicians from the acclaimed conservatory.  SOPAC is home for Seton Hall University Arts Council’s performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz N’ the Hall performances and Seton Hall Theatre productions.  SOPAC also presents performances by its theater company in residence, Midtown Direct Rep, and its dance company in residence, Lydia Johnson Dance.  For more information, visit