GARDEN STATE FILMFEST CULTIVATES SOME JERSEY TOMATOES

Published in The Coaster (Asbury Park NJ) and The Link News (Long Branch NJ), March 21, 2019

“It’s an honor. An honor!

The preceding represents the entire transcript of a speech delivered by Christopher Lloyd, as he quickly accepted an award from the producers of the 2018 Garden State Film Festival— and just as quickly made his way out the door of the festival’s host venue, the onetime Neptune High School building reborn in recent years as the Jersey Shore Arts Center.

A vividly familiar presence in big-budget Hollywood properties like the Back to the Future franchise, The Addams Family, Star Trek III and Roger Rabbit — and a serial Emmy winner for his work in Taxi and other projects — the veteran character man was briefly present in Ocean Grove to promote his participation in an indie thriller being screened that evening, and to help welcome the festival as it went “back to the future,” in a return to the community that it called home for the first 11 years of its existence.

Founded in 2003 by Diane Raver and the late Robert Pastorelli (an Emmy nominee as Eldin on the original Murphy Brown), the GSFF spent four years in Atlantic City before relocating once more to a fast-morphing Asbury Park and neighboring precincts. By that time, the city had spawned several all-new entertainment venues (including the  expanded ShowRoom arthouse cinema); welcomed aboard a slew of new concert series and special events — and given birth to a high-energy, high-profile Music and Film Festival whose upcoming schedule in April 2019 boasts appearances by, among others, writer-producer-director Peter Farrelly (fresh off his  double Oscar win for Green Book).

But while Raver’s festival has welcomed such well known guests as Glenn Close, Ed Asner, Batman producer Michael Uslan, That 70s Show actor Kurtwood Smith, On the Waterfront screenwriter Budd Schulberg and half the cast of The Sopranos beneath its tent in past editions, its roots remain grounded in the still-fertile soil of the independent filmmaking movement — with a particular emphasis on the plump and flavorful “tomatoes” cultivated by the creative community of the Garden State.

And when the 17th annual GSFF presents its smorgasbord of international fare beginning this coming Wednesday, March 27, the guest list will carry a pronounced Jersey accent, with special recognitions given to a set of screen performers with deep local connections — and a keynote event that once again explores our seemingly bottomless fascination with the legacy of HBO’s Sopranos series.

Screening at 7 pm Wednesday, and hosted at the JS Arts Center, My Dinner With Alan finds writers Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz — longtime television correspondents for the Star-Ledger, and authors of the book The Soprano Sessions— discussing the lasting impact of David Chase’s groundbreaking, Jersey-centric project (among various other topics) inside Holsten’s, the Bloomfield restaurant that served as the setting for the show’s still-controversial finale.

Sepinwall and Seitz are scheduled to be present for a post-screening panel discussion with director Kristen Fraga, joined for the occasion by a trio of Sopranos actors: Artie Pasquale, Federico Castelluccio, and Dan Grimaldi (famous for playing both Parisi twins, and familiar to followers of Long Branch’s New Jersey Repertory Company for his roles in Mercy and The Jag). While it’s included in the festival’s weekend pass option, the event (which features a book signing pre-order option for $25) also offers a $15 individual ticket at brownpapertickets.com/event/4094178.

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A RUMSON SCREEN STAR’S CHARACTER THERAPY

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Movie-TV actress (and Rumson mom) Siobhan Fallon Hogan…seen here with fellow regular Matt Dillon in the new Fox TV series WAYWARD PINES…returns to the stage of Two River Theater this Saturday with her sold-out solo show, ACTING OUT.

(Originally published on RedBankGreen.com, February 26, 2015)

Hers is a face you’ve likely encountered in and around her home on the Greater Red Bank Green, where she’s apt to be sighted at one of the schools her kids attend — as well as many of the staple sites of local community life.

A quick safari through the channel guide can match that face with a whole streaming smorgasbord of well-known movies and TV shows, from Seinfeld (she was Elaine’s roommate Tina), Men in Black (she was the alien farmer’s wife) and Forrest Gump (she played Dorothy the school bus driver), to Danish director Lars Von Trier’s arthouse oddity Dogville, and under-appreciated items like New in Town with Renee Zellweger. Not to forget a stint as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.

Expect to see a bit more of her. Beginning this May, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, a Rumson resident of 10 years, will be a regular presence onWayward Pines, the Fox TV “event thriller” limited series (starring Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard and an ensemble supporting cast) from producer M. Night Shyamalan. Before that, though, Fallon Hogan returns to the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater — where several years back she debuted an original one-woman show entitled The Salty Sea PTA — with an all new showcase for her multi-tasking character skills.

Written by its star and entitled Acting Out!, the all-new comic solo quickly sold out its two scheduled performances on Saturday, with an encore presentation now added for Thursday, March 12. The Drama Desk atredbankgreen managed to catch up with the beyond-busy actor, mom and playwright, prior to a brief but well-deserved beach vaykay — and between a weathery year of shooting in Canada, and a run of rehearsals here on the icy banks of the Navesink.

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ARCHIVE: Salty Sea PTA is Called to Order

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Siobhan Fallon Hogan, a familiar face and a good neighbor, brings her original show THE SALTY SEA PTA to Red Bank’s Two River Theater this weekend, before starting a new film project with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler.

By TOM CHESEK (First published on Red Bank oRBit June 15, 2009)

If Siobhan Fallon Hogan could just stand still for five minutes, maybe we could fulfill our dream of being able to conduct Seinfeld-themed tours of Red Bank, a la “the real Kenny Kramer.”

The tours could start at the Eisner Library, where Ron Steelman (Jerry’s cousin Artie!) regularly chairs meetings of the Red Bank Humanists. From there, we wind past the soup-nutsy local outpost of The Original SoupMan™ (former location of the Vandelay Cafe — what are the odds?), finally coming to rest outside the Count Basie Theatre, where posters advertise an upcoming appearance by Jason Alexander — and where board member Siobhan Fallon Hogan (Elaine’s roommate Tina!) waves to our double-decker bus.

It’s not to be, however, since as a mother of three school-age kids, vice president of the Holy Cross School PTA, and comedic character actress with a formidable list of film and TV credits, standing still doesn’t appear to be in the cards for the former SNL cast member who now resides full time in Rumson.

Even if you don’t immediately respond to the name, you’ve seen her face in films ranging from blockbusters (Forrest Gump, Men in Black) to family romps (Daddy Daycare, Charlotte’s Web) and the occasional Lars von Trier arthouse oddities (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville). Consequently, she’s shared the frame with such screen icons as Tom HanksNicole KidmanEddie MurphyWill SmithRenee Zellweger and, well, Pauly Shore.

Starting this summer, Hogan will be appearing alongside Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler in the role of a bail bondswoman in the forthcoming feature Bounty Hunter, a production that, the actress tells us, will bring “Gernnifer” to Monmouth County to film sequences at Monmouth Park Racetrack (and possibly other bits of local scenery). Thanks to Siobhan, you read it here first in oRBit.

Before that, however, Hogan has another exciting project keeping her busy — a self-penned, one-woman tour de force called The Salty Sea PTA, a “satirical look at PTA life” that “showcases Hogan as a variety of different characters from parents to coaches to school psychiatrist.”

Hometurf audiences will be the first in the nation to get a look at this original stage work, as Hogan presents two performances this weekend (8pm on June 20; 7pm on June 21), at Two River Theater in Red Bank. The shows, originally scheduled for June 18 and 19, were repositioned due to the Bounty Hunter commitment —  and as of this posting, a very limited number of tickets have been made available for both shows. So reserve those tix ($45) by calling the Two River box office at(732)345-1400 or checking online here.

Red Bank oRBit, who first interviewed Hogan in conjunction with her duties as host of the 2009 Count Basie Awards, met up with the writer and performer at our unofficial conference space inside Zebu Forno. Here’s how that played out.

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