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Monmouth County Student Hosts Film Festival

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Guests at First Annual Macoproject Screening

Guests at First Annual Macoproject Screening

Macoproject Staff

Macoproject Staff

Guests at First Annual Macoproject Screening

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“I’m not a filmmaker,” says Avery Cohen, a 19-year old business major and film minor at Montclair State University, from Freehold. This time, last year, he was writing the screenplay for his sixth short film, “The Horizon.” As director of his own films, he would write the screenplays, rent the equipment, choose the cast and manage the cinematography.

Today, with the same fervor, he tells me that he’s finished with film– at least, with directing it. Cohen is currently the founder and head director of the Macoproject Film Festival, “an annual, New York City-based film festival open internationally to all screenwriters and filmmakers, listed as one of the best independent film festivals of 2018 by Film Daily.” Now, he is responsible for the festival’s communication, judging and finances, ensuring that he and his colleagues break even.

Cohen’s friends and colleagues, Jason Perniciaro and Charlie Weisman, also judge the event. Fueled by coffee and determination, the boys stay awake until the early morning, narrowing down three winners of screenplays and films from roughly 300 diverse film submissions.

His festival combines recreational interest with economic endeavor, something that many college students are doing nowadays. Yet, his shift from art to business can be partially attributed to a general lack of interest in the artistic side of film.

I ask Cohen why he switched from filmmaking to film marketing. “When I got to college, I saw the business side of film. When I wrote scripts, I knew the beginning and end, but I never knew what to put in the middle,” he says.

The middle of his films saw the bulk of thematic development, with themes including financial struggle and coming of age. “When I was writing the screenplays, I wondered, ‘What would it be like to leave a town that you’ve lived in your whole life behind?’ And I didn’t know the answer to that. I only had ambiguous thoughts. That’s the state of mind I was in: the fear of the unknown.”

Cohen says that if he could go back, he’d write screenplays much differently. “Do you think you’ll ever direct a film again?” I ask. He says no, considering that he does not care for the craft as much and genuinely enjoys film marketing more.

As the interview comes to a close, he tells me that he plans on continuing the Macoproject Film Festival. In regard to his career, he aspires to do promotional work for Netflix and HBO.

And when I think of what’s next for Cohen in the film industry, I am reminded of his inspirations for writing screenplays: what’s next is shrouded in ambiguity. I can only imagine someone leaving the town they’ve known their whole life for good, except this time, with less fear of the unknown.

The Macoproject Film Festival is set to screen its submissions in Times Square on Nov. 4.

1 Comment

One Response to “Monmouth County Student Hosts Film Festival”

  1. Avery Cohen on October 11th, 2018 12:10 AM

    Fantastic job Miss Tamayo

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