Stephen Colbert’s annual Montclair Film Festival celebrity fundraiser is coming to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Colbert has invited director J.J. Abrams to join him for The Celebrity Nerd-Off: Stephen Colbert and J.J. Abrams.
Tom Hall, Director of the Montclair Film Festival (MFF), said he is definitely excited for the event on Nov. 21. According to Hall, this event is the only fundraiser that the non-profit MFF holds each year. The MFF does not hold a black tie gala, so Colbert’s event is a huge plus.
The event will consist of an overview of Abrams’ career, including the directing of the much anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the ins and outs of his films and TV shows. Colbert, who is good friends with Abrams, will moderate the discussion and then allow the audience to ask questions.
Hall urges all fans of Star Wars, Star Trek¸ Abrams and Colbert to attend the event. However, anyone who wants to donate to the MFF in lieu of attending the fundraiser can visit www.omaze.com/nerdoff. Hall also suggests that attendants enter a raffle to win two tickets to the Late Night with Stephen Colbert.
According to Hall, Colbert has been running this event since the start of the MFF in 2012. Colbert’s wife, Evelyn McGee-Colbert, is the Vice-Chairman of the Board for the MFF. At the same time, Hall said that the Colberts became involved with the MFF to help grow the local environment to reflect the community that they are from in Charleston, S.C., where they grew up attending a big local film festival. The Colberts wanted to make a similar experience come to life for their home-community in New Jersey, said Hall.
All of the proceeds of the event will benefit the MFF and Hall hopes to use some of the proceeds to fund the MFF’s youth education programs. He is also hoping to fund free summer screenings in Montclair’s parks for the general public to attend.
Hall has worked at film festivals since 2002 and has been the director of the MFF for a year and a half. Previously, he was the director of the Sarasota Film Festival from 2004 to 2014. However, when he was offered the job with the MFF, he could not pass up the opportunity to move closer to home with his young family, something he had wanted to do while living in Florida.
Today, Hall loves the diverse and opinionated community surrounding the MFF and wants to make his own impact. While he still sees a lot of potential in the MFF and called it a “strong organization with great foundations,” Hall also feels that the staff has done an outstanding job of creating a sustained organization that has a healthy financial system.
The next step for Hall is to create a permanent home for the MFF. At the end of last year’s film festival, a building on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, N.J. was donated to the MFF, which Hall said will be their new home. There, the festival can host year-round screenings, classes and events. Hall says it will also include a new film education center. Overall, the MFF has a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year.
For more information on The Celebrity Nerd-Off: Stephen Colbert and J.J. Abrams or the MFF, visit their website. The MFF will be held April 29 to May 8, 2016. To purchase tickets for the fundraiser, visit their website.