The 2nd annual SOMA Film Festival will be an even bigger and better event than our successful inaugural year. We will continue to showcase new, entertaining and innovative films from local, student, domestic and international filmmakers.
The 2nd year will extend to full four days of festivities that celebrate movies. We learned from last year’s success that there is an eagerness and demand for quality independent film in our community and beyond. Our Downtown South Orange and Maplewood locations at SOPAC (South Orange Performance Center) and Maplewood Theater are the perfect locations. The short trip from New York City attracted a countless variety of talent last year that included: Directors, Actors, Producers, Writers and Industry Professionals.
We will again offer outstanding independent short, and feature documentary and narrative films, director Q & A’s, an opening night party, as well as a local filmmakers program. The coming year will add a kids & family program. We will highlight a panel filled with industry professionals who will provide insightful advice on a range of movie-making topics. We will also include more behind-the-scene filmmaker events—such as a private industry “meet & greet”—that will empower filmmakers with real world opportunities.
Matt Smollon, Founder/Director
Aside from being Founder and Director of the SOMA Film Festival, Matt is a veteran writer of film, television and many other creative endeavors. He has written over 20 original screenplays including Second City’s BuzzKill (Indican 2012), as well as Rooters and Figs of Newton with writer/director Steven Kampmann (Back To School, Stealing Home). He has written for hire for independent producers on such projects as Boardwalk, Mob Mentality, The Grape (TV), Checkered and Takeoff, as well as many others. Matt has had three screenplays optioned by Miramax Films and was employed as a full time development executive/writer at Shooting Gallery Films (Sling Blade, You Can Count On Me, Croupier). He worked with the writer Bruce Graham (Anastasia, Steal This Movie) on a story pitch based on his own idea titled Fruits vs. Vegetables. Matt has written and produced webisodes for Sports Illustrated, for SI.com. He is the creator/producer of the documentary series Life in the D about a behind the scenes look at the daily grind of life in minor league basketball. In his former position at Wiley Publishing, he wrote, directed and edited long and short form content for web promotion. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon.
Thomas Hanna, Co-Director
Thomas, an attorney in New York, has a wide range of legal experiences including litigation, real estate and entertainment. Most recently he has produced the independent feature films entitled Second City’s BuzzKill (Indican 2012), with Darrell Hammond and Krysten Ritter, winner, Best Feature Film at the 2008 New Jersey Film Festival at Cape May and Best Feature Comedy and Best Director at the 2009 Big Easy Film Festival and, A Novel Romance (Entertainment One/New Films International 2012), with Steve Guttenberg and Shannon Elizabeth.
He has also produced the highly successful Off-Broadway shows, Pieces (of ass) through his production company, New Scenario Entertainment, and Off-Broadway’s Voyage of the Carcass. Recently, he has also worked producing/developing several television projects for Steven Van Zandt’s company, Renegade Nation. Thomas was also the producer of the highly successful Shooting Gallery Film Series for Shooting Gallery Entertainment, where he oversaw all aspects of the series.
He has served as legal counsel and co-producer on the short film Death Of The Monkey, by David Goldsmith; and has worked on numerous feature films, where he gained invaluable experience and insight into the independent film world over the years, including Hamlet, by Michael Almereyda with Ethan Hawke, Bill Murray, Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber and Sam Shepard; Better Living, by Max Mayer with Olympia Dukakis, Roy Scheider and Ed Hermann; Dummy, by Gregory Pritikin with Adrien Brody; Perfume, by Michael Rymer with Jeff Goldbum, Michelle Williams, Omar Epps, Carmen Electra, Coolio, Paul Sorvino and Rita Wilson; Maze, by Rob Morrow with Laura Linney; and Heartbreak Hospital, by Ruedi Gerber with John Shea, Patricia Clarkson and Diane Venora.
Susan Greeley, Program Director
Susan has over 25 years experience in the entertainment industry with an expertise in worldwide film distribution, acquisitions, programming, and business development. Currently, Susan is the Associate Short Film Programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Enterprises’ United In-flight Program.
Previously, Susan was the VP of Global Distribution and Business Development at Shorts International where she was responsible for licensing films across all channels worldwide. She initiated the Oscar Nominated Shorts theatrical release and negotiated theatrical, television, and VOD deals. Prior to Shorts International, Susan was VP of Worldwide Distribution and Acquisitions at Doug Liman’s HYPNOTIC where she created distribution strategies for ground-breaking branded entertainment programs including Reebok’s Terry Tate: Office Linebacker, and the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival. Throughout the ownership changes her responsibilities increased and she became responsible for the worldwide sales department at Wellspring Media, managing the distribution of over 1000 hours of programming and over 300 feature films, including leading the sales team for the critically acclaimed and Award-winning Feature Documentary film, TARNATION at the Cannes Film Festival.
Susan has been a Jury Member/Panelist for numerous festivals including the Student Academy Awards, AFI Film Festival, CFC Worldwide Film Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, GEN-ART Film Festival, Calgary Film Festival, NYU First Run, Columbia University.
Sarah Klein, Program Director
Sarah co-founded Redglass Pictures with Tom Mason in 2008 as a platform for directing short films and video installations. She recently co-directed How To Win An Election, a New York Times OpDoc about how campaigns use storytelling to manipulate voters. She also co-directed a sixteen-part video installation series for the USA Pavilion at Expo Milan featuring the President and Michelle Obama. Before that, Redglass created a twenty-part digital series: Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies with Ken Burns and PBS. Ongoing partners and clients include: The New York Times, The Atlantic, WETA, PBS, Ken Burns/Florentine Films, Thinc Design, and Mercer.