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“DRIFT” Wins Best NJ Film at Indie Street Film Festival

DRIFT, a feature-length documentary created by Monmouth University’s Production Services, received the award for Best New Jersey Film at the Indie Street Film Festival held in Red Bank from Sept. 7-11. DRIFT was one of 21 documentaries and 60 total films shown at the regional festival, and was selected by the audience for the New Jersey-based award.

Erin Fleming, director of Production Services, directed the feature-length film that included four production student crew members, recent graduates Jared Garcia ’21, Nicole Amatucci ’21, Azalia Whitlock ’21, and Dan Rosario ’21. All four alumni worked on the two-year long project while attending Monmouth. The crew also included additional members of the University community, including alumni, faculty, and staff.

“Students were able to work on a feature-length documentary that won an award at a film festival in the state and it’s the best film in New Jersey—it’s a really big deal. I don’t know of many universities that have this sort of opportunity but we have those opportunities here. Students need to take advantage of every opportunity at Monmouth, because there are some great things happening,” Fleming said.

“The students who participate in Production Services achieve a level of production, while still in school, and it’s pretty much unheard of. The students that worked on this all graduated and every single one of them are working in production now.”

Nick Messina ’18M, specialist professor in the Department of Communication, and Sophia Parola ’18 narrated the film; Geoffrey Fouad, Ph.D., associate professor of Geography, created all maps seen in the film; David Gould ’16, multimedia specialist at Monmouth, worked on the studio audio; and current communication major Jenna Piccotti worked on the film’s public relations.

Some members of the film’s crew also participated in a panel discussion during the festival.

“I try to be inclusive, so I tried to pull in as much talent as we could. We have talent all over campus and there is so much you can do with film—maps, graphics, music—so why not bring everybody in to make this happen,” Fleming added.

DRIFT tells the story of Barnegat Bay through the voices and eyes of people who cherish the bay as a natural, recreational, and economic resource for the local community, and all of New Jersey. It guides the audience through 50 years of complex issues through a series of five vignettes, using a variety of perspectives, viewpoints, and experiences.

The film also celebrates the 50-year anniversary of the nonprofit organization, and executive producer of the documentary, Save Barnegat Bay.

Public and private screenings are available via requests and bookings. For a list of updated public screenings, visit the DRIFT page on the Save Barnegat Bay website.

Production Services provides high-quality video production to nonprofits, as well as the University community, and provides students with real-world experience as they work alongside a select group of award-winning industry professionals.