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Dante Hall Theater, 14 N. Mississippi Avenue, Atlantic City

Stockton University Atlantic City Campus,

Residence Complex at 3701 Boardwalk, Classrooms B119/120

Fanny Lou Hamer Event Room, the Academic Center, 3711 Atlantic Ave.


President’s Note

“Whether you color the world or light it up blue, you are making a difference, so keep being you!” – Dr. Seuss

Wow, 12 years! When I sit back and think about the previous 11 years, I am overwhelmed with joy. This festival does not just bring happiness to me and the rest of the Sokolic clan, it brings happiness to everyone involved.

This year has been a hectic one. After last year’s festival I decided I was going to move back to Virginia full time. And as many of you are aware, my parents live in Florida. Putting together a film festival from another state is not easy but everyone has been very patient and understanding and for that, I thank you all. 

The world is divided by politics, ideology and culture. Through the common language of film, we bridge the separations and share our common humanity. We share a global community with all who bring artistic vision to life in film. This is the vision that drives our work. 

To all of the filmmakers, crew, and cast of these amazing films, I want to thank you. Thank you for being a part of The Atlantic City Cinefest. Thank you to those who have showed support over the past years. Many of you have grown with the festival. We watched as so many of our talented acts, including some of our volunteers, go on to do amazing things in the industry. 

I want to give a huge thank to our sponsors Tropicana Atlantic City, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, Atlantic City Film Commission, Interstate Outdoor Advertising, Cooper Levenson Attorneys at Law, Dante Hall, Stockton University and of course, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and its staff for their in-kind and cash donations, all of which make this festival possible.

The Atlantic City Cinefest would not be complete without the help of our board. It is awesome to see us all come together for such a great cause in Atlantic City. From Heather helping out with AC Tourism – and securing a generous donation - Stefanie and Quinn for getting all of your students from Weist Barron Ryan to help out where they can, to Sebastian who always steps up when you need him. Of course, our entire board does great work and I thank you all.

I cannot forget to thank Ned for all that he does. Ned has been a rock in our festival since day 1. Not only is he Bill’s doppelganger, but he is a very important part in this festival.

No event is complete without the help of our volunteers. Whether they helped to review films, or volunteer during the festival, I cannot thank them enough. I especially want to thank Tony for all of his efforts in trying to get our website together. Even though it was not able to go through, you went above and beyond to try to make it happen. 

Of course, I need to thank my family. My amazing sisters, Niki and Becky, for all that they do. Whether it is Niki gathering all of the films at her house while I am down in Virginia, or Becky who spends her entire weekend with us just to help with whatever we need. To my mom Carol, well what can I say? You are always there for me to vent to when I do not want to go to dad! I love and thank you all. 

And last but not least, my dad, Bill. I took this festival under my wing and I hope that I have made you proud. You have shown me and taught me so much over the past 12 years. Without you, The Atlantic City Cinefest would not be here. You persevered through so much and you never let anyone dim your light. You are my rock, my best friend, and my role model. I love you and thank you for making The Atlantic City Cinefest a reality. 

Joelle Sokolic, President

Atlantic City Cinefest

Sponsor lists

Atlantic City Cinefest gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors…


Atlantic City Film Commission

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa 

Casino Reinvestment Development Authority

Richard Stockton University 


Cooper Levenson Attorneys at Law 

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 

Dante Hall Theater


Interstate Outdoor Advertising 

Rowan University 

Tropicana Casino & Resort 


Our sincere appreciation for the guidance and support from the following organizations:

Dante Hall Theater

Casino Reinvestment Development Authority

Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce

Richard Stockton University

Rowan University


The Ursula Ryan Lifesaver Award for Cinematic Achievement

We renamed our honoree award after a friend to the festival from the beginning, but also a friend to filmmakers here and elsewhere. As head of Weist-Barron-Ryan, Ursula led a local organization that offered casting services to filmmakers who wanted to shoot in Atlantic City, but also acting classes to aspiring and veterans alike.

We have two inaugural winners, one a veteran actor, the other a local filmmaker.

Garry Pastore has amassed well over 60 roles as actor over a 35 year span. He was born in New York City and he began his acting career at the early age of eighteen. His first foray into acting was a high school production of West Side Story and his first film credit was Prizzi's Honor, alongside veteran actor, Jack Nicholson in 1985. 

Garry has most recently starred alongside Alan Powell in the Spencer T Folmar film about the heroin crisis titled, Shooting Heroin expecting a 2020 release and co-starring Twin Peaks phenom, Sherilyn Fenn along with Nicholas Turturro, Cathy Moriarty and Lawrence Hilton Jacobs. Earlier last year Garry co-starred in the Happy Madison Production, The Week Of, Directed by Robert Smigel, starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Steve Buscemi and Rachel Dratch which made its debut on Netflix in April 2018. He also recently co starred in the Indy features, Mob Town, Sarah Q, Who's Jenna, Blowtorch,  Rob The Mob. He begins shooting Crabs in a Bucket with Jeremy Piven and Bruce Dern in the fall.

He can currently be seen in the first two seasons of the the hit HBO television series, The Deuce, in his gripping role as Matty "The Horse" Ianniello, and in Martin Scorcese’s latest film The Irishman.

Tony Picciotti made his name as a dancer, actor and producer, then as a filmmaker. The Camden High grad appeared in Broadway shows such as The Mouse Trap, Yes Means No, Can Can, No Strings and Little Me with Bob Fosse. He has also appeared in the movie version of How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, and The Pink Panther. 

Under his Jenny Lynn productions banner, he did West Side Story, Brigadoon, Gypsy, Carousel, Bells are Ringing, Little Me, and No Strings. He won Best Director for Walt Disney's High School Musical and Beauty and the Beast, as well as recitals for Absecon Academy of Performing Arts and for Encore Dance school.

His award-winning films - many playing at the Atlantic City Cinefest - included In All His Glory, Any Mothers Son, Talk to your Kids, Beautiful Cruel, The Devils Gambit, The 5th Door, Yours Anne, Beast, Didn’t Say Goodbye, The Honor, Illusionism, among others.

Returning Lifesaver Honoree

Blanche Baker received our Lifesaver Award in 2016.  She returned to the festival to screen Streetwrite, a musical she directed and wrote about freedom of speech. She returns again this year with another musical she directed and wrote, Make America Safe, which  tackles another social issue: guns.

Anyone who grew up in the 1980s – and many of us who didn’t - can recite Blanche’s lines as Ginny, the loopy bride to be, in Sixteen Candles by heart.

“I really love Rudy. He is totally enamored of me. I mean, I've had men who've loved me before, but not for six months in a row.”

In addition to Sixteen Candles, Blanche appeared in The Handmaid’s Tale with Robert Duvall, Raw Deal with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Kevin Bacon HBO film Taking Chance.  She won an Emmy for Holocaust with Meryl Streep. Daughter of actress, Carroll Baker, Blanche was part of the Yale Repertory Theatre. Her theatre roles include Steel Magnolias and Edward Albee’s Lolita with Donald Sutherland. Blanche is Senior Faculty at The New York Film Academy.

Officers and Trustees


William Sokolic


Joelle Sokolic, President

Carol Sokolic, Secretary

Nichole Kilpatrick, Treasurer


Cathy Burke

Heather Colache

Ned Eckhardt

Frank Formica

Sebastian Foxworth

Stefanie Ryan

John Sachar

Quinn Showell

Simone Simone

Jack Skyyler

We would like to again thank our team of film and script reviewers for the tough job of evaluating what films get into the festival and what scripts receive awards.

Ned Eckhardt

Jack Skyyler

Jennifer E. Smith

Joe’l Ludovich

Sebastian Foxworth

Joelle Sokolic

William Sokolic

Taylor Hutchinson

Abigail Frith

Screenwriting Competition Winners:

Feature Category

1st Place: LimoCop, by Kevin Lapsley

2nd Place: $40 Billion, by JJ Frey

3rd Place: At The Mercy of Faith, by Samuel Taylor

3rd Place:Transgressions, by Al Mertens

Short Category

1st Place: Chloe `Two Fingers,’ by Lisa Tedesco

2nd Place: The Forward Place, by Henry Gravelle
3rd Place: XXX Arson, by Dawn Brown

Student: Business of Ferrets, by Will Berry

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