Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center (New Brunswick, NJ)
The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center is New Jersey's only venue dedicated exclusively to the non-commercial exhibition of independent, classic, international, experimental, and progressive cinema. As a non-profit media arts center, the Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC provides an exhibition alternative to the dominant, industry-produced work which, bound by commercial constraints, has traditionally limited its audience's exposure to the full range of cinematic expression, underrepresented cultural perspectives, and critical inquiry. The bi-annual New Jersey Film Festival and New Jersey International Film Festival which are our primary showcases for outstanding films also offer filmmaking workshops taught by industry professionals.
How did your organization start?
The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center was founded in 1982 by Al Nigrin. As a graduate student at Rutgers University, he decided the campus desperately lacked a venue for revival/independent films. So he took $300 out of his own pocket and started a seat-of-the-pants film program. 30 years later, the RFC/NJMAC New Jersey Film Festivals, have become the state's largest and longest running film program. The festivals, held mostly in a state-of-the-art facility, draws crowds from across the state and has devoted members and funding from many corporations, the NJ State Council of the Arts and the NEA.
What is special about your organization?
The Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC's New Jersey Film Festivals are the first to provide year-round festival programming. Not only do our audiences have the opportunity to view premiere films, but also the added benefit of meeting with the filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, etc. Some of our guests have included: Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, Paul Morrissey, D.A. Pennebaker, Todd Solondz, Bill Plympton, Mark Rappaport, Sara Driver, Jim McKay, Su Friedrich, Aviva Kempner, David Riker, Diane Bonder, Sarah Karloff, Roger Weisberg, Daina Krumins, Yasuki Nakajima, Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, Martha Rosler, Raphael Ortiz, Maureen Gosling, Moon Molson, Luke Mathany, Christina Eliopoulos and many, many others.
What is your organization currently working on that excites you?
The Fall of 2011 will be the 30th anniversary of the Rutgers Film Co-op. So we are very excited about that and are very proud to have lasted that long. Also, it took us close to ten years to get our own state-of-the-art facility at Rutgers. Our primary screening location Voorhees Hall #105 features new comfortable seats, stadium seating, as well as hi-definition projection and sound systems! So we are extremely enthused about that too. Visiting filmmakers are amazed at how nice a space it is.
What is the future for your organization? What are you striving for?
The Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC has always tried to stay visionary and ahead of the game. So many comparable programs across the country have ceased operations over the last few years during these tough economic times. Despite this the Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC has found ways to thrive. We also have an incredibly dedicated and passionate volunteer staff that loves what we do and make it the great organization that it is. We also have plenty of money in the bank and plan to keep doing what we have been doing for the last few years for the foreseeable future.