February 20, 2013

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15,000 people expected to attend Middletown’s Hoboken Film Festival

MIDDLETOWN – The Hoboken International Film Festival, which will be held for the first time this spring at the Paramount Theater in Middletown will mean “lights, camera, action” to the city, US Senator Charles Schumer said at Tuesday’s official ribbon cutting – actually a film strip - at the theater. He said the Paramount is the “perfect location” for the festival.

Festival founder and Chairman Kenneth Del Vecchio said he hopes that this will become the permanent venue for the annual event in its eighth year that will be hosted from May 31 to June 6 by comedian Gilbert Gottfried.

Schumer was very upbeat about the announcement.    

With this new film festival, we are going to show the world that New York State has the best Orange County in show business,” Schumer told a large number of local residents who came to the Paramount to hear the official announcement.

The first 100 of those received a free festival movie pass to attend all of the viewings.

Film actress Rachael Robbins, a Putnam County native, Schumer, DelVecchio and director Dylan Bank

Del Vecchio shot his two most recent films largely at the Paramount and he is excited about the 2013 event, which will screen 90 films out of 1,500 that were submitted.

Orange County Executive Edward Diana, a native of Middletown, said he still calls it his home in “the greatest Orange County in the nation.” He noted the Hudson Valley is one of the most historic areas in the country and visitors should spend a weekend here and take in the sights.

The county has committed $150,000 to the Paramount for new digital projection equipment.

Mayor Joseph DeStefano thought the idea of moving the festival to Middletown was pie in the sky initially, but he quickly realized the reality of it.

“I’m not really too much of an artsy guy; I’m more like a Chris Christy guy as some people try to tell me, but I do recognize the arts and the economic impact on the community,” DeStefano said.

Del Vecchio credited Nelson Page, the Paramount’s manager who also manages theaters in New Jersey, which have played host to the film festival, for lured him to Middletown.

He also heaped praise on local government leaders.

“One of the greatest ways for economic development is to bring in the arts. I found that Joe DeStefano and Ed Diana really understand this. They get it,” Del Vecchio said.

As for the future of the Hoboken Film Festival in Middletown, “I want to be here forever,” Del Vecchio said.


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