SOMA Film Fest to return for third year

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SOUTH ORANGE / MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The SOMA FilmFestival returns for its third season with an impressive slate of films that will both entertain and enlighten, according to a recent press release. The festival takes place Friday, March 16, through Sunday, March 18, and for the first year at The Woodland in downtown Maplewood with selected screenings at both Maplewood Theater and Bow Tie Cinemas in South Orange.

This year’s event will launch on the evening of March 16 with a party themed in honor of the days of the drive-in movie theater and with a screening of the indie documentary “At the Drive-In” with the filmmaker and cast in attendance.

A record number of filmmakers will be joining in the festivities this year, and informative question-and-answer sessions will follow many of the screenings. The popular “Kids Program,” which features all original programming for children, is back for another year with an encore presentation being offered, as well as the Youth Filmmaker Program from Cinema Ed that highlights some of the talent from Columbia High School, and a “Locals Only!” program will showcase many friends and neighbors.

“It’s a big year for us with our new location and partnership with Maplewood Arts Council and we’ve worked hard to program films that will appeal to our growing audience in our two communities and beyond,” SOMA Film Festival founder Matt Smollon said in the release.

Some other highlights from this years’ festival include the horror comedy “Tragedy Girls,” which is about two high school seniors who become killers to raise their social media status; this film will screen as the Saturday night feature. An empowering block of films that promotes female filmmakers will be anchored by the feature film, “The Sunrise Storyteller,” which tells the story of a 16-year-old girl who travels the globe in search of stories of hope and resilience. There will also be an inaugural shorts program to close out the festival on the evening of Sunday, March 18, and both a U.S. and world premiere of Japan’s “Reverse Diaries” and the United States’ “Fatherhood.”

Oh! Canary will be providing arts and crafts classes for little ones during the festival for a nominal fee during select program screenings on Saturday, March 17, from noon to 6:30 p.m. so parents can have a day date and watch a movie or two.

To purchase tickets for the festival, visit For more information and a complete schedule of films, visit