TheBPlot and The Coaster are first with what is in store for area film fans this summer.

The Asbury Park Film Initiative is back and, for once, the sequel is better than the original.


For three years, the Asbury Park Film Initiative, with the guidance of VJ Carbone and Marilyn Schlossbach, has been bringing free film and events to the city in fab venues such as The Showroom and, during the summer, the beach. 

There was nothing like walking down the boardwalk on a warm summer evening last summer and hearing classic dialogue from “Jaws.”  So fun.

Tomorrow (June 11), at 7 pm, the APFI will hold its biggest fundraiser to-date at the Carousel Building with a screening of Alice Waters’ documentary “Nourishing the Kids of Katrina,” along with a food and wine tasting.

And Thursday, July 1, the APFI launches its beach screening series for summer 2010.

I spoke with VJ and Marilyn for an exclusive look at what is in store this year.

TBP:   The APFI is not just about movies.

VJ:  We also raise money for local charities – like the Surfrider Foundation and The Center in Asbury Park – year-round by bringing new and different film to Asbury Park.

TBP:  When I spoke with you both three years ago, the APFI was an idea you were excited about but did not know how it was going to work.

Marilyn:  The reaction has been great.  We usually sell out at our Showroom screenings – we do screenings once a month there – and our screenings at the Paramount sometimes have 400 guests.  The films we show at Clearview Cinemas have been sell-outs too.

TBP:  The Clearview Cinema screenings are so fun.  How do you get first-run films before they hit the theatres?  Sometimes we see the films before I see the actors work the red carpet at the fancy-pants premiers.

VJ:  Many movie studios like to have word of mouth screenings before the film opens, so we go to them and see what we can make work. 

TBP:  Some people may not know that you are in the film business, VJ, so you give the  the inside track.  How do you guys choose the films?

Marilyn:  VJ and I brainstorm and check out what has been playing at international film festivals.  We also try to find films that would make sense to tie into a local endeavor, like when we did “Fresh” with the Garden of Joy. 

TBP:  The film series at the beach is such a fab Asbury Park-type event.  I heard that beyond the weather, sometimes there are some logistical issues.

VJ:  Well, the very first beach screening was a mess.  Marilyn and I were screening “No Reservations” followed by a reception at Bodega Shoppe.  We just bought the beach screen, which is huge and we were trying to set it up on a windy day.  The screen did not want to cooperate and acted more like a parachute than a screen. 

We kinda gave up on the screen and went straight to the drinks at Bodega.  We have the screen under control now.  (end)

2010 APFI Beach Screening Series (weather permitting):  July 1, “Surf’s Up,” 8.30 pm;  July 8, “Where the Wild Things Are,” 8.30 pm; July 15, “Beach Blanket Bingo,” 8.30 pm; July 22, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” 8.15 pm; July 29, “Back to the Beach,” 8.15 pm; August 5, APFI Facebook Fan’s Choice (vote beginning August 1), 8 pm; August 19, “Pirates of the Caribbean,” 7.45 pm; August 26, “WALL E,” 7.30 pm.

All screenings are free and take place on the beach in front of Langosta Lounge at 1200 Ocean Avenue.

Tickets to the benefit tomorrow are $50 and available at the door.