By Deirdre S. Hopton
September 17, 2009
The New Jersey Film Festival is coming to the University in a few
weeks, and University alumnus Jon Kalafer couldn't be more excited.
His film, "We Love You," is in the running for both the Best
Documentary award and the Best of the Fest award. Kalafer, who
graduated in 1998, said his film has already won the Best Documentary
award at the Los Angeles Film Festival, but he is really looking
forward to screening it at his alma mater.
"Rutgers was where I really started to see film as the incredibly
expressive medium that it is. I also loved the extracurricular stuff
at Rutgers," Kalafer said. "I remember going to the New Jersey
International Film Festival, doing yoga for the first time [and]
reading the Targum before class. It is a really fulfilling experience
to now be screening here at the Film Festival."
"We Love You" is a documentary about the Rainbow Gatherings, which
Kalafer said occur once every year in a variety of locations.
Participants in the Rainbow Gatherings build a city in the middle of
a different wilderness area for each Gathering.
"I first met Rainbows while an undergraduate here at Rutgers. There
was a couple I was friends with … they told me about the Gatherings,"
Kalafer said. "To be honest I didn't really believe them. In 1999,
the Annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes was in Pennsylvania so I
attended. I was pretty surprised to find that it was exactly like
they described. There is nothing else like a Rainbow Gathering."
Kalafer said the intellectual and visual stimulation of the
Gatherings immediately came to mind when he began brainstorming ideas
for a documentary subject. He encountered some resistance because
many of the Rainbows are distrustful of cameras and media, but he
felt the documentary needed to be made, and his persistence paid off.
"I wanted to document the way they organize themselves. They are
co-operative, anarchic, non-commercial yet they create this amazing
city every year that meets the needs of all the inhabitants," Kalafer
said. "I also felt strongly about documenting the prayer for peace,
which is the central focus of the Gathering, and occurs on July 4."
Kalafer said his film is competing against approximately 12 other
contestants for the Best Documentary Award.
Professor Albert G. Nigrin is the Executive Director/Curator of
Rutgers Film Co Op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, the organization
that sponsors the film festival. Nigrin said that other contestants
for the Best Documentary include Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend
Experience" and Chris Pepino's "We Enjoy Yourself."
Kalafer said he has enjoyed all of the films he has seen which will
be in the festival, but he is interested in viewing one in particular.
"I would say I am most looking forward to 'The Cartel.' I am a
teacher at Dickinson High School in Jersey City and this documentary
takes a hard look at New Jersey schools, which is a subject very
close to my heart," Kalafer said.
The film festival will run from Oct. 4 through Nov. 8, according to
the Web site. All films will be played in Scott Hall and the Ruth
Adams Building. Films screened in Scott Hall will begin at 7 p.m.,
and those in the Ruth Adams Building will begin at 6 p.m.
Kalafer's film, "We Love You," will be playing in Scott Hall on
Friday, Oct. 9. Tickets are $10 for the general public, and $9 for
The full festival schedule is available online at www.njfilmfest.com.