SOMA Film Festival to debut in South Orange and Maplewood this weekend

The logo of the SOMA Film Festival.

The logo of the SOMA Film Festival.

The first SOMA Film Festival, dedicated to innovative independent films, will take place Feb. 12-14 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. You can get more information at, or see the schedule at, but below is an assortment of trailers for some of the 40 films (both shorts and full-length features) that will be shown.

SOMA, by the way, stands for South Orange and Maplewood — neighboring towns with a high concentration of filmmakers and other artists among its residents — though all the screenings will be in South Orange.

“In Transit,” which screens at 10 a.m. Feb. 13, is a documentary feature, co-directed by the late Albert Maysles, about Amtrak’s Empire Builder train — which runs from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest — and the people who ride it. Critic Stephen Whitty will moderate a post-screening discussion with co-directors Lynn True and Nelson Walker.

“Mother’s Day,” which screens at noon Feb. 13, is a narrative short about a hospitalized mother (Oscar winner Melissa Leo) and her son.

“A Box Came to Brooklyn,” which screens at 4:15 p.m. Feb. 13, is a narrative short in which Brooklynites argue over the possibility that a plain brown box that shows up on their street could be a terrorist’s weapon.

“Some Kind of Spark,” which screens at 10 a.m. Feb. 14, is a documentary feature about seven inner city youths studying music at Juilliard.

“Among the Believers,” which screens at 3 p.m. Feb. 14, is a documentary feature about Pakistani cleric Abdul Aziz Ghazi, who supports ISIS and is waging jihad against the Pakistani state. Documentary makers Sarah Klein and Tom Mason will lead a post-screening discussion with co-directors Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi.

“Odd Brodsky,” which screens at 4:45 p.m. Feb. 14, is a narrative feature about a woman who quits her job and tries to become an actress.

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