Brookdale Community College’s main campus in Lincroft is now the home of the executive offices for the Garden State Film Festival (GSFF). To celebrate the occasion, Brookdale is presenting Best of the Fest on Thursday, February 27 at 7 pm at the Performing Arts Center (PAC).

“Brookdale has played an instrumental part in the Garden State Film Festival since day one, so it is that much more exciting to us that now the executive offices of the GSFF are housed at Brookdale’s Lincroft campus,” said Lauren Concar, the executive director of the GSFF and video production specialist for Brookdale TV.

Concar has been actively involved with the Garden State Film Festival since it debuted 18 years ago. Diane Raver is the co-founder of the GSFF and was awarded an honorary degree at Brookdale’s Commencement ceremonies last May. She reached out to the Brookdale TV department about producing a story on the festival’s founding year, and Concar took the lead. “I got to meet so many amazing filmmakers that first year that I was just hooked. I immediately became a volunteer,” she said.

Concar’s role with the GSFF has evolved over the years, and she was appointed executive director in 2017. “I am taking the vision that Diane Raver created for the festival and running with it. Each year I look to elevate the festival to the next level,” she explained.

“I always brought Brookdale students with me to be volunteers at the Garden State Film Festivals over the years,” Concar said. Students have been involved with all different aspects of the GSFF in an array of capacities and are able to use that opportunity to network as well as get real world experience in their fields.

“We are a springboard for our filmmakers and our volunteers as well,” said Concar. Many Brookdale students who have been involved with the GSFF have made vital connections in their respective industries which have led to successful careers. “We are constantly opening the doors whether you are an inspiring filmmaker or an intern of ours, and it is just really wonderful to see all the careers we have helped launch over the years,” she said.

“Since we have already been working with Brookdale students who are interns and volunteers, I am excited to see that collaboration take place closer to home here in Lincroft. This way the students can be involved more with the pre-production of the festival which provides them with real world experience,” said Concar.

This year the GSFF will be held from March 25 through March 29 in Asbury Park; there will be 247 films from over 20 countries. There will be over 45 high school films that will screen at the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove on Saturday and Sunday, March 28 and 29.

As part of the new partnership between Brookdale and the GSFF, Dr. David Stout, president of Brookdale, will host the Sunday high school film block and a short informational piece about Brookdale will play before every high school short film during the festival. In addition, Brookdale’s New Jersey College Opportunity Grant Navigators will have recruitment and information tables set up during the festival. The informational video Meg Natter, dean of the Humanities Institute at Brookdale, created to introduce potential students to the different departments in the Humanities will also be shown during the festival.

To celebrate the new partnership, Brookdale is hosting the Garden State Film Festival Night at the Movies: Best of the Fest on Thursday, February 27 at 7 pm in the PAC.  The event, which is open to the public, will be a compilation of short films from around the globe.  Tickets are $10 with $5 tickets for Brookdale students who use the code gsfflovesyou. Tickets are available at

“I’m excited to share with my Brookdale family the Best of the Fest as an inspiration to our filmmakers here at the college,” Concar said.

The GSFF is now the second non-profit organization located at Brookdale’s Lincroft main campus. In October, the Rockit Live Foundation announced its move to the college.

“We can’t thank Dr. Stout enough for his vision of continuing to build the arts in Monmouth County,” Concar said.