GSFF presents

The Bird Catcher

The Bird Catcher

Photo courtesy of NoodleHead Productions
In The Bird Catcher, a 15-year-old Jewish girl named Esther must conceal her identity during WWII.

Garden State Film Festival
Asbury Park, N.J.

The Bird Catcher

Photo courtesy of NoodleHead Productions

The 17th Annual Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) will kick off this year’s screenings of over 240 independent films from around the globe with The Bird Catcher on Friday evening, March 29 at 8:30 p.m. at the iconic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park.

Inspired by true events and filmed on location against the backdrop of Norway’s spectacular scenery, this feature film is a stunning and captivating story about survival of the spirit in the face of adversity. Set in Trondheim, Norway in 1942, The Bird Catcher follows a 15-year-old Jewish girl named Esther (played with breathtaking brilliance by Sarah-Sofie Boussnina), who finds herself trapped and alone on a Nazi-occupied farm after attempting to flee the roundup of Jews. She is forced to conceal her identity, which in turn leads to a series of choices and consequences that shift the paths of those around her. The film uncovers a hidden slice of history that grips the heart and inspires us all at the deepest level. The Bird Catcher reminds us that even in the darkest of circumstances, kindness still exists, and that good often can, and does, triumph over evil.

Edison, New Jersey, native Lisa G. Black is one of the film’s producers and is thrilled to be traveling to Asbury to open the festival, “On behalf of everyone, we are truly honored to be selected as the opening night film. These kinds of stories, perseverance in face of adversity coupled with tolerance and understanding, now and forever need to be told. New Jersey born and raised, I’m thrilled to be able to screen our film at a festival which truly supports independent filmmakers and producers like Garden State Film Festival.”

The film was developed under Black’s shingle Garnet Girl (featured in The Norwegian American in the July 1, 2016, article, “Garnet Girl’s international film movement,”, a company known for award-wining international co-productions and artist management. In addition to Black, much of the film’s international cast and crew will be in attendance at the Gala and available for a Q&A following the screening.

Prior to the first screening, GSFF will launch its five-day festivities with an elegant star-studded Red-Carpet Gala Networking Event and Cocktail Party, to be held Friday evening, March 29, at Asbury’s majestic Convention Hall. Attendees will have an opportunity to mingle with organizers, filmmakers, and celebrities, while celebrating the festival’s 17th year.

Written by Trond M. Kristensen, The Bird Catcher was produced by Lisa G. Black, Leon Clarance, and Ross Clarke, with Direction by Ross Clarke. Executive producers are Laure Vaysse, Laura Brook, and Brandi Savitt. Director of photography is John C. Rosenlund. The cast includes Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, August Diehl, Jakob Cedergren, Arthur Hakalahti, Johannes Kuhnke, Laura Birn, and Anders Baasmo Christiansen.

To learn more about The Bird Catcher, visit

For more information about the Garden State Film Festival, contact:

This article originally appeared in the February 8, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.