There wasn’t any arm-twisting needed to get Danny DeVito to return to his native Asbury Park for the music and film festival that took over the town from April 27-29. Much like the organizers of the event, the actor-director whose film and TV career spans more than five decades was there for the city’s youth.
“I’d do pretty much anything to help Asbury Park and the kids in Asbury Park, so here I am again,” DeVito said in an interview with NJBIZ. “I love coming back.”
A DeVito career retrospective was one of several sold-out events at the Asbury Music and Film Festival, which highlights the marriage of music and movies to raise money for youth music education.
“The thing about music and movies is that for me, it’s crucial,” DeVito said. “I feel like the synergy you have with the composer is like — I mean, every part of it is fun. Planning the movie, shooting the movie, editing the movie, mixing the sound. When you [mix that with music], it really brings it to life.”
The DeVito event at the Paramount Theatre shared the bill with a host of other fan favorites, including the world premiere of Justin Kreutzmann’s concert documentary “Break On Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors” and hip hop guitarist Wyclef Jean’s performance at the Stone Pony, in which he collaborated with students from the Lakehouse Music Academy of Asbury Park.
In all, more than 20,000 people showed up to the charity event.
“When you’re alone in a room and you’re kind of agonizing thinking about stuff, how do you get that out? Let’s exhibit to our children that [art] is the way to get it out,” DeVito said. “It gives kids the freedom like they’d never imagine. That’s what we’re doing with this.”
Prior to Michael Franti’s musical performance and the premiere of his documentary “Stay Human” on April 27 at the Paramount Theatre, Monmouth Medical Center President Bill Arnold announced RWJBarnabas, one of the festival’s founding partners, will continue as a sponsor.
“We understand that the arts are life enhancing, enriching and truly life altering, and support the festival mission to preserve, exhibit and promote the city of Asbury Park’s rich musical heritage — past, present and future,” he said.
Asbury Park Press also is a co-founding partner, and the support it and others give are “key to the festival’s success,” said Tom Bernard, festival chair and president of Sony Pictures Classics.
“This is a place where people are celebrating music and film,” Bernard said. “Any ticket you buy, it’s going toward charity, and that makes it a little different — this is a sponsorship opportunity for any company that wants to brand with that. The people who show up show up because of the charity.”