The 13th Annual Garden State Film Festival will be held in Atlantic City, March 19-22, 2015. The four-day event closes with an awards dinner at which several honors will be bestowed for achievement in filmmaking. James Wilder will receive the Independent Spirit Award at the Sunday, March 22nd dinner to be held at the Claridge Hotel, the newly refurbished beachfront venue on the historic Boardwalk. Last year’s recipient was actress Laura Dern.
“James Wilder embodies the independent spirit not just for his roles on film and television, but also for his passion for artistic creation,” states Diane Raver, Executive Director of the festival. “We are delighted that James is attending the festival with his film ‘Three Holes, Two Brads, and a Smoking Gun’ (now titled “3 Holes and a Smoking Gun”). His starring performance is outstanding and the film is terrific,” she adds. Wilder plays an ex-Hollywood screenwriter turned teacher in a battle of wits with a devious student.
Raised in the bohemian enclave of Sausalito, Wilder attended an all-boys advanced learning institute. At the age of 14, he was living in Paris, regaling audiences with his one-man show at such legendary venues as the Moulin Rouge and Lido, and later on Broadway. Wilder nabbed a role in the Broadway hit “Sugar Babies” while studying at the famed NY Actors Studio. His breakout role was as the troubled addict son of Ed Asner in the ABC Circle Theater presentation “Cracked Up.” Coincidentally, Mr. Asner will also be honored at the 2015 festival where a documentary about him, “My Friend Ed,” is premiering on Saturday, March 21st.
Beginning in the late 1980s, Wilder made a splash on the small screen in a number of popular series, including “Equal Justice,” “Melrose Place” and “Models Inc.,” and found success in film as well. He starred in “The Coriolis Effect,” which won The Grand Prize in its category at the Venice Film Festival. It was his scorching depiction of serial killer Carl Isaacs in the acclaimed Miramax film “Murder One” that thrust him into the limelight. Having spent an entire day with the prisoner at Atlanta’s Reedsville State Penitentiary, Wilder embodied the dark and sinister psyche of a deranged murderer with chilling acuity. Or as the New York Times wrote: “James Wilder, as Carl Isaacs, is a thoroughly malevolent character, one in whom evil rather than insanity seems to prevail.”
A true renaissance man, Wilder balances his work as an actor with a passion for visual art, architecture and design. Untrained as an architect or interior designer, Wilder’s keen eye and distinct vision has transformed a dozen empty lots throughout California into panoramic living art. The homes he built in his exclusive Hollywood Hills neighborhood have evolved into a loosely structured artist’s retreat. Wilder has experimented with sculpture, and creates apparel and jewelry approaching his various endeavors with equal enthusiasm and expertise.