In 2002 Diane Raver founded The Garden State Film Festival with the aid of her friend and colleague Robert Pastorelli. In the spring of 2003 the First Annual Garden State Film Festival was held in Asbury Park, New Jersey and was a huge success. Since its inception, the attendance has increased and attracted in access of 30,000 people to the area for the past 3 years. Notable celebrities such as Glenn Close, Austin Pendleton, James Gandolfini, Budd Schulberg, Paul Sorvino, Vincent Pastore, Philip Bosco, Kurtwood Smith, Celeste Holm among others have attended.
Ms. Raver has enjoyed a long history in the realm of film and television production. Ms. Raver began her career in film in 1980. By 1987 she was the first woman president of a commercial production company in New York City when she founded The Madison Group and took the helm as President, Head of Sales, and Executive Producer on all commercial production done domestically as well as internationally.
She and her late husband, M. Carroll Raver, relocated back to her native home of New Jersey in 1994, to provide a better quality of life for their three children. In 1999 the family had the opportunity to spend a year living in France outside of Nice. It was there on a visit to Cannes that the idea of the film festival was born.