New Jersey Film Festivals

Popular Independent, Non Studio Film Makers

New Jersey Film Festivals

The NJ Film Festivals showcase quality production and content from independent, non-studio film makers.

The festivals are a popular attraction for students, emerging film producers, directors, performers and film buffs.

They are typically themed and cover a wide range of creative arts on Super 8mm/8mm film, Digital video, and 8mm video formats on a variety of themes including: educational, cultural, documentary, non-mainstream, spiritual, animation, music video, local, national, and international.

Note: This information is provided by event sponsors as a free service to our viewers. Sometimes conditions require cancellations or changes of dates, times and location which are not reflected in the original schedule. Before planning a trip to visit one of the listed events, it is suggested that you call the event sponsor to confirm the event schedule or for additional information on the event.

Upcoming New Jersey Film Festivals

West Orange Film Festival
Annual West Orange Classic Film Festival
Sunday, January 5, 2020 through February 23, 2020; @ 2pm 
AMC Theatre at Essex Green
West Orange, NJ
Website / Schedule
The West Orange Classic Film Festivalprovides lovers of cinema a chance to experience their favorite films as they were meant to be seen— on the big screen. This year's festival looks back at highlights of their first decade and a half, with each film followed by a discussion led by a local film scholar/critic. Three of the feature length films to be presented won the Academy Award for Best Picture for the year of their release, and were selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".

Yiddish Film Festival
Third Annual Yiddish Film Festival
January 12 until February 9, 2020; 2pm - 4pm
The Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County
310 Mounts Corner Drive
Freehold, NJ 07728
Sponsored by The Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County, the films support theit mission of promotion of public awareness of Monmouth County's Jewish heritage for the education and enjoyment of both children and adults.

New Jersey Film Festival Spring
New Jersey Film Festival Spring
On select evenings between January 24 – February 23, 2020
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ
Website (for information and screenings)
The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies present the New Jersey Film Festival l showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries. The festival provides meet and greet opportunities and Q & A sessions with filmmakers and producers, actors, and screen writers. DEADLINE for the RECEIPT of entries is Friday, November 8, 2019 at Noon Eastern!

Black Maria Film Festival
39th Annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival
The 2020 Festival Premiere Weekend Events begin on Friday, February 7th, 2020 @ 7:30PM, and Saturday, February 8th, 2020 @ 7:00PM
Both at the James Stewart Film Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts, 185 Nassau St., Princeton, NJ, and continue on Sunday afternoon February 9th @ 2:00PM at the AMC Dine-In Theater, Essex Green 9, West Orange, NJ.
Tour Schedule
The Festival is an international juried competition open to all genres and filmmakers across the globe. Their national tour premieres at Princeton's James Stewart Film Theater annually on the second weekend of February. Subsequently, the Festival will travel to more than 60 museums, cultural centers, art house cinemas, and universities throughout the United States and abroad until December 2020.
Their focus is on short films – narrative, experimental, animation, and documentary - including those, which address issues and struggles within contemporary society such as the environment, public health, race and class, family, sustainability, and much more. These exceptional works range from animation, comedy, and drama to the exploration of pure form in film and video and are the heart and soul of the Festival.
In partnership with the Hoboken Historical Museum, the Thomas Edison Black Maria FIlm Festival presents a monthly film series at the Hoboken Museum, 1301 Hudson Street, Hoboken, NJ. Many of the screenings include guest filmmakers. Each Hoboken film program is presented in person by Festival Director, Jane Steuerwald.

New Jersey Jewish Film Festival
20th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival
March 19 - March 29, 2020
New Jersey Jewish Film Festival
Maurice Levin Theater
760 Northfield Avenue
West Orange, NJ
These are films you cannot see anywhere else in our area! They will also offer a mix of other Jewish films, the best speakers and commentators available, and several out-of-festival events. The Festival is one gateway for people to explore what it means to be Jewish through a cultural experience that enriches the lives of thousands. For a list of films and venues, please visit the website above.

Garden State Film Festival
18th Annual Garden State Film Festival
March 25 - 29, 2020
Multiple venues (Paramount Theatre, The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, The Asbury Hotel & The House of Independents, Jersey Shore Arts Center)
Asbury Park, NJ
Website & Tickets
The artistic philosophy of the Garden State Film Festival is rooted in the celebration of the independent film genre and the creation of a forum where local and other independent filmmakers can exhibit their work. In addition, our event provides novice and aspiring filmmakers, actors, and others interested in a career in the film business, the opportunity to meet and network with industry professionals in an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and mentoring. Past attendees include Glenn Close, Paul Sorvino, Budd Schulberg, Kurtwood Smith, James Gandolfini, Celeste Holm and Clarence Clemons.
Seating is on a first come, first serve basis with online pre-sale ticket holders for each individual block entering the theater first. Weekend passes enter next and then, if any seats are available, tickets will be sold for the remaining seats. Screenings are general admission only. It's always best to buy your tickets online a head of time!** *** Print at Home tickets can be purchased up to an hour prior to the screening and ALL VENUES SELL TICKETS AT THE DOOR!!
Entries accepted until December 1, 2019

Trenton Film Festival
The Trenton Film Festival
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, March 26, 27, 28, 29, 2020
Mill Hill Playhouse
205 East Front Street (at Montgomery St.)
Trenton NJ
This event is a juried festival that showcases 55 films from 16 countries with submissions by independent filmmakers, including student and local filmmakers. Submission categories include narrative, documentary, animation, and a new category which includes experimental, music video, spoken word and new media. Submissions accepted until December 2, 2019.

Princeton Environmental Film Festival
Annual Princeton Environmental Film Festival
April 13 - 19, 2020
Princeton Public Library
Princeton, NJ
The mission is to share exceptional documentary films and engage our community in exploring environmental sustainability from a wide range of angles and perspectives. Most of our screenings are accompanied by a Q&A with film directors and producers, as well as other talks by invited speakers who visit for the festival or live here in our local community. Environmental Film Festival entries accepted until January 15, 2020

Asbury Park Music & Film Festival
Asbury Park Music & Film Festival
April 23 - 26, 2020
The Paramount Theatre
and other local venues
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
This annual event features musical performances, film screenings and panel discussions.
The Festival has already welcomed many music and film heavyweights which include Bruce Springsteen, Danny DeVito, Wyclef Jean, The Farrelly Brothers, David Crosby, Cameron Crowe, Don Cheadle, John Densmore, Stevie Van Zandt, Jakob Dylan (The Wallflowers), Tracy Edwards (Maiden documentary), Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Warren Haynes, Michael Franti and Cat Power.
In the coming months announcements will be made on the Festival's official website. APMFF will benefit underserved children in Asbury Park and its surrounding areas by providing music education, instruments and social connection opportunities.
Proceeds from this event will benefit underserved children in Asbury Park, specifically three programs including Hope Academy, The Hip Hop Institute, and the Asbury Park Summer Recreation Music Camp.

Montclair Film Festival
9th Annual Montclair Film Festival
May 1 - 10, 2020
505 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ
Featuring over 26,000 patrons and 150 attending filmmakers and industry guests, the festival has grown to become one of the top regional festivals in the United States. Easily accessible from Manhattan, the festival has received strong support and coverage from regional, NYC, and national press, industry trades, and strong celebrity attendance, including guests such as Stephen Colbert, Richard Curtis, John Stewart, Richard Gere, Julie Taymor, Rob Reiner, John Turturro, Mavis Staples, Bill Nye, and many more.. The festival will provide a platform for talented filmmakers from around the world and give special recognition to New Jersey-connected work.
Submissions for the ninth annual Montclair Film Festival are now open. Deadlines: Early Bird Deadline: November 15, 2019 Regular Deadline: December 20, 2019 Late Deadline: January 17, 2020

NJ Young Filmakers
2020 New Jersey Young Filmmakers' Festival Premiere
May 30, 2020; @ 6:00PM
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
211 Main Street
West Orange, NJ.
Admission is free and open to the public
At 6:00PM in the Visitor Center, Honorable Mention winners will be screened. At 7:00PM under the main tent, all filmmakers will receive their awards and refreshments will be served. At 8:00PM, the NJYFF Premiere program will be screened featuring the top prize-winning filmmakers. The Festival's gala premiere will feature a program of winning selections chosen by a jury including accomplished filmmakers and media professionals including Jane Steuerwald, Executive Director of the Thomas Edison Media Arts Consortium.

Lighthouse International Film Festival
Lighthouse International Film Festival
June 4, 5, 6, 7, 2020
Film showings at a variety of Long Beach Island Venues
(646) 245-8400
The festival will present feature films, shorts, documentaries and family films, as well as panel discussions with leading film industry professionals. Taking place on Long Beach Island, NJ -- one of the East Coast's most popular surfing destinations -- the festival celebrates new, exciting and challenging films in honor of Long Beach Island's historic Barnegat Lighthouse. See above website for information on films, times, and venues.
Submission deadines: October 21, 2019 Earlybird Deadline, December 23, 2019 Regular Deadline, February 3, 2020 Late Deadline, March 9, 2020 Extended Deadline.

The Newark Black Film Festival
The Newark Black Film Festival
Thursday, Friday & Saturday, July 9, 10 & 11; & Wednesdays July 15, 22 & 29
Newark Museum
49 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
The Newark Black Film Festival (NBFF)is one of the nation's defining voices on behalf of independent film. The festival is a showcase for films that focus on the experiences and concerns of contemporary African Americans, as well as an outlet for films about the African-American experience from earlier eras. Each film selection encompasses a wide range of cinematic forms and formulas, from documentary to the avant-garde.
The festival is free to the public and provides emerging filmmakers, writers, directors and producers with a high profile outlet for their work

July 18, 2020; 7pm - 11pm
Atlantic Highlands Marina
2 Simon Lake Dr
Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Contact: Corinna Thuss
Cost: Free
FilmOneFest takes place in a beautiful outdoor setting with the majestic Manhattan skyline as the backdrop. FilmOneFest (a production of the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council) is the Jersey Shore's preeminent showcase for all forms of short films under two minutes in length. FilmOneFest also promotes local and international filmmaking through the use of new media and technology, educational activities and screenings, and supports its local food bank. The Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is comprised of a team of dedicated volunteers who include professional artists, educators, business leaders and community organizers. We are a volunteer, non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization whose mission is to strengthen community through the arts. Our primary function is to develop and execute events and arts related activities for the benefit of our community.

Monmouth Film Festival
Monmouth Film Festival
August 14th - 16th, 2020
Two Rivers Theatre
21 Bridge Ave
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Monmouth Film Festival is an international film festival with a commitment to educate and inspire young and aspiring filmmakers. It is geared to promoting and connecting filmmakers from all over the state and country. The festival is more than an opportunity for artists to have their work showcased, it is a forum for educational opportunities through workshops, networking, Q&As and special panels with industry guests; that provide insight, growth and inspiration. Their unique platform strives to create an atmosphere where filmmakers of all levels, including high and low budget works, can be seen, heard and interact with movie-goers, promoters and other artists. The festival offers internship opportunities for High school and college students interested in many areas including programming, marketing and production.
The festival welcomes short films, features, documentary and narrative, as well as student showcases along with a compilation of trailers.
Film submissions accepted until the extended deadline June 13, 2020.

The Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival
The Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival
August 21, 22, 2020
Rahway Public Library
Auditorium Room
2 City Hall Plaza
Rahway, NJ
Their mission is to bring filmmakers, playwrights, artists, and industry professionals together, to celebrate works that are relevant to today's youth. They are making a bold statement, that children deserve to be heard, and uninterrupted! The Just Be You Festival has proven to be what we call, "champions for children".
There is no submission fee for youth filmmakers (age 5 to 17 year's-old) to submit a body of work to the festival! They accept submissions from filmmakers as young as 5 year's old, because even a kindergartner deserves a voice, and has something profound to say. Female filmmakers, African-American, and Filmmakers of color, are especially encouraged to submit. The dates for submissions: November 2, 2019 Opening Date; January 1, 2020 Regular Deadline; February 1, 2020 Late Deadline; March 1, 2020 Extended Deadline; & May 1, 2020 Notification Date.

Northeast Film Festival
Northeast Film Festival
September 11 - 13, 2020
The Teaneck Cinemas
503 Cedar Ln.
Teaneck, NJ
The Festival is very Jersey-centric with Festival Directors The Festival showcases top independent films and TV pilots from celebrated filmmakers, as well as new talent. The diverse array of films, selected by a committee, includes features and shorts from all genres, as well as documentaries. Last year, the awards ceremony was hosted by Mary Dimino (Saturday Night Live).

Golden Door International Film Festival
9th Annual The Golden Door International Film Festival
September 17 - 22, 2020
The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre
54 Journal Square Plaza
Jersey City, NJ
These films are not Capra-esque platitudes. Nor are they antagonistic cant. They reflect the process of creativity and the striving that shapes our wonderful reality. They are as varied as our community, one of the most densely populated cities in the world and one of the most diverse. The showings will be held in venues within the ultra-hip downtown area of Jersey City as well as uptown at the Loew's Landmark Theater. Set amidst the backdrop of the beautiful NYC Manhattan skyline, Golden Door Film Festival is recognized as being a diverse international film festival that supports emerging and established filmmakers and directors. In our first 3 years, the festival has screened over 200 films from over 40 countries and has attracted more than 10,000 attendees and generated renewed interest in Jersey City. The Selection Committee is comprised of a distinguished panel of officers of the Board of Directors of the Golden Door International Film Festival some of whom are actors and filmmakers. Each and every film is evaluated by a selection committee and evaluated for possible competition in the Festival.
The Late Extended submission deadline is June 26, 2020


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