For almost three decades, FenceSitter Films has been dedicated to producing films that tell stories focusing on women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ communities.

Now the innovative production company is embarking on a new adventure, providing filmmakers a venue to showcase the future of cinema with the first annual FenceSitter Film Festival.

For four days in April 2024, historic Bernardsville, NJ will be the site for groundbreaking films, exciting parties, and staged readings, all culminating in a memorable award ceremony.

The festival will focus os three distinctive tracts that fall in line with FenceSitter Films' mission:

Jane Campion Tract:
Women filmmakers and stories (in any way you choose to define HER) take center stage in this tract. All films must be written and/or directed by a female and/or tell the story of this very under represented population.

John Waters Tract:
Queer cinema has never been more exciting, and this tract looks to expand upon its legacy. Any and all filmmakers who fall under the beautiful alphabet rainbow will be highlighted with stories that explore the LGBTQ+ experience

Melvin Van Peebles Tract:
This tract celebrates diverse and varied filmmakers of color. Films must be directed and/or written by or tell the story of the non-white experience.

The FenceSitter Short Screenplay Competition

Welcome to the Ultimate Screenplay Competition!

The top three finalists of the competition will have a staged reading the weekend of the film festival in front of an audience.

The winning screenplay will be produced by FENCESITTER FILMS and the completed film will premiere at the following year's festival with the writer(s) in attendance.

As always, the screenplays must fit into at least one of the festival's tracts. Meaning the writer or the content must be FenceSitter worthy.

Screenplays must not exceed 20 pages and not rely too heavily on special effects.

2024 Winners

Best Narrative: Doubles

Best Actor: Jackie Krim "Last Girls' Trip"

Best Screenplay: "August"

Best Documentary "I Wish You Knew"

Best Screenplay (Screenplay competition): Plants 4 Sale" by Heather McDonald

Date: April 18 - 21 2024
Location: Bernardsville Cinema
The FenceSitter Film Festival does not waive entry fees. The same rules and entry fees apply to all applicants so no one film is favored over another. FSFF does not invite films to be in competition. Only films submitted are considered for competition.
The following rules govern all film submissions to the FenceSitter Film Festival(“FSFF” or the “Festival”)
1. Submissions must be accompanied by the applicable submission fee PER ENTRY and a completed online entry form via All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted.

2. All submissions must be submitted as an online streaming video via

3. FSFF screens films as digital files during the Festival. If you are unable or unwilling to provide us your film as a digital file for exhibition, DO NOT SUBMIT your film.

4. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2023. Films must be available for screening during the FenceSitter Film Festival, April 18–21, 2024.

5. Films with US distribution are ineligible for competition, but may be considered for a special screening.

16. Short films that are publicly available online prior to the Festival may be considered for exhibition during the Festival, but will be ineligible for Jury Awards. We prefer that shorts not be publicly available online. Online, private screenings through a festival’s online program do not count as publicly available online.

7. Private invite-only screenings (for instance for cast and crew or donors) do not affect a film’s eligibility.

8. FSFF reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.

9. Films that are selected to screen at the Festival may not necessarily be selected to be “in competition” for awards purposes. Notifications regarding potential selection for competition status possibly may occur subsequent to notifications of acceptance for exhibition.
1. Films must be the original work of the applicants. If a film is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.

2. Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. FSFF expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.
1. Films that have not received a full color edit, or sound edit are eligible for submission. FSFF prefers picture-locked submissions for the consideration process. FSFF’s focus is on story, technical changes such as color or sound will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play during the Festival, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the Festival with their most recent version.

2. Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by FSFF in connection with the dispute.

3. You MUST include your physical address either in your entry or in your cover letter. Please do not submit a film without giving us your address, which we need for our records.
1. FSFF has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of screeners or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project; and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process.

2. FSFF explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by FSFF or by its volunteers.

3. Winners will be announced on April 21, 2024. The judges’ decision is final.
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Cinema Seats
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October 19-22, 2023
​5 Mine Brook Rd | Bernardsville,NJ 07924
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Overall Rating
  • I had a good time attending this festivals first year. In fact, my script which they accepted BEACH SHORTS, was the very first script read at their very first night. They had 12 actors reading from books in the character of my script and read it aloud to the audience. It was so much fun to hear it acted out and hear the live audience reactions. Not every festival does anything for selected short screenplays. The possibility of hearing it acted and made into next year's short film was the reason I submitted in the first place and I wasn't disappointed by the kind way they treated it. There were a lot of college connected people at the event, so it was heavily promoted as an outlet for them too which was fun. I would have liked to have met more out of town people like me, but for a first year it's important that the local community embrace it and they definitely did. I enjoyed meeting the local people of Bernardsville and I would recommend their kindness and hospitality to others.

    May 2024
  • Donna 'Dusty' McCullough

    Festival Director Kyle was Wonderful! Welcoming! Enthusiastic! A lovely little movie theatre in the quaint town of Bernardsville NJ, with some really great short films and engaging audiences. Thanks for screening our film "Last Girls Trip" and honoring our actress Jackie Krim with the Best Actor award. We will be back!

    April 2024
  • Robin Noonan-Price

    Kyle is very dedicated to featuring short films from under represented film makers. We saw several very thought provoking films. The volunteers and staff were very welcoming. The Bernardsville Cinema is near and dear to my heart. I was lucky enough to grow up in the town. I look forward to submitting more of my films in the future.

    April 2024
  • Trevor McVickar

    Such an incredibly fulfilling event. After getting my film selected, I took myself and 3 of my cast and crew to watch almost every film put on, and am so much happier because of it. Kyle put on a great show, and getting to meet and connect with the local artists and audience was so much fun. Even if I don't submit next year, I'll still be attending in 2025.

    April 2024
  • I had a really wonderful time at Fencesitter-- the screenplay reading was so well crafted and directed, the staff was super nice, and Bernardsville and its cinema space was really charming. Highly recommend!

    April 2024