The First Night® Morris Film Festival is seeking fun and imaginative films appropriate for all audiences to be part of an hybrid film festival with live screenings held on New Year's Eve at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, NJ. All genres are considered including animation, documentary, live-action narrative or anything else that that can capture the imagination.

First Night® Morris County began in 1992 and is the LARGEST First Night® in New Jersey, attracting nearly 10,000 participants each year. An alcohol-free and substance-free celebration of arts and culture, First Night® Morris County attracts families, seniors, singles and anyone looking for an exciting way to ring in the New Year!

Our new hybrid live plus on-demand format will include 40 Performances+ with Streaming and On-Demand Services, including a film festival organized by our partners at First Contact Film Festival.

2024 marks our 32nd anniversary and we aim to expand our film festival to include more films and reach an even larger audience.

For more information about First Night Morris County, please visit our website.

Best Film (short, feature)
Best Documentary (short, feature)
Best Score
Best Effects
Best Director
Best Performance
Best Made in New Jersey (short, feature)

Rules & Terms

All submissions must come through FilmFreeway and submitted digitally.
Must provide short synopsis.

Films, TV pilots, episodes, web series, etc... are all welcome. However, we do NOT accept "fan films". Please do not submit those.

Films must be appropriate for all audiences, including children. Films need not be “family films”, but should not contain inappropriate or extreme violence, explicit sexual situations, drug use, cursing or other similar adult themes.

We don't care how old the film is, but premieres will be given extra priority.

All Films must be complete. 'Works In Progress' will not be accepted.

If your film is selected and you do not provide a media file that meets our specifications (see below) in a timely manner, we reserve the right to select another winner.

All submissions must be in the English language, or come with English subtitles baked-into the file. (We will not decode Closed Captioning)

We understand that film concepts come in many resolutions and sizes. To properly respect that, we ask that if your film is accepted, it comes to us already mastered or re-mastered in DCP format. Use letterboxing and side-bars as needed, but we want to make sure your film plays as you intend an audience to see it on our projectors. We do not accept DVDs, Blu Ray, or physical media of any kind.
If we do not receive your film in a proper format in time for us to program the festival, we reserve the right not to play your film during the day of the festival.

By submitting a film, promotional material or images, the submitter acknowledges that consent has been obtained from any and all owners, creators, writers, producers and/or other authorized representatives and that permission of any copyrighted or trademarked materials or content (including music and any stock media) has been granted.

If you use any copyrighted or trademark materials or content including music or stock media, you must properly list these in your credits and notify The First Night® Morris Film Festival at the time of submission and provide us with proof of the agreement(s). We will not accept films with music or images improperly taken from other films, television, recordings, or other media. This includes works of satire and parody, and as mentioned above, fan-films.

The above point needs repeating-- let us know ahead of time! If you have proper clearances for a copyrighted or trademarked work PLEASE LET US KNOW FIRST!!!

When submitting to the festival you are agreeing that:
1. If selected and the invitation accepted, you allow us to screen the submitted film during the dates of the festival.
2. You are allowing both in-person and on-line screenings of your film and you have clearances for both.
3. You understand that the 2021 season is on-line ONLY.
4. You give permission for The First Night® Morris Film Festival to promote your film with the materials that you provide.

The First Night® Morris Film Festival will not pay any screening fees for presentation of the film during the festival. The only exception would be if there is a negotiated agreement preceding the submission of the film to The First Night® Morris Film Festival.
The First Night® Morris Film Festival, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to waive, alter, add, delete or make exceptions to the submissions requirements and eligibility.

Overall Rating
  • Marty Krzywonos

    The staff there were very helpful and I was so pleased to see the audience reaction to my film. Although it was part of a larger first night celebration throughout the town, they also had an incredible selection of films and other activities.

    January 2024
  • Maureen M. Miller

    It was a great honor having my short film screened at the First Night Morris County Film Festival. Amazing to be part of such a wonderful family event and a fantastic way to start the New Year! This was a great experience and communication was excellent. Looking forward to submitting again. Thank you First Night Morris County Film Festival!

    January 2023
  • Ellen Weisberg

    Great festival! Thank you for the experience!

    January 2022