The Garden State Film Festival [GSFF] has been showcased in major international media outlets such as Variety, Vogue Global Network/Condé Nast, Deadline, IndieWire, ET Canada, News Entertainment and others.

The Garden State Film Festival is New Jersey's Premier Independent Film Festival®. GSFF is a global destination festival that enhances the quality of life in New Jersey by stimulating economic growth through the arts (over 10 million), investing in the creativity of students, making the arts accessible to undeserved populations, and preserving heritage arts.

GSFF showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences.

GSFF was founded to promote the art of film making on all levels by showcasing a wide variety of film, video and animated works, as well as to provide educational programs in the creative arts to the public by industry leaders. Our goal is to present films of the highest quality in both production value and content.

Founded to celebrate the independent film genre, The Garden State Film Festival, a not for profit organization, offers independent filmmakers the chance to exhibit their work and gives New Jersey audiences a chance to experience new, cultural, and artistic endeavors through the medium of film.

The Garden State Film Festival's professional jury will select winning films in various categories. Submission categories are for administration purposes only. There are separate awards for student films as well as the "Home Grown Awards" for films where 75% of principal photography is shot in the State of New Jersey. GSFF was also the first festival in the world to introduce the MOVIE MUSIC TRACK COMPETITION. Please alert your music composers about that category! We also host a screenplay competition for Feature as well as Short scripts.

*Students- Please submit to the proper category - Graduate, College, High School or younger and supply a student ID.

++++You MUST enter ALL requested as well as correct contact info.

--PLEASE DO NOT USE AN EMAIL THAT NO ONE CHECKS-- or one for an assistant that may not be associated with your film when the time comes for us to send your acceptance letter.

This event takes place in Asbury Park, and Cranford New Jersey, and consists of a gala ceremony and reception and ending with a black tie preferred Awards Banquet where the "Best" in various categories of films and celebrity honorees are recognized.

In addition to the screenings, Professional Panel Discussions will be headed by industry professionals at posted times. The festival will hold these discussions to unite celebrity filmmakers with aspiring screenwriters, directors, and actors. Representatives from respected film distribution companies will be invited to attend, as the festival will provide access to new talent and product available for worldwide distribution.

Youth workshops for hands on sessions with industry professionals will take place throughout the festival at pre-scheduled times.

--Please note that GSFF does NOT pay a screening fee. All feature length films MUST be a New Jersey Premiere, and for all other films a premiere in the GSFF Region (Monmouth, Mercer, Ocean and Middlesex Counties), unless it is a student film, which may have been shown at school/on campus, or special arrangements have been made with the Festival. for more information about our events.


Awards are given in various categories and are presented at the Black Tie Awards Banquet on Sunday night of the festival. All juried awards are at the discretion of the judges. Winners need not be present to receive an award.

FILMS- Winners certificate

1st Place- Feature Winner receives:
Winners certificate, two (2) VIP passes to the festival, and an abridged reading of the winning script by professional actors. (*“abridged” version means “the entire screenplay” as written will not be read.)

Winners will receive a 4-month InkTip Pro Membership. As an InkTip Pro Member, thousands of filmmakers can find and read your scripts, and you'll be able to pitch directly to production companies every week. With over 3,000 options and 400 movies made, InkTip is the place for independent film.

InkTip Script Listings provide writers with the opportunity to get their scripts read by InkTip’s extensive network of producers, reps, manager, agents, and other qualified industry professionals.

Honorable Mention-Two (2) VIP passes for finalist 2-5, plus (1) InkTip Script Listing for finalists 2-5 to assist in providing them exposure for their scripts. InkTip Script Listings provide writers with the opportunity to get their scripts read by InkTip’s extensive network of producers, reps, manager, agents, and other qualified industry professionals.

Winners certificate
Winning music of the Movie Music Competition is played before and after all film screenings during the festival.

Please note that selection of any and all published winners is at the sole discretion of the Garden State Film Festival ("GSFF") judging panel. The GSFF reserves the right to not select a "winner" or award for a particular category in any given year. The GSFF is under no obligation to award a category. By participating in the GSFF, the participant acknowledges this disclaimer and waives his/her/their right to contest any decision by the judging panel to award or not award in a category

Terms and Conditions:
The undersigned, the authorized representative of the project named below (hereafter called the "Project") to The Garden State Film Festival (hereafter called the “GSFF”) for consideration for the 2021 Garden State Film Festival (hereafter called the “Festival”), hereby acknowledges the following:


*** The Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) has full intention of presenting
a live, in-person event in 2023 but should federal, state, local mandates or global conditions make it necessary, all entrants hereby agree to allow their film to be included in a secure live digital event. Your film submission to GSFF confirms acceptance of these terms and conditions. ****

-----Help us reach our goal of being accessible to everyone.
The Garden State Film Festival seeks to make the arts is accessible to everyone. GSFF encourages all filmmakers to include subtitles even if your film is in English to accommodate our hearing-impaired audience members.

If accepted, filmmakers must supply a digital file of your film.
We are only accepting 1920x1080, Stereo, MP4, H.264, NOT DCP.

1. The Garden State Film Festival (“GSFF” or “the Festival”) Entry Fees are non-refundable.

2. All feature length films must be a New Jersey premiere, and all other films must be a premiere in the GSFF Region (Monmouth, Mercer, Ocean and Middlesex Counties) unless it is a student film, which may have been shown at school/on campus, or special arrangements have been made with the Festival.

3. All films must be in English or subtitled in English.

4. With the exception of Web Series, Music Video and Pilot, films may not be online prior to screening in the festival unless special arrangement has been made with the Festival.

5. Once a Project has been submitted for consideration it cannot be withdrawn.

6. The Festival disavows any responsibility for, and will not be held responsible for, any failure to contact the Applicant using the contact information provided in FilmFreeway. It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to ensure that the contact information provided in FilmFreeway is correct through the end of the Festival PERIOD.

7. The Festival is under no obligation to, and does not, provide comments or feedback regarding the submitted Film to the Applicant or any other representative of the submitted Film. The Festival will not be held responsible or liable for the contents of any internal comments or feedback regarding any submitted Film obtained by the Applicant or any other representative of the submitted film or any third party.

8. It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to secure clearance from the copyright holders of any copyrighted materials included within the submitted Film. The GSFF will not be held responsible for the unauthorized inclusion of any copyrighted materials within or relating to the submitted Film. The GSFF reserves the right to disqualify, without refund of any or all submission fees previously collected from the Applicant, any Film with any unauthorized inclusion of copyrighted materials.

9. Successful applicants to the Festival will be notified through the contact information provided in FilmFreeway. The Festival will notify all applicants by the beginning of February, and will be required to upload final screening copies within two (2) weeks of the date of the notice. The contact information on the application form must be kept valid from submission to the end of the festival. The Festival will not be held responsible for the failure to contact the Applicant using the contact information provided on the submission form.

10. TEACHERS- If you are submitting on behalf of your student(s), you must enter contact information for the student(s) so that if selected the student receives the festival information to attend. Email, phone number and mailing address are required.

11. All films selected for screening at the festival grant GSFF the right to use stills and excerpts of up to two minutes for promotional purposes.

12. Trailers will be provided by the applicant if requested.

1. GSFF reserves the right to adjust screening schedules of films at the discretion of GSFF without any notice.

2. The Filmmaker agrees that GSFF will be held harmless for delays due to equipment failure, shipping delays, and or condition the prints delivered which may prevent screening. GSFF cannot be held liable for your exhibition materials which are lost or damaged.

3. GSFF does NOT pay screening fees.

4. Filmmakers or screenwriters accepted and attending the Festival are responsible for all travel, lodging, and all other expenses.

5. All jury decisions are final and will be announced at the Festival Awards Dinner and will be posted on the GSFF website shortly thereafter.

6. All stated information, eligibility and submission guidelines, terms and conditions of entry, and entry information are subject to change by the GSFF, without notice.

7. By making the submission to the GSFF, the submitter warrants that it/they have the legal right to enter film work to GSFF own all rights to all elements of their film, or are authorized to use all elements in the film, and are authorized to submit for the film for exhibition and related uses by the GSFF. Furthermore to, jointly and severally, indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Garden State Film Festival (“GSFF”), its officers, directors, committee persons, agents, volunteers, and all other connected with or providing services to, whether paid, in-kind or volunteered (collectively “Indemnitee”), from liability, damages, costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, that such Indemnitee might incur relating to, arising out of or existing by, whether by act or omission, including negligence, by reason of (1) the decision or act to exhibit or not exhibit a Submission submitted to GSFF by the Submitter; (2) the advertisement, publicity, or exhibition of said Submission; or (3) the other use of said Submission by the GSFF.

8. By submitting a film, I freely and voluntarily give and express my full and complete acceptance of all of the terms and provisions set forth in these General Rules and the Terms and Conditions. I acknowledge that no oral representations, inducements, promises or assurances of any kind, and no representations, inducements, promises or assurances not set forth in these General Rules or the Terms and Conditions, below, have been made to me or the Film’s Owners by the GSFF or any Indemnitee.

For more information about the MOVIE MUSIC TRACK COMPETITION, please go to: or contact us at

Overall Rating
  • Human Telegraphs

    We had an absolute blast at Garden State and we're so thankful that the festival screened our series, Human Telegraphs! This is one of the most well-run and professional festivals we've attended. The people are great, so many fun networking opportunities and a wonderful curation of work! Can't recommend this festival enough!

    July 2022
    Response from festival:

    Hello Human Telegraphs! We appreciate you taking the time to leave a note. We hope to see you at one of our year round events, or at our next annual festival!

  • Melissa Mars

    What an honor to have been part of the 20th anniversary of this wonderful festival with my dystopia The Last Touch! After more than 20 official selections, it was the first time I was finally able to attend a screening in person!! And what a memory! It was a blast! I couldn't have dreamed better. The festival team was on top of everything, keeping in touch also with those who were not able to make it in person, communicating with us constantly, organizing interviews, podcasts... with Ming and his team! It was so inspiring to be part of a well curated sci-fi bloc! I had an unforgettable filmmaker's experience there. I can't rave enough about it! Top festival!

    June 2022
  • Christy Lee Hughes

    Our short film Guardian screened at the 20th anniversary of the Garden State Film Festival and we gratefully attended in person this year. It was such a fun festival filled with awesome films, talented filmmakers, fantastic events, in a great location by the ocean in Asbury Park. This is a well organized festival and definitely worth the investment to submit and travel to NJ. We made so many new friends, got to see old friends we haven't seen since before the pandemic and we had a great time! We look so forward to attending again next year!

    May 2022
  • David Seth Cohen

    Our film, Finding Sandler, premiered at the Garden State Film Festival in March. It was one of the top 3 best experiences of my life! Great festival, amazing people that run it, and just an all-around amazing time!

    May 2022
  • Sofia Garza-Barba

    thank you so much for everything! Received some great comments about my film playing there! Also something not every festival does, is treat every film equally. Even though my films original language was spanish, they treated it like a film and not like "foreign" which is something filmmakers appreciate. Stories are stories... they should connect people through art, not language =) THANKS GARDEN STATE!! Thanks for awarding our film! we are proud of it, and proud to be in your festival.

    April 2022