New Jersey's Newest Film Festival

For the inaugural edition of the New Jersey Independent Film Festival, 51 films out of more than 600 entries from all over the globe were selected to be screened at Park Theatre.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and government regulations, a live event was not in the cards on the foreseen dates. The New Jersey Independent Film Festival team decided to postpone this year's screenings by a year. This means we will be hosting a double edition in 2022, in which both the 2021 and 2022 official selections will be screened.

The New Jersey Independent Film Festival showcases global independent films. Not only does the festival bring a diverse selection of cutting-edge films to Union City, it will also honor the city’s Hispanic population by featuring a special section featuring work by Latin American filmmakers.

New Jersey Independent Film Festival is the newest member of a family of film festivals including the Venice Film Week, the Boston Short Film Festival, the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, and many more! It's fair to say the festival is in good company.

The Park Performing Arts Center is the hub of the festival. Inside the Arts Center is the newly restored Park Theater, one of the major movie theaters remaining from the early heyday of the North Jersey cultural landscape. With its vaulted ceiling, curtained stage area, and seating for up to 1400 people, this 89-year-old architectural masterpiece is the perfect venue to host a modern festival as diverse as the theater’s history.

We hope to see you all in May 2022 for an exciting live double edition!

PROUD PARTNER OF THE BIGGER SCREEN
New Jersey Independent Film Festival is a proud partner of The Bigger Screen, an organization that aims to make film as an art form more accessible and more inclusive. We support their different programs on both sides of the screen: behind the screen, encouraging and supporting filmmakers in their quest to spread their work through grants and opportunity, as well as in front of the screen, by welcoming audiences to enjoy this art form, no matter what their social or financial status is. A short overview:

CONNECTING CULTURES PROGRAM: Each year, The Bigger Screen selects ten countries and grants filmmakers from those areas the ability to submit their work free of charge to partner festivals all over the world. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter. As we support inclusivity and shareable films, this program exemplifies our mission. From February 2021 until February 2022 included, The Bigger Screen Connecting Cultures Program supports filmmakers based in the following countries: Burundi, Eritrea, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar and Iran.

INCLUSIVE AUDIENCE PROGRAM: Our screenings are always low or even free of charge to provide opportunity for interested film goers to view up and coming, challenging, and inspiring pieces of art, encouraging students, seniors, and those in underprivileged environments to share the experience of film and cinema. We welcome film goers, regardless of income and financial status.

THE TARKOVSKI GRANT: All selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a film festival submission fee waiver package with an average value of about $250. This not only saves you a lot of money, but it also recognizes your work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with another partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed. The Tarkovski Grant supports hundreds of filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers, by promoting existing films, no matter the genre, style or length.

All selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a film festival submission fee waiver package with an average value of about $250. This not only saves you a lot of money, but it also recognizes your work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with another partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed. The Tarkovski Grant supports hundreds of filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers, by promoting existing films, no matter the genre, style or length. The Tarkovski Grant is supported by film festivals from all over the world. Find out more here: https://www.tarkovski.net/thetarkovskigrant

All selected films are also automatically in the running for Producer's Night.
Producer's Night is an opportunity for independent filmmakers to have their work screened to a private group of elite Hollywood producers. For many directors, it could mean their ticket to the mainstream. The exclusive screening presented by Cinematory, Tarkovski, and Hollywood producer Bhavani Rao, member of the PGA, will show the best of independent cinema from the past year's film festivals at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in West Hollywood. The only way to be considered for this by being selected at one of the partner film festivals. New Jersey Independent Film Festival is a proud partner film festival of Producer's Night. More information: www.producersnight.com

Each edition, the festival will also give out awards in the following categories:

Best Narrative Feature Film
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Feature Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Animated Film
Best Experimental Film
Best Music Video
Best New Jersey Film
Best Latin American Film

SUBMISSIONS
The New Jersey Independent Film Festival accept all forms and genres. All non-English language films must be subtitled in English. Entry does not guarantee acceptance into the festival. Submissions WILL NOT be returned. We also accept submissions that have premiered elsewhere and that may have distribution agreements already in place. Rough cuts and incomplete projects are not accepted. Multiple entries are allowed, however a separate entry form must be submitted for each.

EXHIBITION & SCREENING
Screenings are scheduled during the festival at the discretion of the New Jersey Independent Film Festival. Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, New Jersey Independent Film Festival reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. New Jersey Independent Film Festival will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in scheduling. No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its selection. If chosen as an official selection, New Jersey Independent Film Festival is granted the permission to exhibit the film at the New Jersey Independent Film Festival and all associated screenings. Location and timing of any screenings of the film shall be the sole decision of the organizers of the New Jersey Independent Film Festival. Filmmakers will be solely responsible for all costs resulting from the submission of the film to the festival including but not limited to postage or insurance of the film, and expenses of your staff or any representatives of the film. Producer will indemnify the organizers of the festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the festival or from claims by any third parties.

LOSS OR DAMAGE
Although every precaution will be taken to prevent loss or damage to materials while in the possession of the festival, the New Jersey Independent Film Festival is not responsible should any materials be damaged while in transit to or from, or while in the possession of the festival.

ENTRY LIABILITY
The filmmaker holds the New Jersey Independent Film Festival, its management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, and etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from entry. The filmmaker certifies to have full rights. Producer will indemnify the organizers of the festival against all claims, demands, costs, damages, expenses (including legal fees), proceedings and losses resulting from the screening of the film at the festival or from claims by any third parties.

SCREENING FEE
The festival does not offer screening fees for its films. By submitting through FilmFreeway you are agreeing to NOT request a screening fee as a requirement for your film's participation in the festival, should your film get selected for the program.

WAIVER REQUESTS
Since the festival only requires a nominal entry fee, we will NOT accept requests for other entry fee waivers.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Häly Heinecker

    Very happy to have been part of this year's selection and especially grateful for "American Express" being awarded Best Experimental Film.
    Under the current circumstances it's hard to rate the overall festival experience, however online communication and social media has been handled very nicely by the team. Looking forward to IRL screenings in the future! Best regards from Berlin :)

    May 2021
  • Hadi Moussally

    Great Festival with great communication. Thank you so much for having 2 of my films and for the award!

    May 2021
  • Ana De Loera

    A wonderful film festival that shows an enormous commitment to independent filmmakers. Very diverse and interesting selection.

    May 2021