We have been doing film series events at the Brightside Tavern and decided to turn it into a festival. Filmmakers Chris J. Cullen and Chris Capaci have come together to create this 19th season event, which now runs twice a year. We will be celebrating the short film in many different categories on two screens with a fun award show at the end of the night. We wanted to make a small shorts fest in Jersey City at a great venue where people can meet up, screen their films and celebrate their work as well as making it affordable. We are known as a big networking event where many people meet up and end up working together as they return the next year with a new film and new friends. We now have a much bigger event with more days. We are in Jersey City and would love to have a number of NJ and NY filmmakers to join us for this special day as well as filmmakers from all over the world We made the fees affordable for everyone and we have a great venue for the short films. This season we are celebrating the student filmmaker with special screenings and awards the day before as well as having some new things planned as we grow.

We will have awards for different short film categories as well as other surprises.
Best Short Film
Best Comedy Short
Best Horror/Thriller
Best actress in a short drama
Best actor drama
Best actress in comedy short
Best actor in a comedy
Best Director
Best NJ Short film
Best Student Film
Best short script-not produced
Best Cinematography
and more additional awards for student film night

The entry fee is different in each category. Submissions that are in other languages should have subtitles or dubbed in English. We prefer online submissions but if you need to mail it to us send us an email first.
For filmmakers since it is a small venue with limited seating we will give two free passes to your films block.
No refunds on submission fees once completely submitted and in the judging process.

Overall Rating
  • Blake Zawadzki

    Thank you again to everyone at the Brightside Film Festival. The festival is very hospitable with a welcoming atmosphere. Very good communication, nice presentation, and good networking opportunities in a casual and warm setting. Highly recommended.

    March 2024
  • This was my first ever film festival attending being a new independent filmmaker and it was an absolute memorable first experience for a Film Festival. The Brightside Film Festival is a great place for local and national film makers to show their work with like-minded individuals who also share the same dream. Will submit again!

    March 2024
  • We were honored to be selected and win the award for Best Horror Thriller Short. It was a great screening experience and a wonderful place to network. Thanks!

    March 2024
  • Eden Wright

    Excellent festival, the team over at Brightside really cares about their films and their filmmakers and are passionate about shorts. The venue is awesome, two different large screening rooms at a rocking tavern in Jersey City. Hope to return many times in the future, fantastic festival and wonderful filmmakers!

    March 2024
  • The festival was a tremendosly uplifting and empowering event. The coming together of so much talent was also energizing. Brightside hosted my first short film ever, and Brightside was the first time it played in front of an audience. Could not have had a better premiere! CJ Cullen handled a hectic day with aplomb and easy-going bravado, and he, personally, made us feel welcome. Really recommend this festival to both seasoned and new filmmakers!

    March 2024