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 10th 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. All other blocks if you would like to attend will be 50 percent off. Films will play in blocks all day long with an awards show at the end. No refunds on submission fees once completely submitted and in the judging process.

Overall Rating
  • I've been going to The Brightside Film Festival for several years now and I've always enjoyed each time. They have a good selection of films, plus you get to meet other filmmakers during their networking parties. Each year gets better. I'm glad that my film The Hunted won Best Horror/Thriller during the festival's ninth season. Can't wait for next season.

    March 2019
  • Awesome festival! Although I was unable to attend, it was incredibly easy for my mom to navigate the festival and the awards ceremony!

    March 2019
  • I was very happy to be part of this incredible festival. I highly recommend all independent filmmakers enter & enjoy this wonderful experience. I will be submitting more projects in the near future.

    March 2019
  • Andre Joseph

    Absolutely a wonderful community experience for filmmakers. I loved the fact that the audience had a great appreciation not only for my film but also for the others that were in my block. The award wins were very fair. But the best part of it was having the ability to network with a lot of cool people. Chris and his team put on a really cool festival that I highly recommend to anyone.

    March 2019
  • Taylor Schafer

    The Brightside Tavern Short Films Fest was hospitable and provided many networking opportunities with other filmmakers. Many filmmakers were in attendance and, unlike some other festivals I have been to, people were very willing to talk to each other. As a bonus, the Q&A was moderated well and the audience asked good questions. The festival is easy to get to from NYC and conveniently hosted at a tavern that allowed us to have food ordered and served to us during screenings. The tavern had screening rooms upstairs and downstairs which did cause issues with audio bleeding into each room. Overall the communication was good, but the Facebook page was confusing and I had a bit of a hard time figuring out when I was going to screen. This was one of the few festivals that had awards given by judges/jury rather than audience vote, and I think that the films that received awards were selected wisely. The winners received trophies and certificates, which I appreciate as a nice memento from a lovely festival. I definitely recommend this festival to those in the New York/New Jersey area!

    March 2019