A Statement from Big Dreams & Silver Screens/Westfield International Film Festival:

We regret to report that we will not be hosting either the Westfield International Film Festival or the Big Dreams Youth Film Festival in 2020.

We believe in transparancy and would like to share the reason for our hiatus.

The festival first began seven years ago as a small one night only event in Rahway. It has since grown to the four day affair that you have come to know and love. Gina Marie Rodriguez (Founder/Festival Director) and Stacy Ignacio (Assistant Director) have personally and annually funded the majority of the event since its inception.

Our move to Westfield has afforded us remarkable new opportunities, for which we are very grateful, but with those opportunities have come increased costs. As additional fundraising efforts have not yielded the necessary funds, we are no longer able to continue funding this production, nor the Big Dreams Youth Film Festival.

We are speaking with the Town of Westfield and our venue, The James Ward Mansion, with aspirations of returning next year, in 2021.

We appreciate the support of our existing sponsors, filmmakers, and patrons and hope that we have made you proud these last seven years.

If you are still owed deliverables at the time of this statement, please know that we are working towards finalizing all open projects. You may feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

With the greatest thanks and appreciation,

Gina & Stacy



Our mission is to provide an opportunity for artists worldwide to showcase works that educate, and inspire equality, empathy and awareness through film.

We believe that film can reach the mind and soul in ways nothing else can. For this reason, we present films that strive to promote equality, champion the oppressed and promote open-mindedness. We also offer seminars and workshops intended to engage and educate aspiring filmmakers and on-camera talent.

Our intent is to call attention to and encourage the artistic endeavors of women and minorities, whose work is often overlooked, and in so doing, fully advocate for equality.

We are committed to enhancing the creative community in the Tri-State area and providing a platform for both local and international storytellers to not only share their work but enjoy a place to forge new relationships for collaboration.


*We encourage the progress and success of women in the film industry. If your film boasts a woman in any of these roles: Director, Screenwriter, Lead Producer, or DP, please consider submitting to the "Woman in Film" category. By submitting to this category, you may also become eligible for our "Best Female Filmmaker" Award. Multiple films from this category may be selected for competition but only one filmmaker will be honored as our "Best Female Filmmaker 2018".

**NJ-based filmmakers are eligible for a discounted submission fee by submitting to the "Local NJ Film" categories. Director, Screenwriter, and/or Lead Producer must be a current resident of NJ for eligibility.



Westfield International Film Festival (a Big Dreams and Silver Screens production) is a non-profit international film festival first established in Rahway, New Jersey, U.S.A, only 40 minutes away from New York City. It was first held in June of 2013 in an effort to create a warm and welcoming home for independent filmmakers and fans of film in the Tri-State Area. We annually showcase short films, feature films and music videos while offering networking and workshop opportunities to those interested in the film industry.

As a women-led film festival in a primarily male-dominated film industry and in keeping with our mission of equality, we seek to present an equal ratio of films created by male and female filmmakers (Director/Writer/Producer/DP) from around the world. We also present the annual “Woman in Film Award” to honor and celebrate women in the film industry who exemplify our definition of success.

We are glad to be a part of the bustling downtown district of Westfield, NJ - one of the "happiest cities in New Jersey" - where we call The James Ward Mansion home. It is a unique, beautiful, and glamorous space in which we are happy to honor our hard-working filmmakers whom we feel deserve the full red-carpet treatment.

Big Dreams and Silver Screens is currently awaiting its 501c3 Non-Profit Status from the State of NJ. WIFF is a Big Dreams and Silver Screens production.

To learn more about Westfield International Film Festival, visit us here: www.westfieldfilmfest.com.

Best Short Film
Best Short Narrative (Comedy)
Best Short Narrative (Drama)
Best Short Documentary
Best Short Animation
Best Short Screenplay
Best Cinematography (of a Short)
Best Editing (of a Short)
*Best Female Filmmaker (of a Short)
**Best Local Short Film
Audience Choice Winner (Short)

Best Feature Film
Best Feature Narrative (Comedy)
Best Feature Narrative (Drama)
Best Feature Documentary
Best Feature Animation
Best Feature Screenplay
Best Cinematography (of a Feature)
Best Editing (of a Feature)
*Best Female Filmmaker (of a Feature)
**Best Local Feature Film
Audience Choice Winner (Feature)



Westfield International Film Festival (a Big Dreams and Silver Screens production) is open to U.S. and international entries. Submissions for WIFF 2019 will be accepted until the extended deadline of July 11, 2019. Entrants will be notified via FilmFreeway and/or e-mail by early August 2019 if their work has been officially selected for festival screening. All submission material must be clearly marked with the title of the film, FilmFreeway tracking number and contact information. Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes the screener, submission fee and other materials.

Officially Selected Works: If officially selected for festival screening, filmmakers will be contacted via FilmFreeway and/or email for next steps. Filmmakers must send a high quality digital screener via FilmFreeway and/or e-mail to team@bigdreamsandsilverscreens.org using a file transfer website (such as- DropBox, WeTransfer, etc).

Filmmaker MUST assist Festival in film promotion. Filmmaker attendance is strongly encouraged.

Category, screening time, date, venue and format determination is at sole discretion of Westfield International Film Festival [Big Dreams and Silver Screens.] Once accepted, a film may not be pulled from the Festival by the filmmaker for any reason whatsoever. Filmmaker agrees to comply with all requirements. Filmmaker agrees to abide by Festival code of conduct. If accepted, filmmaker will be available to help promote the film. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

Whenever possible, programs with non-English soundtracks should be submitted with subtitles. All selected films will be screened in public venues.

To be eligible for consideration:

1. Entrants must comply with all of these Entry Rules & Regulations, including deadline(s) and entry material requirements, and selected film requirements.
2. Non-English language works must have English subtitles but should retain the original language audio.
3. Student films must be produced by a student enrolled in an accredited school (high school, college, or graduate school). Proof will be requested.
4. Entry materials will not be returned.
5. Multiple entries will be accepted provided they are submitted individually. You may resubmit films submitted in the past that were not accepted as long as the film has been completed in the past 5 years.
6. If we select your film, you will need to provide:
-An exhibition copy of the invited work in one of the specified formats.
-Digital Press Kit- including film stills, a synopsis, production credits, and director and writer bios. Note that if materials are not submitted by the applicable deadline, WIFF reserves the right to secure substitute materials from other sources.
-We prefer the highest possible quality media. If invited, you must be able to provide one of the aforementioned formats.


Submission of an entry gives Westfield International Film Festival [Big Dreams and Silver Screens] full rights to have accepted work exhibited, photographed, locally telecast, and reproduced in part, for promotional purposes.


Filmmaker shall indemnify and hold Westfield International Film Festival [Big Dreams and Silver Screens] harmless from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and/or loss of or damage to the screening videos submitted. In particular, filmmaker expressly warrants it has obtained all necessary copyright clearances for original works of authorship used in the film.


If you have questions regarding the entry process, please send an email with subject “Submission Inquiry” to: team@bigdreamsandsilverscreens.org

Overall Rating
  • Stephanie Willis

    I unfortunately wasn't able to attend the festival, but communication was fantastic. The venue and fancy awards ceremony also looked amazing online.

    January 2020
  • Gerard Garilli

    Wonderful experience! My film “Hard Laughter” which is now on Amazon Prime Video closed the festival & I couldn’t ask for a better presentation of my film. I look forward to screening with them in the future.

    January 2020
  • Great festival. Will submit again next year.

    December 2019
  • Westfield International Film Festival was a quaint little fest that took place in the most interesting venue of any festival the I've ever attended. In a big, orange, old mansion, it was little stepping into another world where indie film is paramount! We had a great screening and were happy to meet fellow filmmakers. Thanks so much for a great festival, Westfield. 

    November 2019

    Very well run festival with great communication! We hope to be back next year in downtown Westfield!

    October 2019