We're back. After being forced to take a year off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Atlantic City Cinefest returns this October for a shortened festival October 22 and 23. For this year only, we are limiting submissions to New Jersey filmmakers or films with New Jersey as the subject.

We also intend to bring back some of our New Jersey alumni to screen the best of their work.

In the past and again in subsequent years, we consider ourselves an independent festival which screens films from North America, but still pays special attention New Jersey movies. We like to bring at least one person from Hollywood/New York as an honoree. Past guests have included Kevin Smith, Robert Downey, Sr. Terry Winter, Peter Dobson, Blanche Baker, Bonnie Bedelia, William Forsythe, Christopher Mann, Chris Mulkey, Brian O'Halloran, Garry Pastore, Scott Schwartz, Al Sapienza, Tom Malloy, Louis Mandylor and Dominique Swain.

In past years, we gave out trophies for a variety of categories, but this year, we may do without awards or do so on a limited scale.

• We accept short and feature length films, narrative and documentary

• Shorts must be under 60 minutes; features no more than two and a half hours

• Filmmakers must be from New Jersey or films must be set in New Jersey

• All genres accepted

• All films must be submitted to FilmFreeway in digital format

• Your film does NOT have to be completed.

• Time Limit: 2-3 minutes maximum

• All genres are welcome

• Categories: Shorts, Features, and Documentaries

• Select the category


• Submissions close: September 15

• Acceptance notification: October 1

Overall Rating
  • Really enjoyed the communication with William Sokolic, I just had a virtual experience due to Covid, but enjoyed the festival, Thank you!!!

    November 2020
  • Lisa Marie Tedesco

    When they say “special attention” to NJ films they mean it. All the awards categories, besides a few, were for NJ films and filmmakers. Now, I’m just the outsider looking in since I came down from CT because my short script had won first place - but even that felt a tad off. I was initially rejected but received an email saying “just kidding, you actually won.” The communication was great though from then on, the staff very friendly, but all in all I felt like an outsider coming to a family Christmas dinner. Everyone knows one another and the same people kept winning the awards. For my script I won a check but in all honesty I would have preferred a trophy. That would at least make me feel included in the fest as a whole. I wasn’t seen as a filmmaker, given a crew badge, so I definitely felt a bit irked by my experiences here. It’s GREAT if you’re from New Jersey but honestly not great if you aren’t. If you’re going to have a screenwriting section/contest treat the writers as filmmakers and give them the recognition they deserve with a trophy. I also noticed a severe lack in diversity with hardly any women winning any awards (I think I counted two who were present to receive awards) or any semblance of an LGBTQ category. I do wish them all the best of luck in their 13th year ahead. I had fun in AC while i was there!

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your critique, Lisa. We are not without our faults, and one of those faults is waiting half a year to respond. I'm sorry you felt like an outsider. It's true we try to create a family atmosphere and it's also true we have repeat filmmakers year after year. And it's true that some filmmakers have several films n the festival, while other have one. Our goal is to give every film an award, so long as there is someone from the film in the audience. We tried limiting them one year and we heard plenty of backlash. So if you have four films you get four awards and only one person is in the house, that person accepts the award for the ones absent so it looks like the same filmmaker wins all these awards. We haven't figured out how to correct that.

    We will correct the badge situation and have screenwriting badges available. Wee rarely put names on the badges anymore because when we did and people don't show up like they said they would - happens too often - we've wasted a badge.

    I'd say we do get more film submissions from New Jersey but that is not by design. There has been a lack of diversity in who gets honored, but as far as filmmakers, that is not the case. We do not discriminate against women or people of color in the submission process.

    In the past, we've had awards for LGBTQ entrants. But that needs to be fleshed out more.

    Hope that answers your concerns.

  • Nice event, nice communication for my screenplay, "Transgressions," which placed. Sure hated to have to miss this year.

    October 2019
  • Graffiti Woman won award for Best Short Animation local 2018

    August 2019
  • Ryan Cervasio

    This was a fun and well run festival! Everyone was personable and helpful with any questions or needs we had. The venue was great and there were many opportunities for networking. I’ll definitely be submitting to this festival again.

    February 2019