The inaugural River Town Film Festival in Clinton, New Jersey will showcase independent films that involve a theme of community. Clinton is a small town that embraces strong community spirit, and is a meeting point between cosmopolitan East Coast culture, home to artists, multi-generational farms and salt of the earth people.

Only one hour from New York City and located on the south branch of the Raritan River, Clinton features a historic and quintessential downtown with locally owned restaurants and boutiques, and a contemporary art museum. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful countryside, Clinton draws visitors from several quaint nearby towns along the Delaware River, as well as other parts of New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia.

The River Town Film Festival will span two days; opening Saturday, November 11 with screenings of short and feature-length films (narrative and documentary) throughout the day on Sunday, November 12. Our festival opening day will feature a screening followed by a Q&A by the Academy Award/Golden Globe winning writer of ON GOLDEN POND, Ernest Thompson, arguably the Godfather of community filmmaking. At the opening night party there will be food, beverage and mingling with the filmmakers. The Closing Ceremony will be capped off by a rock and roll performance by iconic musicians who are former members of Electric Light Orchestra, ELO Part II, and Styx, and have also performed with Billy Joel, John Lennon, Bonnie Tyler, James Taylor, KISS, Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Meatloaf, Carly Simon, and many more.

Our judges read like a whose who of Hollywood: Ernest Thompson (Oscar-winning screenwriter of ON GOLDEN POND); Executive Producer Marc Rosen (SENSE8); Marc Reid (CFO of Lakeshore Entertainment); Lynne Litt (TV writer of LOST, LAW & ORDER, NCIS New Orleans, THE PRACTICE and many more); Virginia Longmuir (EVP of RatPac Entertainment) and Producer, Director, Actor and Composer Allan Nichols (DEAD MAN WALKING, THE PLAYER, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE).

Some of the artists exhibiting at the related Art Expo include John Rowlands (internationally renowned rock n roll photographer) and Bill Jersey who spent 40 years as filmmaker (Emmys, Oscar Nominations and two Peabodys) and is now an oil painter and a Peabody judge.

The festival will take place at the Red Mill, a historical landmark that dates back to 1810 and is now home to a museum village. An antique iron bridge, built in 1870 with a gorgeous view of a 200-foot wide waterfall, connects the Red Mill with downtown, which is where a related Art Expo as well as art events will take place throughout the weekend.

Filmmakers who are accepted into the festival will receive two VIP passes and two tickets to the closing ceremony and rock concert.

We are seeking films that enhance our understanding of community, invite dialogue and encourage relationship. The films may have an abstract conceptual association to community; yet harness the potential to deepen awareness and insight.

Our entry fees are low in order to give all filmmakers the opportunity to submit.

Awards & Prizes

Custom crystal trophies and other prizes will be awarded at a closing ceremony (followed by a rock concert) for the following categories:

1. Best in Show. In addition to a trophy, the winner will receive one free attendance at the Winston/Baker 9th Annual TV and Film Finance Forum East in NYC in April, 2018 (value $995)

2. Audience Award. In addition to a trophy, the winner will receive one creative coaching session from Manager, Producer and Creative Consultant/Coach Joanne Zippel of Zip Creative (value $350)

3. Best Feature Length Film (Narrative or Documentary)

4. Best Short (Narrative or Documentary)

Rules & Terms

To be considered, films must fall under the broad theme of Community. This might be a theme within the film itself, or it could even be that your film was made by a certain community of people. No porn content.

Feature films must have a running time of 50 – 120 minutes. Shorts must have a running time 30 minutes or less.

Film submissions in a foreign language must have English subtitles.

Entry into River Town Film Festival constitutes permission and license to exhibit the film at the festival. By entering your film, you hereby grant River Town Film Festival the right to use the film submitted in promotion and marketing of the festival. You hereby warrant that you are authorized to enter the film for screening to the public, and you hereby grant River Town Film Festival the right to exhibit the film (and any related name, trademark, service mark, trade name, logo, copyrighted material, art and third party rights) and will indemnify and hold harmless River Town Film Festival, its officers, staff, volunteers and Board of Directors from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, attorney fees, damages and expenses which may be incurred as a result of including your film in the festival.

You are responsible for securing festival clearance rights for music, stock footage or any other material in your film, and must clear all copyrighted material in your film prior to public screening.

No Refunds.

River Town Film Festival reserves the right to change our programming and event party without notice.