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 5th 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.

Awards & Prizes

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

Rules & Terms

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.

27 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    John Dunstan

    A lot of fun, was delighted to win a Tommy, real community, Chris is the kind of guy I would like to have as a brother.

    May 2017
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    Leanne Campbell

    Although I didn't attend the event as I live in Australia their communication was amazing! Their website was up-to-date and I really enjoyed the experience of submitting my film to this festival. Thank you for screening my first short film.

    March 2017
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    Christian A. Morán

    Brightside Tavern Shorts Fest is an amazing and fun film festival in Jersey City, New Jersey. It is a festival that filmmakers should not miss out because the organizer take pride in presenting your film. The festival also has a wonderful section and award ceremony for student filmmakers. In which I encourage young filmmakers to participate because you get to see your film on the big screen with a big audience. Brightside Tavern Shorts Fest also provides great network opportunities with their award and red carpet ceremonies. You get to meet tons of people that are in the industry as well as new bright talent. As a filmmaker myself, I highly recommend Brightside Tavern Shorts Fest to all the filmmakers out there that need exposure for their film. - Christian A. Morán, Producer/Director

    March 2017
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    Kim Paris

    Awesome festival! It's apparent that Chris Cullen puts his heart and soul into making it the best it can be. Great networking, friendly vibe, fantastic films, and the staff at Brightside Tavern are very welcoming. Highly recommend! Thanks also for the "Best Short Short" nomination!

    March 2017
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    Bonnie Harper

    This is a great festival showcasing local talent while still featuring the best international work. Clearly the organizers go to a tremendous amount of effort to cull through the entries and show high-level and inventive films. They have even created supportive environments for student films as well as local (greater-Jersey City) filmmakers. Somehow they still manage to keep it intimate yet networking abounds. Just a wonderful experience all around.

    March 2017