Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest: Finalists announced, screenings set at Basie Center Cinemas

Count Basie Center Film Fest

(RED BANK | APRIL 11, 2023) The Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest has announced its 2023 finalists, all of which will be screened next weekend at Basie Center Cinemas, 36 White Street in Red Bank.

Screenings will take place on Friday, April 21 at 4PM, on Saturday, April 22 at 1PM and at 4PM on Sunday, April 23. More information, including $5 tickets, will be available at 

Winners of this year’s festival will be announced Saturday, April 29, following a panel and Q&A between the filmmakers and various industry leaders, including Sony Pictures Classics Co-Founder and Co-President Tom Bernard, who has taken an active role in the festival and competition since its inception.

“Every year, we watch films submitted to the Count Basie Center Teen + College Film festival, and I always come away feeling that this could be the platform that launches New Jersey’s next great young filmmaker,” said Sony Pictures Classics’ Bernard, who is also a member of the nonprofit Basie Center’s Board of Trustees. “I’m excited for this year’s festival and the opportunity to speak with these creators about the industry and how they can find their way moving forward.”

Now in its 8th year, the annual Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Festival receives dozens of entries from middle school, high school and college-aged filmmakers based in New Jersey. Collegiate students studying in other states may also participate.  The Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest is presented by Bank of America.

Finalists in the 2023 Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest:

High School:

  • ROCKIT! “The Making of a Musician” (Directed by Arielle Borges, Holmdel High School)
  • The Making of MM61 (Directed by Middletown South Film Students, Middletown High School South)
  • “Saint” Nick (Directed by Maura Catherine Collins & Darla Matches, Middletown High School South)
  • A Case of You (Directed by Gabriel Werts, East Brunswick Tech-School of the Arts)
  • BFF (Directed by Sofia Scarpa, South Brunswick High School)
  • Fiance (Directed by Tabitha Kirchoff, Middletown High School North)
  • i wasn’t there (Directed by Jay Fielding & Lia Kilcullen, Middletown High School South)
  • keepsake (Directed by Matthew McIntyre, Mount Olive High School)
  • Love Bites (Directed by Maura Catherine Collins, Middletown High School South)
  • Love, Aaron (Directed by Vinny Albano & John Stillwagon, Howell High School)
  • Mr. Lonely Makes a Friend (Directed by Justin T. Marinelli, Howell High School)
  • Never Along Again (Directed by Andre Paras, Howell High School)
  • PANIC (Directed by Maura Catherine Collins & Mia Dimitry, Middletown High School South)
  • Score (Directed by Chris Zhou, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School)
  • Staple (Directed by Stephen Sassano & Maura Collins, Middletown High School South)
  • The Envelope (Directed by Tyler Izzo, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School)
  • The Summer Wind (Directed by Lukas Cornine, Jackson Liberty High School)
  • Time (Directed by John R. Stillwaggon, Howell High School)
  • Traffic (Directed by Arielle Borges, Holmdel High School)


  • Campsite (Directed by Alexander Fezza, Villanova University (Graduate of Biotech High School)
  • Coffee & Cocoa (Directed by Sophia Rose Montano, Montclair State University)
  • Doppelgänger (Directed by George Parker, Montclair State University)
  • For Lonely Nights (Directed by Veronica Tullo, Chapman University (Graduate of Mountain Lakes High School)
  • Knocking on Doors (Directed by Cameron Spector, Filmuniversity Babelsberg Konrad Wolf in Potsdam, Germany (Graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School)
  • Laria (Directed by Isaiah Gomez, Montclair State University)
  • The Escape Plan (Directed by George Parker, Montclair State University)

This year’s Q&A will provide student filmmakers with the opportunity to speak with industry professionals as well as college film program professors. Guests include Bernard, Executive Director of the New Jersey Motion Picture and TV Commission Steven Gorelick, producer Kim Allen, director/writer/producer/founder of the One Oh! One Podcast Kate Forsatz, film editor Meredith Veach, and producer/director/documentary filmmaker Kyra Knox.