Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest announces 2019-20 festival and competition


(RED BANK – OCT 7) The Count Basie Center for the Arts is accepting submissions for its Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Festival, with the mission to locate, showcase and recognize student filmmakers from 7th grade all the way through college.

Students can submit their films now via FilmFreeway. On Saturday, April 4, 2020, selected films will be screened and trophies awarded in several categories, with opportunities for schools to be recognized and for students age 16+ to vie for an internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics in Manhattan. See below for details.

“It is an honor to return as a festival judge to the Basie’s Teen + College Film Festival this year,” said Tom Bernard, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics. “The young artists featured have a gift for filmmaking and I’m excited to see and celebrate their work.”

The Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest is open to New Jersey students in 7th and 8th grade, high school, and college. Middle and high school students are required to reside in and attend schools in the state, while the college category is open to full-time students enrolled in New Jersey colleges, and New Jersey high school graduates attending college out-of-state but considering New Jersey as their primary, legal residence.

“Year in and year out, our student film festival proves that New Jersey is full of talented young filmmakers,” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “Our goal is to give those creators a platform and make filmmaking as prolific and vital in New Jersey as creating music or other forms of art.”

“Film and television production in NJ is growing dramatically, and job and career opportunities abound,” said Stephen Gorelick, Executive Director, New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission. “The state needs to nurture a new generation of filmmakers to serve this burgeoning industry, and endeavors such as the Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Festival are critical to this effort.”

Students can visit for official information, deadlines, rules and regulations. A $15 early-bird entry fee applies before January 5, 2020 after which a $25 fee applies goes into effect until the submission deadline of March 1, 2020. Selected films and further details on the onsite Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Festival on Saturday, April 4, 2020 in Red Bank, NJ, set to feature big-screen showings of all selected films, meet and mingles for students and industry experts, a moderated roundtable / Q&A and more.





  • Middle School: Students in 7th or 8th grades attending classes or being home schooled in the state of New Jersey.
  • High School: Students in 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grades attending classes or being home schooled in the state of New Jersey.
  • College: Students aged 25 or below attending classes full-time college located in New Jersey, or legal New Jersey state residents or high school graduates of a New Jersey high school studying full time elsewhere in the United States.

All students will be required to provide a resume, and prove their current status, NJ state high school graduation and / or state residency along with their film submission.


For Middle School entries, one film will receive recognition for “Best Film.”

For high school and college entries, one film in each category will receive recognition for:

  • Best Narrative Film
  • Best Documentary
  • Best Direction
  • Best Acting Performance

An “Audience Award” will be given to the single film receiving the best onsite reaction at the Basie Center Teen + College Film Festival on April 4.

Any school submitting three (3) or more films will also be eligible for the “School Award,” which will provide the school a cash prize of $1,000 and Sony filmmaking equipment. This recognition will be determined by the highest average score of each eligible school’s submissions.


Winners of “Best Direction” in the high school and college categories will also receive the opportunity for an internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics in Manhattan. The internship will be awarded to one individual identified as the principal director for their film.