Announcing the Count Basie Center for the Arts Teen + College Film Fest


Competition and onsite festival will locate and showcase the Garden State’s best student filmmakers – at home and out-of-state

(RED BANK – OCT 15) The Count Basie Center for the Arts today announced the first-ever Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest, with the mission to locate, showcase and recognize student filmmakers from 7th grade all the way through college.

Beginning today, students can submit their films via Amazon’s Withoutabox platform at On Saturday, April 6, 2019, 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.

“The Basie’s Teen + College Film Fest is one of the events I look forward to every year,” said Tom Bernard, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics, who also sits as a festival judge and will lead an industry roundtable for students on April 6. “The passion for film and the talent of these young filmmakers continues to inspire me.”

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, New Jersey high schools graduates attending college out-of-state but considering New Jersey as their primary, legal residence.

“The Garden State has a tremendous amount of creative and talented students,” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “Our festival hopes to encourage new media makers and shine a spot light on the future of cinematic arts.”

Students can visit for official information, deadlines, rules and regulations. A $15 early-bird entry fee applies before January 20, after which a $25 fee applies goes into effect until the submission deadline of March 3, 2019. Selected films and further details on the onsite Count Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest will be announced shortly thereafter, 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.

“I’m thrilled to be involved with The Count Basie Center’s Teen & College Film Fest,” said producer Kim Allen, who has worked with everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Martin Scorcese, and is serving as both an advisor and judge for this year’s festival. Her latest credits include the Academy Award winning film Call Me By Your Name, and the upcoming Change In The Air starring Rachel Brosnahan, Golden Globe winner for Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

“It’s extremely important to keep the arts alive and thriving everywhere, and as a New Jersey native, this area remains dear to my heart.  My hope is to witness a new generation of filmmakers emerge who feel a great deal of support and encouragement from their community.”




  • 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 fulltime 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.


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 6, 2019 at the Count Basie Center for the Arts.

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.


Visit to submit your films, read rules and regulations, etc. All film submissions are handled by Amazon’s Withoutabox film submission service.