Film Fest


Event Details / Registration
About Us
Workshops & Opportunities
Timeline / Events
Special Categories
Festival Details
Support / Financial Assistance
Submit your Film

Who We Are:

The Count Basie Center Breakthrough Filmmaker Fest is dedicated to educating and illuminating young, creative and exemplary New Jersey filmmakers. Our aim is to provide a festival that offers professional pathways, diverse workshops, roundtables and development platforms for filmmakers.

Timeline and Events:

This year’s festival will take place on Saturday, March 23rd with panels, workshops, interviews and screenings of selected films.

9/6/23 – Submissions open
1/5/24 – Early bird deadline
2/5/24 – Deadline
2/23/24 – Nomination Announce – Click here for official selections!
3/23/24 – Festival – Attend: free with registration


This year’s festival will take place on Saturday, March 23rd with panels, workshops, interviews and screenings of selected films.

Festival Details:

This year’s festival takes place throughout the Count Basie Center campus, including Basie Center Cinemas and The Vogel. The event is free with advance registration.


CLICK HERE FOR REGISTRATION         Haga Clic Para Registrarse

Rules and Guidelines:

– Any film submitted must be made after January 5, 2023.

– At the time of submission, breakthrough filmmakers must be between the age of 11-25, and have proof of a residential mailing address in the state of New Jersey.

– Students may use any type of equipment to create their submission.

– Films may be no longer than 20 minutes, including credits, opening sequences, etc.

– Entrants may be asked to identify legal ownership of the film.

– Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the festival, including usage of all music, images, and content contained therein.

– Only complete submissions will be considered. Each complete submission must be accompanied by the appropriate entry fee. Entry fees are not refundable. Fees cover registration, notification that your entry has been received, and notification of results. These fees may be paid by credit/debit card only.

– Films must be submitted via

– You may not use copyrighted music or video footage in your film. YouTube and Vimeo are becoming increasingly vigilant about this, and we cannot be responsible for films pulled down for copyright violations. If you require additional support in this area, please contact us!

– Upon acceptance, films must be provided as a .mp4 file for download.

– All films must not contain any form of nudity.

– All entries must be received by 11:59pm EST on 2/5/24.


If you require support with your submission fees: [email protected]
If you are an elementary school student and require educational assistance: [email protected]

– All entries must be received by 11:59pm EST on 2/5/24.

Workshops and Opportunities:

JAN 17 • 6PM


Award winning filmmaker Jason Chaet discusses his path in directing, and how to navigate the challenges of directing for film. Participants will learn how to translate their unique perspectives, properly direct actors, and identify tools that work best for them.

Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions during a Q and A period.

Register Inscribase

JAN 31 • 6PM

On Camera Auditions (Acting)

Master the art of self-taping with actor Phillip Garcia (Sprung, Mayans M.C.). With an evolving industry for actors, self-taping auditions have become one of the most important skills in an actor’s toolbox for both stage and screen. In this workshop, participants will learn how to properly set up their space and equipment, and techniques that can be used to increase the odds on landing a role.
Register Inscribase

FEB 13 • 6PM

Creating the Final Product and a Career in Editing

Finishing Editor Samantha Uber is one of 30 female finishing editors in America, with credits from several award-winning series. In this workshop, Samantha will cover how she rose to success, the online editorial process, plus the necessary tools and skills one needs to create a professional final cut.
Register Inscribase

FEB 28 • 6PM

Creating Fight Sequences for Film

Stuntman, actor, fight choreographer and filmmaker Tyler Williams will take participants through his journey, from high school filmmaker and fight enthusiast to professional fight choreographer and stuntman. Filmmakers will learn the mechanics of a good fight scene by studying both Tyler’s own work on such hit shows as The Boys(Amazon/Sony), and how to navigate a career in the industry.
Register Inscribase


A Career in Writing

In this lecture, Sabrina Besla discusses her unique career trajectory and how she was able to turn each of her industry opportunities into the role to she always wanted: a writer. Students will learn about networking and how to preserve relationships while creating opportunities while learning technical elements to create strong and impactful stories and scripts.
Register Inscribase

MARCH 18 • 6PM

Creating Horror Films

Kay Lynch, founder of one of the world’s most well-known horror film festivals, Salem Horror Fest, will cover her experiences both as a horror genre expert and producer of horror films. Participants will have an opportunity to learn what makes an excellent horror film and how and how to navigate the world of film festivals.
Register Inscribase