18th Annual Garden State Film Festval


25-29, 2020

Get Your 2020 Tickets

2020 Sponsor

2020 Call For Entries


  • Make sure all of the INFORMATION you are submitting into the submission system is correct
  • The info you provide goes right into our GSFF system so please use the contact info you will actually check.
  • Double check everything & make sure you enter any notable actors, other Producer(s), Director(s), Cast, Poster art, contact information, etc.
  • The contact information you enter into Film Freeway is the only contact we will communicate with.
  • It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to communicate with your crew:

1.) IF your film is selected  2.) The details of your screening.


There is no limit to how many films, screen plays or music compositions you can submit but they each must be submitted separately.

Film Entries


July 15th – Early Deadline – Best Discount

October 15th – Deadline- Regular Price

November 10th – Late Deadline- More Expensive

FINAL Deadline is December 1 – Really Expensive

Please follow the FF instructions carefully and send to the address provided.

If you are submitting a web series, only submit 1 episode

Screenplay Competition

Sponsored By:


November 15th –  Deadline

EXTENDED Deadline is December 1


The GSFF Screenplay Competition was instituted to recognize the importance of the writer as the foundation for a really great film. Our goal is to shine a spotlight on the winning screenplay, host a live stage reading by professional actors, and create an atmosphere conducive to industry professionals and investors attending and supporting your endeavors. (Please note: the descriptive part of the screenplay is edited for length of the reading, preserving the story.)


Rules- ** Entered screenplays must not have been previously optioned, sold, or produced.  All screenplays should be registered with the WGA and/or a Library of Congress copyright.

GSFF Movie Music Competition

This is the first competition of this kind in Film Festival History.

Submit any original movie music from an independent or other film, TV, Web Series and it will be judged by music professionals with awards in multiple categories.

Please upload the track of any original music track (one entry/one track per upload please!) from any of the film categories (specify what category the film falls under -Documentary, Feature, Animation, etc. – but do NOT send us the actual film.

This is a competition all about the music!

Questions, please contact us at info@gsff.org or 877-908-7050 – do NOT contact Film Freeway Customer Support about this particular category. We are happy to answer any and all of your questions!

FINAL Deadline is December 1, 2019

Are You the Next GSFF Rising Star?



GSFF is now accepting submissions for its 2020 Rising Star Award through FilmFreeway.

Calling all managers, agents, actors and friends of actors.‪

The Rising Star Award is open to all up and coming actors (any gender), regardless of age, union affiliation or residence.

Applicants are asked to open an account with ‎FilmFreeway (it’s free) and create a project in FilmFreeway titled “[Applicant’s name] Rising Star”.

Then upload a head shot, reel, resume, and any other supporting information you would like the panel to consider. The submission is made under the Rising Star Award category in the Garden State Film Festival competition in that system. You will then proceed to checkout (there is a fee to apply).

Here is the link to Film Freeway: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/GardenStateFilmFestival

The candidate MUST be available to attend the Festival, March 25-29, 2020 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The winner will be honored at the Black-Tie Awards Banquet on Sunday March 29, 2020, and will be invited to attend/participate in various events, including the screenplay reading, as applicable.

Eligible candidates must have an undeniable passion for acting and we look for someone who has made inroads to the industry through hard work and determination. The committee will be looking for a progression of work in theater, commercials, television, and film. Past winners include Adam Mucci, Ronnie Marmo, Joe Sernio, Joey Russo, Quinn Shephard, Camrus Johnson,  Ellie Lee and Allison Strong.

Good Luck!

Questions? Please contact risingstar@gsff.org

2019 Winners

The Garden State Film Festival 2019 Winners

The Garden State Film Festival
2019 Winners

Narrative Feature
“Burning Kentucky”
Bethany Brooke Anderson, Ben Fuqua, Elsa Ramo and Ryan Lacen, Producers
Bethany Brooke Anderson, Director

International Narrative Feature
“The Bird Catcher”
Lisa Black and Leon Clarence, Producers
Ross Clarke, Director

M. Carroll Raver Award for Cinematography
John Christian Rosenlund
“The Bird Catcher”

Horror Feature
“Clinton Road”
Steve Stanulis, Richard Grieco and Noel Ashman, Producers
Steve Stanulis and Richard Grieco, Directors

Narrative Short
Niels Neeskens and Fokke Baarssen, Producers
Fokke Baarssen, Director

Science Fiction Short
“The Beacon”
Chris Staehler, Christopher P. Purdy and Thomas Haley-Hermiz, Producers
Chris Staehler, Director

Lou Costello Award for Comedy Short
Keith Armonaitis and Fokke Baarssen, Producers
Fokke Baarssen, Director

International Narrative Short
“Are You Volleyball?”
Nima Rabiei, Producer
Mohammad Bakhshi, Director

International Comedy Short
Ivan Perekatov and Natalia Bannikova, Producers
Ivan Perekatov, Director

Emanuel “Manny” Berlingo Award for Best Feature Length Documentary
“Funny You Never Knew”
Andrew Hunt, Producer/Director

Short Documentary
“One Less Flight”
Jennifer Hahn and Alan Goldsher, Producer
Jennifer Hahn, Director

International Short Documentary
“Portrait of the Milliner as yer man himself”
Godfrey Jordan, Producer/Director

Animated Short
“Two Balloons”
Mark C. Smith, Producer/Director
Teresa Darling, Naomi Fish, Wendy Fuller, Beth Gavigan, Javan Ivey, Misha Klein, Sihanouk Mariona, Vanessa Pridgen, Bartiek Prusiewicz
and Suzanne Twining, Animators

“Art of Play”
Dan Buck and Dave Buck, Producers
Homer Liwag, Director

Web Series/New Media
Brittany Portman, Producer
Anthony Patellis, Director

Music Video
“Waiting Tables”
Sakinah Iman, Producer
Evan Seplow and Sakinah Iman, Directors

“Shady Glen”
Ron Harner, Director

Feature – College
(DePaul University)
Elliott Lonsdale, Lucy Lola Manda and Gregory Dixon, Producers
Gregory Dixon, Director

Narrative Short – College
“The Chrysalis”
(Quinnipiac University)
Matt Kravitsky, Richard Olsen and Ross Cohen, Producers
Matt Kravitsky, Director

Documentary Short – College
(Rowen University)
Montana Marose, Peter Chamalian and Tyler Kubicz, Producers
Peter Chamalian, Director

International Narrative Short – College
“Toward the Sun”
(London School of Film)
Rosa Santis, Producer
Monica Santis, Director

Documentary Short – High School
“Inclusion on the Air”
(Mamaroneck High School, NY)
Eli Canter, Director

The Garden State Film Festival would like to recognize films shot in the State of New Jersey with the following winners in the “Home Grown Award” categories:

Home Grown Feature
“The Incoherents”
Alex Emanuel, Jared Barel, Jeff Auer and Jordan Barel, Producers
Jared Barel, Director

Home Grown Documentary Feature
“Roadie My Documentary”
TJ Hoffmann, Producer
Andy Strohl, Director

Home Grown Short
Alison Hale, Jo Sanford, David Ramirez and Spencer Bacon, Producers
Alison Hale, Director

Home Grown Comedy Short
Mark Ward and Shannon Meehan, Producers
Mark Ward, Director

Home Grown Documentary Short
“First Steps”
Lou Marillier, Chloe Mamelok and Sara Obeidat, Producers
Lou Marillier and Chloe Mamelok, Directors

Home Grown Music Video
“Everybody Said”
Brian Ostering, Producer
Amanda Duncan, Director

Home Grown Commercial
“Can’t Catch the Dark”
Jordan Hidalgo, Director

Home Grown Student Short – College
(Montclair University)
Afrotwin Productions and Paola Ossa, Producers
Poala Ossa, Director

Home Grown Student Documentary Short – High School
“Sonic Highways Middletown”
(Middletown South High School)
Keeley Giblin, Jolene Gianone and Toria Pater, Directors

Home Grown Student Short – High School
Olivia Anton, Writer/Director

Home Grown Student Short – High School Honorable Mention
“The Art of Observation”
(Howell High School)
Annie Fleisch, Director

Home Grown Student PSA – High School
“Are you Enough”
(Communications High School)
Summer Ward, Director

The Garden State Film Festival Movie Music Competition Winners

Best Theme From A Comedy
He’s A Beautiful Boy (Theme from Lil’ Balzac)”
Composer: Jan van Oene
Performed by: Jan van Oene, Evan Lincoln, and Shannon Burke

Best Orchestration From A Documentary
World Water Puerto Rico – Main Theme
Composer: Kenneth Blaine
Performed by: Kenneth Blaine

Best Theme From A Home Grown Feature
“The Hospital Room”
Composers: Alan Parness & Larry Weissblum
Performed by: The Stonebridge Jammers

Best Orchestration From An Animation
“Never Give Up”
Composed, orchestrated and conducted by: Sandrine Rudaz
Performed by: Seattle Studio Musicians

Best Musical Score from a Short
“Circus Fantasy”
Composer: Kevin Stahl
Conducted by: Kevin Stahl
Best Musical Score from a Feature
“Fox Medicine”
Composer: Josh Coffey and Otto Sharp
Performed by: Josh Coffey,Otto Sharp, Stephen Montgomery

Home Grown Alternative Rock
” How the Hell Am I Getting Home?”
Composer: Milan Lazistan III, John Busse, Edwin Estevez Jr.

Performed by: Milan & The Sour Goat III
Best Ballad From A Short Film
” Wild One” (The Ballad of Brando)
Composer: Philip Curcuru
Performed by: The Atomik Age Project

Best Pop Song
“Far Away Places”
Composed by: Toni Cornell
Performed by: Toni Cornell
Best Orchestration From An Animated Short
“Skip Rescues Pip”
Composer: Cristina “Trinity” Vélez-Justo

Best Music From a Home Grown Student -Elementary School
“MP News Theme”
Composer: Robert Shiffman

Best Home Grown Pop Duet
Composed by: Marc McBarron
Performed by: Marc McBarron Kessler and Aileen Quinn

Garden State Screenplay Competition Winner
Drew Henriksen
“A Brooklyn Christmas”

The Garden State Film Festival (“GSFF”) is proud to announce the winners for its first ever acting awards.

Best Actor – Feature Film
Jeff Burrell – “Robin”

Best Actress – Feature Film
Sarah-Sofie Boussnina – “The Bird Catcher”

Best Supporting Actor – Feature Film
Jacob Cedergren – “The Bird Catcher”

Best Supporting Actress – Feature Film
Talulah Riley – “The Last Witness”

Best Actor – Short Film
Dan Franco – “The Recursion Theorem”

Best Actress – Short Film
Casey Landman – “Scar”

Best Supporting Actor – Short Film
Matt Riker – “Let Mercy Come”

Best Supporting Actress – Short Film
Michelle Hurst – “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home”

Ensemble Acting

Ali Ataeehoor, Salar Daryamadj, Hamed Sheikhi, Saeed Ahmadi, Hesam
Kalantari, Meysam Damanze, Sajad Rostami and Arash Gholam Azad


Honorary Chair
Dr. David Stout

Broader Vision
John R. Elliott Hero Campaign for Designated Drivers

Kim Waltrip

Educators of the Year
Erin Gomez & Linda Krebs

Exceptional Women in Film Award
Lisa G.Black

The Garden State Film Festival Rising Star Award for Acting
Allison Strong

2018 Winner Recap

The Garden State Film Festival 2018 Winners

Narrative Feature
James Burke and Scott Disharoon, Producers
Nico Sabenorio, Director

“Making a Killing”
Devin Hume, Producer/Director

International Narrative Feature
“Handsome Devil”
Rebecca O’Flanagan and Robert Walpole, Producers
John Butler, Director

Musical Feature Film
“Still Waiting In The Wings”

Carroll Raver Award for Cinematography
“The Song of Sway Lake”
Eric Lin

The Bud Abbott Award for Feature Length Comedy
“Love Eclectic”
Bill Brown, Producer/Director

Family Feature
Santino Campanelli, Producer/Director

Horror Feature
The Wanderers: The Quest of the Demon Hunters
Andrei Boncea, Catalin Catoiu and Dragos Buliga, Producers
Dragos Buliga, Director

Musical Feature
“Still Waiting In The Wings”
Jeffrey Johns/Producer
Allan Brocka/Director

Narrative Short
Paul Castro, Jr. and Aly Miller, Producers
Paul Castro, Jr., Director

Lou Costello Award for Comedy Short
Neil Fennell and Guy Olivieri, Producers
Guy Olivieri, Director

International Narrative Short
“The Puppeteer”
Carlos Lascano, Producer/Director

International Comedy Short
Ivan Shokha, Producer/Director

“2 by 2”
(United Kingdom)
Mark Playne, Producer/Director

Emanuel “Manny” Berlingo Award for Best Feature Length Documentary
“Living in Futures Past”
Jeff Bridges, Susan Kucera and Jim Swift, Producers
Susan Kucera, Director

Short Documentary
“The Sara Spencer Washington Story”
Royston Scott, Director

Alternative Feature
“The Rainbow Experiment”
Allison Vanore, Producer
Christina Kallas, Director

International Feature Documentary
“Melody Makers”
Mark Sanders and Leslie Ann Coles, Producers
Leslie Ann Coles, Director

Animated Short
Young Gul Cho, Director

International Animated Short
“Au Revior Balthazar”
Claudia Frei and Stella Händler, Producers
Rafael Sommerhalder, Director

“What’s Out There?”
Yijian Lou, Producer
Kirill Yusim, Director

Music Video
“Mission to Mars”
George Pasles, Director

Narrative Short – College
Undergraduate Student
(Syracuse University)
Kathryn Ferentchak, Producer/Director

Narrative Short – College
Graduate Student

“The Hobbyist”
(School of Visual Arts, NY)
David E. Munz Maire, Producer
George Vatistas, Director

Animated Short – College
“Out of the Box”
(Rochester Institute of Technology)
Marcel Saleta, Director

International Animated Short – College
“In the Crosshairs”
(Soore University, Iran)
Hamidreza Jave, Producer
Marzieh Kheirkhah, Director

International Narrative Short – College
“Children of Spring”
Zara Demet Altan, Producer/Director

“Fantastic Four”
Karol Vo, Producer
Juan Alejandro Bermúdez, Director

Narrative Short – High School
“About Time”
(Viewpoint School, CA)
Anthony Aguirre, Producer
Branton Choi, Director

International Narrative Short – High School
“The Candy Girl”
Lettie Costea, Producer/Writer
Joshua Costea, Director

The Garden State Film Festival would like to recognize films shot in the State of New Jersey with the following winners in the “Home Grown Award” categories:

Home Grown Feature
“Clinton Road”
Noel Ashman, Richard Grieco and Steve Stanulis, Producers
Richard Grieco and Steve Stanulis, Directors

Home Grown Short
“Swiped Right”
Lydia Fiore and Dana Marisa Schoenfeld, Producers
Dana Marisa Schoenfeld, Director

Home Grown Comedy Short
“Therapy, Bro.”
Wally Marzano-Lesnevich, Francesco Nuzzi and John Hedlund, Producers
John Hedlund, Director

Home Grown Documentary Feature
“The Oyster Farmers”
Angela Andersen C., Producer
Corinne Gray Ruff, Director

Home Grown Documentary Short
“Destination Past: Rumson Hill”
Chris Brenner, Producer/Director

Home Grown PSA
“Azaliah & AJ at Special Strides”
Jenna Bush, Director

Home Grown Music Video
“Got This Far”
Madison Caccioppoli

Home Grown Student Short – College
(Fairleigh Dickinson University)
Lauren Ide, Producer
Salma Hbaich, Director

Home Grown Documentary Short – College
“Hope Restored”
(Rowan University)
Diana Nicolae, Bryan Dickerson and Erin Cahill, Producers
Argiea Spencer, Director

Home Grown Student Documentary Short – High School
“The Pilgrim Pipeline”
(Chatham High School)
Zoe DeWitt, Director

Home Grown Student Short – High School
(Communications High School)
Abigail Karl, Director
“Parallel Dreams”
(Red Bank Regional High School)
John Tuohy, Director/Writer

Home Grown Student PSA – High School
“The Community Food Bank”
(Atlantic County Institute of Technology)
Amanda Paule, Director

Home Grown Student Music Video – High School
“Three Roads”
(Monmouth Regional High School)
Emily Heath, Directo
Home Grown Student Trailer – High School
(Bloomfield Tech High School)
Edithe Eugene, Director

The Garden State Film Festival Movie Music Competition Winners

Best Song From a Short Film
” The Long Run”
Performed by: Glenn Roth, Gary Blu, Grant Morrison, & Rachel Blumberg
Composer: Rachel Blumberg, Barbara Bock, & Gary Blu

Best Theme From a Drama
“Stars In My Eyes”
(Theme from Drawing Home)
Performed by Judy Collins
Written by Jody Gray, Don Rollins & Steve Walsh

Best Orchestral Score
Performed by: Hollywood Studio Symphony, conducted by Tim Williams, concertmaster Mark Robertson , Composer: Kim Planert

Best Instrumental Score from a Silent Film
“Center Ring Waltz”
Performed by: Bryson Kemp
Composer: Bryson Kemp

Best Contemporary Pop Song
“Dancing Girl”
Performed by: The Wiggies
Composer/Produced by: Sandy Linzer & Edward B. Kessel

Best Internationally Inspired song from a Home Grown Artist
“Some Fish Can Fly”
Performed by: Sound Imagination Players
Composer/Producer: Edward B. Kessel & Marc Hoffman

Best Home Grown Hip Hop Song
“Got This Far”
Performed by Madison Caccioppoli
Composer: Madison Caccioppoli

Best Indie Rock Song
“Mission To Mars”
Performed by: Overlord (George Andrew Pasles, Sarah Brockett, Matt Houser, and TrisMcCall) Composer: George Andrew Pasles

Best Documentary Theme from a Home Grown Short
“Azaliah’s Theme”
Performed by: David Citron Composer: David Citron

Garden State Screenplay Competition Winner
“Colorblind ( The Legacy of Alvin Bell) “by Pamela Peak


Honorary Chair
Brian Cheripka

Lifetime Achievement
Xander Berkeley

Beacon Award
Christopher Lloyd

Armand Assante

Broader Vision Award
Angelight Films

Educator of the Year
Christopher Corey

The Garden State Film Festival Rising Star Award for Acting
Ellie Lee

Pick of the Flicks
Detention (Ballinger)

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