Garden State Film Festival


Lauren Concar Sheehy, Executive Director

Submission Policy:

Festival Season: Spring (usually March/April)

Deadline: November 1st (median deadlines)

Entry: $40 for features and documentaries. $30 for shorts, trailers, PSAs, music, and music videos. Also accepts animated and documentary shorts, PSAs, animations, features, and homegrown categories of the above. Screenplay competition.


Features, Shorts, Music Videos, Documentaries

Festival Season:



The Garden State Film Festival was born in 2002 after a chance encounter in a Sea Girt, New Jersey grocery store by film industry veteran Diane Raver and the well-known Hollywood actor Robert Pastorelli. Through their deep ties to Hollywood, Pastorelli and Raver were able to bring an all-encompassing event to the State of New Jersey, successfully premiering in 2003.

The artistic philosophy of the Garden State Film Festival is rooted in the celebration of the independent film genre and the creation of a forum where local and other independent filmmakers can exhibit their work. It was also created to pay tribute to New Jersey’s legacy as the birthplace of the American filmmaking industry in Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratories where he invented the first film cameras and projectors, to Fort Lee, where the original studios were founded. The event provides novice and aspiring filmmakers, actors, and others interested in careers in the film business, the opportunity to meet and network with industry professionals in an atmosphere conducive to learning and mentoring.