GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL Virtual Victory + Award Winners


The Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) presented more than 240 independent films to +15,000 viewers virtually through parallel and dynamic digital streaming in light of the global COVID-19 crisis, and the announcement from the Governor of the State of New Jersey further restricting public gatherings.

GSFF, a grossly underfunded 501(C)(3) executed what other larger and much healthier funded festivals could not and built its own streaming platform in record time and to present securely and on schedule. One upside to this year’s digital experience: Movie lovers around the globe viewed the films. Without delay, the GSFF team worked around the clock to be the first film festival during the COVID-19 Pandemic to live stream over 240 films from around the world to an audience of over +15,000 viewers globally.

The festival, which typically draws more than 25,000 attendees to the Shore town, screens local, national and international movies. GSFF brings the newest wave of indie films but this year our filmmakers were able to reach film lovers all over the world as the data shows we screened in the Netherlands, Ireland, The UAE, The UK, Canada, Italy, Australia, Finland, Belgium, and Croatia to name a few. It brings great joy to the team to have brought a film gathering to your living room at a time when we needed it the most.

Fans who participated in an unprecedented four-day, live-stream event on computers, tablets, and mobile phones found the perfect antidote through innovative entertainment during self-isolation, enjoying popcorn in their PJ’s while streaming hundreds of feature-length films, shorts, documentaries, animation, student films, premieres, and more top-quality cinematic showmanship. The fans even had a chance to interact with the filmmakers. Following each screening block, viewers enjoyed filmmaker talkbacks on Facebook and the audience loved being interactive.

Each film played during their scheduled time over the four-day event. GSFF plays a vital part in educating and showcasing the next generation of filmmakers and had over 40 High school films screen on Saturday and Sunday morning. This year, there were more than 50 world premieres, 80 New Jersey premieres, two dozen East Coast premieres and 15 United States premieres. Visit to learn more.

Executive Director, Lauren Concar Sheehy & Vice Chair, Heather Brittain O’Scanlon hosted the Awards Ceremony on Facebook Live by practicing safe social distancing in the comfort of matching pj’s, where the best in various categories of films and celebrity honorees were recognized. A list of winners is included below.

Celebrating its 18th anniversary, the artistic philosophy of the Garden State Film Festival is rooted in the celebration of the independent film genre and underscores this spirit through dramatic screenings and unparalleled film collaborations attracting a diverse audience. Each year the Garden State Film Festival presents world premieres, high-profile films, industry panels, and celebrity guests.