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project fx logoEsteemed Adjudicators include Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, Clerks star, Brian O’Halleran, Oscar nominee James Schamus (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Brokeback Mountain), Sony Pictures Classics Co-President Tom Bernard and others.

RED BANK – The Count Basie Theatre has extended its entry deadline and announced its panel of esteemed judges for PROJECT FX, its statewide student film festival presented by Bank Of America and Sony Pictures Classics.


Students aged 16-25 and presently enrolled in a Garden State-based high school or college now have until midnight on March 1, 2016 to enter their films at  The top vote-getter in each category will win a paid internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics in New York, as well as a screening during the first-ever Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank in July.


The Basie has also announced its 2016 panel of esteemed adjudicators:

Tom Bernard, Co-President, Sony Pictures Classics

Bonnie Bernstein, Howell native and ESPN / Fox Sports host

Alex Biese, Entertainment Reporter, Asbury Park Press

TJ Bryan, Radio Host, WJRZ-FM and Owner, Shoreflicks

Nina Danevic, Film Editor

Kate Lear, Broadway producer and daughter of the legendary Norman Lear

Robert O’Connor, Founder and Creative Director, FilmOneFest

Brian O’Halloran, Actor (Clerks, Mallrats)

Timothy Hutton, Academy Award winning Actor (Ordinary People)

Nick Paleologos, Executive Director, New Jersey Council on the Arts

Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Theatre

Rena Ronson, Partner, and Head of UTA Independent Film Group at United Talent Agency

Linda Safran, Member, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures

James Schamus, Screenwriter and Producer (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Brokeback Mountain)

Maureen Van Zandt, Actress, The Sopranos, Broadway’s Hair

Michael Vickerman, Writer; producer of the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated Tut

Alicia Yerves, Social Media Manager, Two River Theater

On March 10th, the Basie will reveal twenty films – ten entries from Garden State high schoolers and an additional ten from students attending New Jersey colleges – as finalists for the competition. The public will have an opportunity to cast votes by “liking” or “sharing” the films on Facebook – a tally which will figure into each film’s final score. Voting will also consist of scores from the judge’s panel, as well as an audience vote at the April 17th festival.

The PROJECT FX Festival will feature screenings of all twenty student films, as well as a Q&A panel featuring some of our esteemed judges.

“Last year’s crop of PROJECT FX entries contained true, cinematic gems – works from students I’m certain will have long careers in film,” said Tom Bernard, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics, when the Basie announced the fest’s return last fall. “I am excited to see what we will find at this year’s PROJECT FX.” 

High school and college PROJECT FX finalists are vying for the ultimate grand prize: a paid internship with Sony Pictures Classics’ offices in New York City. 

Second place winners in each category will receive Sony video cameras, while third-place finishers will receive a $500 cash prize. 

For more information about PROJECT FX or other Count Basie Theatre events, contact Jonathan Vena at [email protected] / 732-224-8778 x 107


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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...