film one fest smith

film one fest smithFilm festival to feature submissions by aspiring filmmakers across different backgrounds in cinema.

photo credit: Jeff Smith Photography

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, N.J. ⎼ FilmOneFest, a project of the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, is celebrating an important milestone this year, celebrating its 10th anniversary on Saturday, July 21, 2018. FilmOneFest is an annual international festival that proudly showcases a collection of super short films under two minutes that are submitted from around the world. The festival will take place in the Atlantic Highlands Harbor from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Admission and parking is free, and guests are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs to watch the main screening at 9:00 pm under the stars!

Attendees will enjoy the performances of three musical acts: headliner Cranston Dean, an Atlantic Highlands native, Inner Gypsy, and Elastic Waist Band, also a local favorite. Music will begin at 5:45 pm. FilmOneFest offers a diverse selection of food and craft vendors that line Suttons Walk in the marina and is open from 6 pm to 9 pm. 


The FilmOneFest experience has grown in size and prestige to become the go-to event for short-format filmmakers – both youth and adult, amateur and professional – from around the world. “New Jersey hosts many film festivals but none like FilmOneFest,” said founder and artistic director Robert O’Connor. FilmOneFest exclusively showcases films under 2 minutes in length. “The super-short format is the key,” he said, ”because the challenge of telling a complete story in such a short time inspires great originality, creativity, and fantastic storytelling.” This year, FilmOneFest will present and award only the ‘best of the best’ from 305 films have been submitted from 46 different countries, such as Romania, Cote d’Ivoire, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Canada, Australia, USA, Egypt, Sweden, Turkey, and many more!

This year also marks another milestone with the departure of Robert O’Connor as co-director. He will be leaving to pursue other artistic projects, and all the best is wished for his future. Corinna Thuss, managing director of the festival, will be succeeding him to continue the achievement FilmOneFest has cultivated. ”This year, the event is even more poignant since it is the year of Robert O’Connor’s retirement from the event, so this is very bitter sweet for me.” Thuss says. “If he didn’t have the vision to create such an amazing festival, Atlantic Highlands and the surrounding communities would never have been able to share in this special event.”

When asked about his upcoming last days with FilmOneFest, O’Connor adds “It’s so satisfying to know that the seed of an idea I had ten years ago has grown and matured into the festival we know today. I also love that kids from town haven’t known a summer without it. I hope the festival will continue on for many years and that my 2 1/2 year old daughter will have fond memories of this special little event I helped create.”

This year’s judges’ panel includes television network executive and producer Jon Crowley (HGTV, Impractical Jokers, Marriage Boot Camp), film editor Susan Littenberg, sound editor Gedney Webb (A Dog’s Purpose, The Hundred-Foot Journey), film reviewer/historian Victor Zak, and James Gregg, a communications and video/film teacher at Henry Hudson Regional School.

Event Day

At 6 pm, FilmOneFest opens at the marina, with music, arts vendors, a stilt walker, princesses, and clowns to entertain attendees. At 9 pm, screening of more than 45 of the best short films of 2018 begins. Judges’ top picks will be announced, with a $250 prize going to the highest scoring film. Perennial favorite Audience Choice People’s award will be back, selected in real time by the audience and will be given a $250 prize as well.

Local restaurants and food trucks will offer a variety of options throughout the evening, including Kunya Siam Thai, barbeque, and Italian cuisine. Hotdogs, burgers, and sweet treats will also be available.

Planning Your Attendance

Walk-in admission is free for the main screen/lawn; no pre-registration is required. Lawn chairs and blankets are permitted on the great lawn. There are limited $20 premium seating spots, where attendees will view the films on an exclusive screen from cushioned bleachers. For premium seating purchases, go to and click the ‘Events’ tab and click on FilmOneFest 2018.

Rain date is Sunday, July 22; if rain on July 22nd,  the event will be held indoors at Henry Hudson Regional School, 1 Grand Tour, Highlands N.J.

Volunteer and Sponsor Supported

FilmOneFest is 100% volunteer-produced, and proceeds support the Atlantic Highlands Food Pantry, and will collect donations at the event.

FilmOneFest thanks its corporate sponsors Secret Stash, Whole Foods, PepsiCo, Blue Bay Inn, Alice Kupper, PE, Atlantic Cinemas, Wells Fargo, Janet Peterson and JBL Trinity Group for their generous support.  Donations are accepted from individuals by visiting scroll down on the home page and click on the donate now button!

FilmOneFest is a project of the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The mission of the Arts Council is to strengthen community through the arts. For more information, go to

This program is made possible in part by Monmouth Arts through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and The New Jersey State Council on the Arts. FilmOneFest is also grateful for the continued support of Tom Bernard and Sony Pictures Classics.

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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...