(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- The New Jersey Web Festival (NJ WebFest) held its third edition on September 16-19, 2021, making it one of the first in-person festivals to take place since March 2020. The highly-acclaimed festival, ranked one of the “Top-100 Best Reviewed Festivals” in the world based on filmmaker reviews on Film Freeway, welcomed creators from all over the United States, as well as global creators from New Zealand, Canada, Czech Republic, South America, and France, among other regions.
This year, the NJ WebFest made history as the first web festival to expand to include Fiction Podcasts, giving this massively popular art form a film festival experience for the first time and paving the way for more industry professionals to learn about the fiction podcast medium.
The four-day festival included a series of workshops hosted by prominent writers, actors, and industry leaders, including a talkback with “Love Life” Co-Showrunner Rachelle Williams, and Masterclasses with Emmy-Award winner Chris Cluess and longtime TV producer Dan Pasternack. The festival also presented more than 225 screenings of web series, fiction podcasts, music videos, and trailers from all over the world.
The closing award ceremonies and receptions for both the Web Series and Fiction Podcast divisions of the festival were held at The Manor in West Orange, NJ, on Sunday, September 19. Seventy total awards were presented at the highly-acclaimed galas. The list of winners features an eclectic list of projects, highlighting the variety of submissions the festival receives annually. Photo galleries of the events can be viewed on the New Jersey WebFest Facebook page.
“It has been a turbulent year-and-a-half, and that is what made this year’s edition of New Jersey WebFest bigger than ever,” said Neem Basha, NJ WebFest founder and president. “We celebrate creativity always, but this year, we celebrated creativity that has survived chaos and confusion. We are living through a pandemic, but on the week of the festival, we were there to show love to each other and value each other’s work. Our tagline is ‘Feel the Magic,’ and this year, it was more accurate than ever. We all felt it.”
NJ WebFest also presented a special honor called the “Excellence and Courage Award” to a 10-year-old boy, Steven Spice, who was born with Chiari malformation, an inoperable condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. Basha learned of Spice’s story when he came across the boy’s YouTube web series where he interviews famous professional wrestling stars. Spice’s never-give-up attitude impressed the festival team, but he was unable to attend the festival in person, so the NJ WebFest sent representatives to present him with the award at his home in Toronto and officially announced the award with a video package played at the gala.
Reviews have been pouring in since the festival. Here are some samples:
"This festival is a must! Neem and his team are so passionate about creators and they do everything they can to support them in this festival! Amazing energy, excitement, and so much heart" -- Ashley Monique Menard, “The Art of Blowing It”
"The NJ WebFest has an incredibly warm, inclusive, supportive atmosphere. It didn’t feel like a competition at all, but rather a big party for like-minded nerds to celebrate each other" -- Third Person, “Midst”
"The entire festival and communication with the organizers was such a great experience. Not only was it fun, but it was educational with all the great panels they had. If you have a web series, you HAVE to submit, you will not regret it!" -- Narmar Hanna, “The Luxury Rental”
"Wow! Just wow! NJ WebFest is spectacular! Super well organized and a gala award night that you'll never forget. The organizers are fun and care about artists. We were so grateful to be a part of this festival. Absolutely worth the admission fee. #FeeltheMagic" -- Kelsea Edgerly, “Stuck!”
The 70+ five-star reviews can be viewed on the festival’s Film Freeway page.
Neem Basha, an award-winning filmmaker and alumnus of several web and film festivals, founded the New Jersey Web Festival in 2017. The fiction podcast wing of the festival is chaired by Ned Donovan, a multi-hyphenate award-winning creator who brought the fiction podcast brainchild to Basha in 2019.
Submissions are open for 2022. Web series, fiction podcasts, music videos, trailers, and pilots can submit their projects at filmfreeway.com/NJWebFest.