Wow! What a challenging past two years! 2020 and 2021 was difficult for many of us! To begin, I wish to express my extreme gratitude to everyone that supported Just Be You Performing Arts over the years.
This organization was born in my living room; in Rahway, New Jersey in 2013. My son, at the time was 4 year's old, and I could not find any performing arts programs for his age. He served as the foundation of my inspiration. I held my first free workshop for kids, from age 5 to 18 year's old; at the Union County Performing Arts Center Hamilton Stage; with the support of the then Mayor of Rahway, Samson Steinman.
After seeing the positive impact of my self-proclaimed mantra; "Just Be You" resonate with the children, I new great things were ahead. Since then, we have grown into a thriving production company and mentoring/training academy.
And with that growth comes change...
Many have asked why we stopped producing our shows/programs at the Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC). I deemed it important to clarify this decision. First, it was truly a blessing to have developed an unexpected partnership with UCPAC in 2016 and 2017. JBY started off by creating a variety of events; such as, "Script N' Sip", "A Showcase of Stars", "Cracking Up In Rahway" and "The Runway In Rahway". Our first year; 2016, proved to be a work in progress, with small, yet highly entertained audiences.
Then suddenly, in 2017, those small audiences turned into large ones. Every show we created and produced in 2017 at UCPAC sold out. It soon became apparent to us that the demand for diverse programs and events was high. Yet the space we were afforded to use could not meet that demand. We therefore realized; it was time to expand. Moreover, the partnership was no longer in alignment with our calling to serve more children and grow as an organization.
To that end, we gracefully made our departure from UCPAC in 2017, with a strong sense of pride and joy, for a successful two-year journey. Since that time, the shows we created while at UCPAC, continue to be groundbreaking. Often imitated, but never duplicated.
The debut of our youth film festival made history in New Jersey, by being the first and only, 100% all youth driven film festival. The 1st Annual and the 2nd Annual, Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival was featured in USA Today and News 12 NJ. As well as, several other publications and media outlets.
Our festival was a celebration of everything we represent. Being what we call "Champions for Children". The first festival was held at the Brook Arts Center. The second festival was held at the historic Rahway Public Library. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters, we were able to make the festival completely free for youth.
Prior to developing this dynamic youth film festival, I served loyally for several years; as a devoted contributor of my time and talent, to other community organizations in New Jersey. One such organization was the Rahway International Film Festival. For three years I served as their on-stage Q&A Moderator/Host. I also gave my expertise in marketing and Public Relations. Despite being very instrumental in their early growth of this festival; I realized that my skills would be better served and valued, by creating my own festival for the youth. A festival that is all-inclusive and celebrates cultural diversity. I therefore ended my season with them; filled with immense pride of what I contributed, to help their festival grow. I was sad to hear they subsequently discontinued their film festival and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
Despite those bittersweet departures, I feel honored to have been a part of those organizations. More importantly, contributing to diversifying the artistic community at large. Now, I take my eyes off the rear-view mirror; and look ahead, to the exciting future of Just Be You Performing Arts. Our organization is now GLOBAL and we are empowering, encouraging, and mentoring youth all over the world, through our numerous workshops, productions, and coaching services.
One thing I know for sure, every experience; both the pleasant and unpleasant, leads you on the path towards your destiny.
I am grateful for the journey that lead me here...
...and we're just getting started honey!
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, we decided to safe guard our youth, and postpone the film festival in 2020 and 2021. This was a very sad decision, but we made sure to put the safety of the youth first. As we embrace a new year, it is with great joy that we announce we are hosting the festival live in 2022. Everything we do, we do with the youth in mind. So please keep us in your positive thoughts. Consider being a sponsor or making a donation/love offering.
We appreciate your support and can't wait for the next chapter of this amazing journey!
"Be Blessed & Just Be You" ™
Help us keep the festival free for the youth! Become a sponsor today. Or make a small donation/love offering. Your support, of any amount, helps us, help kids achieve their dreams in the arts.
WE KEEP MAKING HISTORY!
The inaugural Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival (Just Be You Festival for short) was a dynamic celebration of all that we produce artistically. With five strong years under our belt; as an innovative production company and mentoring organization in New Jersey; our inaugural festival year on September 29, 2018 in Bound Brook, New Jersey, was a groundbreaking continuation of our stellar reputation, for being a champion for children! and was featured as a cover story in USA Today Home News Tribune!
For 2019, we made a big decision to move the festival to A NEW LOCATION! Rahway, New Jersey The birthplace of Just Be You Performing Arts! This was a positive change and we were super excited to bring this family friendly event to the great city of Rahway. Our festival made history and was featured on several news stations; such as Comcast FIOS News and News 12NJ.
The Just Be You Festival is one-of-a-kind. MORE THAN JUST A FILM FESTIVAL! So much more! And despite postponing the third season; due to the covid-19 pandemic, season four is going to be epic!
Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive updates!
GREAT FILMS! GREAT NETWORKING!
FABULOUS ENTERTAINMENT! AMAZING YOUTH!
This was an entirely youth driven and youth focused festival that brought filmmakers, playwrights, directors, artists, and industry professionals together, to celebrate works that are relevant to today's youth. We bridged the generational gap by incorporating an inclusive festival that gives both youth and adult filmmakers a voice and a platform.
By attending and/or submitting to our festival; you'll benefit from a diverse event, great networking, food, entertainment, vendors, and talented artistry. The Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival will be a family-friendly event that creates a mutually supportive community and a voice for all artists.
The world wide and nation wide submission process for this season of our festival will open in October. However, EARLY SUBMISSION EXCLUSIVELY FOR NEW JERSEY YOUTH AND ADULT FILMMAKERS IS OPEN NOW!
We accept submissions from filmmakers, photographers, and playwrights, as young as 5 year's old, because even a kindergartner deserves a voice, and has something profound to say. Our festival is open to submissions nation wide and world wide, but with a special encouragement for filmmakers and playwrights in New Jersey. As well as, African-American filmmakers, and female filmmakers.
For a limited time we are having an exclusive submission for New Jersey filmmaker. SUBMIT TODAY!
Audience members didn't just sit and watch, they were able to engage and participate! How fun! They weren't just spectators but participators in the experience. Our festival gave audience members opportunities to get involved during the event with a variety of fun activities.
Filmmakers, playwrights, directors, and artists greatly benefited from participating in a festival with a unique focus on today's youth. We were thrilled to provide this wonderful opportunity.
The pandemic of 2020 slowed us down, but it didn't stop us completely. Our festival will return for it's forth year in the spring and summer of 2022. We are super excited! So please join our mailing list for all of the wonderful updates. Or, follow us on social media: https://www.facebook.com/justbeyoufestival
To all filmmakers who submitted to the Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival 2020 AND 2021. A film festival created for the youth, by the youth, and about the youth.
Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, all public libraries were closed to the public, for several months in 2020, in the cities we intended on holding the festival in 2020. That being said, we made the difficult decision to postpone the festival until 2021. In 2021, venues were still restrictive and this made it very challenging to secure a venue.
While we could have opted to transfer the festival to an online event we believe that is not a worthy representation of this dynamic youth driven event. The gathering of family, friends, and the community is the cornerstone of the Just Be You Festival. As such, we will produce the festival live in June 2022. Our top priority is to produce the event in a safe environment.
Filmmakers from season 3 were notified of being an official selection of the festival on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2020. What a wonderful Christmas gift to receive!
Films selected; from season 3 and season 4, to be a finalist will be notified in the spring of 2022.
Follow us on social media to keep up to date on all things JBY Film Festival www.facebook.com/justbeyoufestival
Thank you to all the amazing filmmakers and photographers from all over the world who submitted to our film festival!
We send you positive thoughts. Please be well and stay safe.
Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival