Just Be You Festival Story


The Vision


The 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 four 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!

We kicked off the festival with a fun fashion show featuring child models. Then we held an interactive audition technique workshop for young artists. An exciting highlight was the debut of our unique talent competition "Just Be You Performing Arts Triple-Threat Talent Competition". Contestants wowed the audience by competing in three areas of the arts: acting, singing and dancing. We had contestants in the United States and overseas from the United Kingdom (England). 

During our event we screened over 30 wonderful films by fimmakers from all over the world, such as, Malaysia, Nigeria, Canada, India, and France. Plus, wonderful films made in America, including films by New Jersey filmmakers. We also showcased excellent works of photography submitted by young photographers.

Finally, we put the icing on the cake, with a dazzling Awards Ceremony, that featured our Special Guest Performer, Bella "BellaStar" Cruz, who took the stage by storm, with an amazing dance and vocal performance. Our VIP Guest of Honor, Dupre "DoItAll" Kelly, a community leader from Newark, New Jersey, and a platinum selling recording artists of the legendary hip-hop group "Lords of the Underground", gave a very inspiring motivational speech at the festival. 

During the awards ceremony, hilarious stand-up comedians, Andrew Barrow and Candace Kelley, both of New Jersey, dished out funny jokes. An outlandish magician, Vince the Magician, also of New Jersey, entertained the children with a funny magic show, with an adorable bunny rabbit.

We were fortunate to use the top-notch film festival platform, FilmFreeway, as our festival's sponsor/partner and primary submission portal. 

Check out our profile at: https://filmfreeway.com/JustBeYouPerformingArtsYouthFestival

Thanks to FilmFreeway's dynamic platform, we received SEVERAL HUNDRED film submissions from all over the world! Marvelous places, far and wide! From Michigan, New York, California, Nebraska, and several other places in the U.S. From Brazil, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Africa, and many other countries around the globe!

Our festival was MORE THAN JUST A FILM FESTIVAL! So much more! And now we are making plans for 2019!

Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive updates!

We are producing the festival again in Newark, New Jersey area the summer of 2019.


The Mission

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. 

The Purpose

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 Submission Process

The submission process for this season of our festival is closed. However, for future reference/knowledge, we accept submissions from filmmakers 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.

The Benefits

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. The festival took place on the main stage of the historic Brook Arts Center so our audience didn't have to miss any of the action.  For 2019, we are moving the festival to a more centrally located area, to open the opportunity to more children. 

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.

2019's Festival!

Our festival will return in the summer of 2019. We are making plans already! So please join our mailing list for all of the wonderful updates. Or, follow us on social media: https://www.facebook.com/justbeyoufestival/