The promo video for the film competition.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

On Monday, Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide student film competition, went live at

Under the program, sponsored by Bank of America, students enrolled at any New Jersey high school or college can visit the site to learn about entering the competition, with an internship with Sony Pictures Classics at stake as the contest’s grand prize.

On April 19, 2015, the Count Basie Theatre will proudly host the daylong Project FX Festival, which will include workshops with film industry professionals, plus a showcase of the top vote getters in both the high school and college categories — with the winning film acting as an “opener” for a Basie screening of an upcoming Sony Pictures Classics release.

“I am incredibly excited and proud to support the Count Basie Theater, my home state of New Jersey and Project FX,” said Tom Bernard, Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics. “Sony Pictures Classics is in the business of finding great films and talented filmmakers.   I look forward to seeing what amazing talent New Jersey has to offer.”

“New Jersey’s contributions to Hollywood and cinema are well known – from Jack Nicholson and Danny Devito, to films like Clerks, Annie or A Beautiful Mind – all of which were set in the Garden State,” said Adam Philipson, Count Basie Theatre president and CEO. “Our great cast of adjudicators will give Project FX an opportunity discover New Jersey’s next great contribution to film.”

Project FX is open to students enrolled in any New Jersey high school or college as of September 1, 2014. Students have until February 1, 2015 to enter their films, which will then be judged upon by a panel of regional and industry-wide experts, including Sony Pictures Classics Co-President Bernard; Nick Paleologos, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts; Kate Lear, Broadway producer of Catch Me If You Can and Of Mice And Men; Etta Rudolf Denk, Senior Vice President, NJ Market Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility for Bank of America; TJ Bryan, president of Shore Flicks and WJRZ-FM midday host, plus film critics from regional newspapers, and others to be named. 

Entries into the Project X competition are limited to ten minutes, and must have been produced in 2013 or later by students enrolled full-time in any New Jersey high school or college institution. Interested students will upload their films to either or, and then fill out the official festival entry form at A $25 non-refundable fee is required to enter the competition.

From there, a subcommittee and cast of master adjudicators will critique entries using a point system to rate each film’s storyline, cinematography, technical aspects, sound and editing. In March 2015, the ten highest vote-getters in both the high school and college categories will be posted on the Project FX  Facebook page at, where a separate tally of “Likes” and “Shares” will also factor into final scoring.

Full competition rules, regulations, prerequisites and scoring guidelines can be found at project fx.