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2024 FenceSitter Film Festival


Thursday, April  18th - 7 PM

Staged Readings: Screenplay Competition

Screenplays are made to be heard and seen, not simply read. Luckily the FenceSitter Film Festival has a remedy for that problem. With over a dozen local actors, the top screenplays from more than two dozen submissions will go head to head in the first ever live, short screenplay competition. Directed by Ella Slayne with help from the audience, we will crown the winner once all five scripts are performed on stage.

Beach Shorts,

Written by Curtis JL Medina
Tristian & Roddy are queer youths who met online and now, upon meeting in person for the first time, must come to grips with their deep affection for each other on a romantic walk around a beach town in South Carolina. Each of their single straight parents are trying to strike a romance with each other at the same time, causing Roddy & Tristian to consider whether its worth hurting their parent's romance for what seems like something too special to pass up.


Written by Tira Olkdari
Terry returns to their suburban hometown for a family wedding. After a year in art school, they intend to keep their recently realized, nonbinary identity private from family. When their old youth pastor shows up to officiate, they are faced with the choice of opening up to their concerned father, or letting the dysphoria eat at them from inside.

Infinity Care,

Written by Autumn Karen
A mother and her three year-old-daughter with disabilities connect in tender, ordinary moments through an extraordinary futuristic service that defies corporal limitations.

Lost Equinox,

Written by Hyten Davidson
When a search party for a missing girl draws an unexpected visitor looking to cover her tracks, she must look to a compassionate park ranger for an escape.Plants 4 Sale Written by Heather McDonald
A girl attempts to sell plants on the streets of NYC, but her bitterness and past get the better of her as she decides who is worthy of them.

Plants 4 Sale 

Written by Heather McDonald

A girl attempts to sell plants on the streets of NYC, but her bitterness and past get the better of her as she decides who is worthy of them.

Friday, April  19th - 4:00 PM
"Two For One Friday"


Red Wine Drive, (86 minutes)

A compassion-driven human narrative film, set in 1979. A young nurse working in a mental institution forms a risky friendship with a patient that shares a similar condition to her lost brother.

The Prof (20 minutes) New Jersey
Famous indie film director, Jack Gallucci, falls from favor. His chance meeting with Marigold McCormack forces him to face the mess he’s made of his career and decide if he has it in him to try again. Directed by Debra Markowitz


Friday, April  19th - 6 PM

Diamond Dreams Kick Off Party

Nothing starts off a weekend (and a film festival better than some wine, cheese and a little soiree to celebrate the beginning of the 1st annual FenceSitter Film Festival!  Located directly across the street from the Bernardsville Cinema, Diamond Dreams Jewelers is the perfect spot to open what is sure to become the crown jewel of film festivals in New Jersey.


Come meet the filmmakers, screenwriters and a whole lot of film lovers as our hosts lay out the red carpet then walk to the theater for the exciting documentary evening of stories.

Friday, April  19th - 7 PM


Rutgers University

Documentary Filmmaking Showcase

FenceSitter Film Festival in conjunction with Rutgers University's Writer’s House have teamed up to celebrate the excellence in documentary filmmaking among their students. The evening will include nine of the top films created this year as part of the Professor John Hulme’s “Documenting Your World” and “Documentary Filmmaking for Writers” courses. 

Boyish (19 Minutes) Boyhood explores the director's relationship to their gender and their family and friends' reaction to them coming out as nonbinary. Directed by Mai Chiaet

How To Have Your Own Art Gallery (7 Minutes) This short film really was born from a last-resort and out-of-ideas moment; with just three days until the final project was due, the only idea left was to make a film about the filmmaker's greatest passion: Art. Directed by Catherina Cordero

Vulnerabilities (4 Minutes)

Directed by Kaliyah McKnight

Safe Staffing Saves Lives (12 Minutes) This film about the nurses' strike that took place at Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Hospital in 2023 emphasizes the need for nurses to get the proper resources they need to protect themselves and their patients. Directed by Jamie McIntosh

Love is Weird (10 minutes) The film was inspired by the director’s love life and trying to find Prince Charming, deciding to have deep conversations with three best friends about what was going wrong. Falling in love has always been a strange thing and that’s how Love Is Weird was made. Directed by Jayson Torres

I Wish You Knew (6 minutes) This is a profoundly personal exploration born from the raw emotions surrounding an experience that too many individuals endure in silence – sexual assault. The director embarked on this project with the intention of transforming their own pain into a source of solace for others. Directed by Raylyn Rivers ​

The Documentary Is About None Of Those Things (9 Minutes) This is the story of four failed documentaries and the one that succeeded. An amalgamation to find a story connecting the different people in the filmmaker’s life. Directed by Erin Burke

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​There It Was, There It Goes (12 Minutes) Directed by Ummekulsum Alishah This film was created to document my fall semester of junior year in real time, as I was going through several life changes and new experiences. I wanted to celebrate some of the most joyous memories I’ve ever had, while also acknowledging how difficult it was to handle everything at once. It exists as a time capsule and a celebration of myself and the people I love

Saturday, April 20th - 11:30AM
"Midday Movie Block"

Gloria’s Birthday (8 minutes) Virginia Joanie, a feisty senior, regales her friends about past events from her youth, yet cannot recall her sister Gloria's recent death. Directed by Robin Noonan-Price

Last Girls Trip (36 minutes) Connecticut Three life-long middle-aged friends set off on the last of their many girls’ trips, to find that a huge favor is about to change their lives and challenge their bond. Directed by Dusty Noval

Lesbian Lobster Song (4 minutes) Canada The rural lesbians of the north shore of Nova Scotia gather each spring to celebrate lobster season, and their voracious appetites, with feast and song. Directed by Liss Platt

You and Your Youth (4 minutes) Rutgers A child growing up and their parents' irrational,close minded reaction. Directed by Kyle Alister Berdin

No Bruises (12 minutes) California This short film explores the cyclical nature of emotional abuse, played out in vignette-style glimpses into one man’s relationships with three different women over time. Directed by Emma Powell and Jennifer Vega

A Trace (5 minutes) California This student short film follows a young girl trying to shed her guilt about her absent father. Directed by Julietta Zamora Lam

Paradise Valley (26 minutes) Australia Following the sudden death of her husband, a young widow in a 19th century Australian settlement faces eviction from her property; an unexpected visit from her untrustworthy brother-in-law further complicates the situation. Directed by Abby Garratt

SaturdayApril 20th - 2pm

"An Afternoon in the Shorts"

Sisters (8 minutes) Virginia Estranged sisters care for elderly mother

Blue People (20 minutes) Rutgers A lonely girl living in a fantasy world, primarily Avatar by James Cameron, is forced to work with an overly optimistic extrovert who is intent on understanding who the girl really is. Directed by Micah Seidel

All Grown Up (39 minutes) California A driven girl wants to leave the Midwest after failing to understand why her loved ones are content staying in their hometown their whole lives.

Room of Memories (2 minutes) Australia The story of heartbreak told from the memory center of the brain.

Siren (7 minutes) Netherlands short experimental dance film, utilizing contemporary dance to explore the nonbinary/trans experience. It is a short story of a curse.In every gaze met, the cursed sees the onlookers' most private secrets. The pupil transforms into a darkened well, burgeoning from the subconscious.

A Trace (5 minutes) California This student short film follows a young girl trying to shed her guilt about her absent father.

Goodbye John (4 minutes) United States Man attempts to save his relationship before the love of his life falls into the merciless arms of an arranged marriage.

Freewriting (5 minutes) United States A writer struggling with writer's block goes on a journey inside his mind to solve theissue.

Saturday, April 20th - 4:30 pm


Sound Check (10 minutes) California A comic processes the passing of his mother in the best way he knows how.

Doubles (16 minutes) California Kelsey and Mica are best friends and tennis doubles partners, but Kelsey starts to worry when Mica gets her first boyfriend

Movie Night (30 minutes) New Jersey When a group of college friends try to have a simple movie night, they must split up and search around campus for an HDMI cord, sparking conversations and tensions between them. Directed by Micah Seidel

Mountain Violet (14 minutes) Washington After the mysterious loss of a woman she loves, Violet escapes her city life to a remote cabin in the mountains. Guided by whispers from the past and the voice of a know-it-all motivational speaker, Violet is forced to confront all that was, accept all that is, and embrace whatever comes next.

Beyond Skin Deep (13 minutes) New Jersey A visit to Gina's intolerant mother in law triggers an argument between her and her husband Todd regarding her involvement with their biracial child.

Gilipollas (7 minutes) Spain Lolo and Dick meet again after a long time in a friendly bar and they catch up. To the surprise of both, feelings that they thought were forgotten arise again. Oh, and they a repuppets of male sex organs! Directed by Joan Bentallé, Pol Diggler

SaturdayApril 20th, 7:00pm

An Evening With Reshma Shetty

Come join us for a celebration of perseverance and determination
and the birth of a tradition as we honor actress
Reshma Shetty with the first ever “Groundbreaker” Award. 

A graduate of the famed opera department at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Ms. Shetty garnered the lead role of "Priya" in A.R. Rahman and Andrew Lloyd Webber's first Broadway National Tour of BOMBAY DREAMS. Her work on stage immediately parlayed into her next success as she burst into film and television, first as “Niala” in the independent film “Steam” starring Ruby Dee, Ally Sheey and Chelsea Handler, then quickly starring in USA's flagship series ROYAL PAINS as one of television's first female South Asian series leads. ROYAL PAINS aired for a staggering eight seasons and then she immediately starred as a series regular in CBS drama, PURE GENIUS. 

Throughout the evening we will cover Reshma’s storied career which includes guest starring on several of our favorite shows including, MADAM SECRETARY (CBS), CSI MIAMI (CBS), and 30 ROCK (NBC), her voice acting work on Netflix’s SHE-RA PRINCESS OF POWER and right up to her lead role in one of 2022’s most successful Hallmark Christmas Countdown movies, JOLLY GOOD CHRISTMAS.

Reshma will open up about the importance of representation in the media and discuss her dedication to public service as one of the first beautiful faces of Cindy Crawford's Meaningful Beauty line and Dove's face for India while at the same time working to combat prejudice and discrimination through Shanti Bhavan, Lend-A-Hand India, New York's New Abolitionists to name a few as well as Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a grassroots Indian organization, where Reshma spoke at the United Nations on empowering girls and women to prevent sex trafficking.

The audience will be encouraged to participate in a Q&A and in the end, Reshma will be awarded the “Groundbreaker Award” for her career on and off the screen. 

This intimate, honest and  engaging event is not to be missed. 

SundayApril 21st - 11:00am

 "Brunch in the Dark"

Wanderers of the Mind (6 minutes) New Jersey Explores the ideas and outreaches of the unconscious and its dance with the conscious mind. It's a fluid presentation of the past and present, death and rebirth, and purity and flaw- through two characters represented by a singular person. Directed by Kyle Alister Berdin

Laughing Again (10 minutes) California When a couple miscarries, they grieve in very different ways that begin to pull them apart but given time, space and some understanding of post-traumatic growth, along with a continuous supply of peanut butter-filled donuts, they find their way back to each other. Directed by Sarah Knapp

Bygones (14 minutes) Pennsylvania When his prejudiced older brother returns home for the first time in a year, Quinton must decide between pulling his older brother out of bigotry, or saving his younger brother's life. Directed by Trevor McVickar

The Closet (5 minutes) United Kingdom This animated gem begins when Quinn's wardrobe bursts open, filling his room with dazzling rainbow lights. He finds himself in a mysterious world where he must come to terms with his biggest secret.

Little Piratemaid (3 minutes) Massachusettes What it’s like to discover yourself as a trans person in a cis-normative world—even if that world is one of pirates and mermaids! Focuses on the moments of realization, the initial stages of transition, and the courage it takes for a little pirate girl to simply be herself.

Carry On (16 minutes) California After her best friend's suicide, young Pat learns how to accept her passing and carry her spirit on with her into the next chapter of her life through home-video documentary footage of their friendship before graduation day. Directed by Molly Ritter

Less Than 5 Hours (12 minutes) New Jersey The world is ending and everyone knows exactly when. Two strangers carrying complex histories meet in the final five hours. How will they spend their final moments on Earth? Directed by Katherine Miller ​

SundayApril 21st - 1:30pm

"The Documentary Block"

This Doc Is About None Of These Things (9 Minutes) Rutgers In combing through footage from the past three years of my life. This is the story of four failed documentaries and the one that succeeded.

Grounded in the Air (7 Minutes) New Jersey Circus artist Megan McCormick discusses how the trapeze helps to keep her grounded. ​Directed by Yasmine Swanson

Water in the Desert (14 Minutes) Montana A young archaeologist surveys Morocco’s ancient irrigation systems in order to uncover the secret to mitigating climate change: looking to the past. ​Directed by Andie Madsen

My Senior Summer (14 Minutes) California A transgender high school senior celebrates his summer before heading out of the country for college. Directed by Jhennifer Webberley

Bisexual: C’mon You Can Say It (6 Minutes) CA An exploration of what it means to be bisexual beyond lemon bars, puns, and finger guns. Three bisexual people of varying gender identities discuss bisexual culture and what being part of the B in LGBTQ means to them. Directed by Martin Rawlings-Fein

How To Disremember Winter (15 Minutes) Brazil Violeta uses her art to create new possibilities for seeing the world we live in. As a Brazilian immigrant, she seeks unusual ways to get warm through her queer community during the frosty European winter. Directed by Mari Moraga

Matchbox (7 Minutes) Brazil As one of the finalists in a beauty contest, Maria Eulina Vieira dos Santos, was awarded with her photo stamped on matchboxes. Part historical research, part imaginary, the film confronts the right of a white woman to compare her lack of autonomy with that of an enslaved body. Directed by Jennifer Cabral

Maasai Women (15 Minutes) California Can the indigenous tribes of the Massai on the Mara of Kenya survive a the new modern mindset of women breaking traditions. Directed by Julianne Reynolds

Kuinerraq (4 Minutes) Alaska A young seventh grader explores the heritage of his maternal grandma through thisglance at a Yu'pik village and his Native Alaskan roots.

Love Don’t Bully (10 Minutes) Wisconsin A teacher and her middle school students talk about, interview, act out and research bullying, both at school and as a society. ​Dr. Lisa Spencer & her Middle School Students

I Wish You Knew (6 Minutes) Rutgers This is a profoundly personal exploration born from the raw emotions surrounding an experience that too many individuals endure in silence – sexual assault. The director embarked on this project with the intention of transforming their own pain into a source of solace for others.

SundayApril 21st - 4pm

 "Going Out With A Bang Block"

Canopy (16 minutes) California When a young woman stumbles upon an unconscious vagabond in a mystical seaside canopy, she becomes trapped in a conversation on choices, both the wanderer's and her own. ​Directed by Jordan Carlson, Ryan Knapper

Nice To Meet You (5 minutes) Florida Two strangers form an unexpected connection that leads them on a journey of self-discovery and ultimately reshapes the course of their lives forever. Directed by Janay Lee

Faith (16 minutes) New York Set in a small New England town during the height of the witch hunt: a fearless and absent-minded teenage girl, Faith, is accused of being a witch. Faith now must overcome impossible odds to escape from Puritanical prosecution. Directed by Oliver Schaffer

Room of Memories (2 minutes) Australia The story of heartbreak told from the memory center of the brain. Directed by Suniva Maya Miller

Willow (6 minutes) Delaware Two sisters grapple with the changing nature of their relationship. Directed by Alyssa Rose Capitini

From The Dark (7 minutes) New York Laura, a quite shy and introverted thirteen year old teen, embarks on a dark journey to get free from her worst enemy: Her own self. Directed by Erika Sanz

Shafted (20 minutes) California Joel and Rafi are in what seems to be a standard romantic comedy. What do you do when you find yourself alone in an elevator with your gym crush? Directed by Emerson Collins, Del Shores

August (20 minutes) United States After the death of their father, four siblings discover the truth of the first love he never shared with them. Taking place in the present day and in the 1980s, two generations of queer youth are finally able to connect in love and mourning. Directed by Logan Thomason


6:30 PMClosing Awards Ceremony

What’s a film festival without some awards being handed out?

After all the films have been watched, the questions asked and the answers given, it’s time to honor the best of the best of the past weekend that was chock full of amazing performances and films. Join the Fencesitter Film Festival crew and the filmmakers in the basement of Bernards Inn as we give one last “huzzah” to the filmmakers before closing up until next year!

Bernardsville's Speakeasy

The Bernie

Cinema Seats

Come Join Us

April 18-21, 2024

​5 Mine Brook Rd | Bernardsville,NJ 07924

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