Thursday, July 4, 2019

'Just Be You Festival' in Newark August 30, 2019

A film festival completely dedicated to the youth, about the youth, and for the youth, returns for it’s second season. The 2nd Annual Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival (Just Be You Festival for short) will take place on Friday, August 30, 2019, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Rutger’s University Paul Robeson Campus Center Dance Theater – 350 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102. The festival will feature film screenings of short-films by kid and teen filmmakers from all over the world, with a special spotlight on New Jersey youth filmmakers.
Created and produced by, award-winning actress, Mahogany Reynolds, the festival is a continuation of her organization’s mission to be what she calls “champions for children”. Just Be You Performing Arts; a New Jersey based mentoring and enrichment organization was founded in 2013, and the festival is part of their ongoing initiative to give a platform and a voice to young aspiring performing and visual artists.
“We are proud to kick off festival season in New Jersey. We received film submissions from numerous children. Places such as Mexico, Australia, England, India, Germany, and all across the United States. To see the depth and breath of talent these young people have is uplifting. They are the energy that fuels this festival,” said Reynolds, a native of Detroit, Michigan and a former teacher.
Festival Highlights
For the inaugural festival in 2018, the VIP Guest of Honor, was Dupre "DoItAll" Kelly, a legendary performing artists from Newark, New Jersey, a community activist, and a member of the platinum selling hip-hop recording group, "Lords of the Underground". Kelly also served as the festival’s key sponsor in 2018 and gave a powerful motivational speech at the festival. Kelly will be returning for 2019 in the same capacity and will be honored at the festival with a special award. Kelly is a well-respected leader in the Newark, New Jersey community, with several programs under his non-profit, 211 Community Impact, that is dedicated to building up the youth in Newark.
Adora Danae, an emerging artists from Maplewood, New Jersey, will be this year’s festival Special Guest Performer. As a graduate of Just Be You Performing Arts she has performed in numerous productions and talent showcases throughout New Jersey. All while maintaining excellent grades in school and being a strong player on her high school basketball team. Reynolds believes that she is a very positive role-model and invited her to also serve as the festival’s teen co-host.
“When children see other children pursuing their dreams; as well as, focusing on their education, it serves as a tangible role-model and a great source of inspiration. Our festival is unique in that we have other kids mentoring other kids. It teaches them to value their peer relationships. More importantly, it fosters a spirit of unity, which is important; even in an industry that is competitive in nature,” said Reynolds.
Festival’s Mission & Purpose
The 2nd Annual 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. Audience members won't just sit and watch, they will engage and participate. The festival will give audience members opportunities to get involved during the event with a variety of fun activities. The festival takes place completely at one location to make things easy for parents. For the 2019 season; the festival will be broken into four separate segments; and will conclude with an entertaining awards ceremony. Tickets can be purchase for each separate segment or an all-access VIP pass.
The film submission season began in December 2018 and closed in March 2019. The submission process was nation wide and world wide, but with a special encouragement for filmmakers in New Jersey. Female filmmakers and African-American filmmakers were especially encouraged to submit.
There was no submission fee for youth filmmakers (age 5 to 17 year's-old) to submit a body of work to the festival. This season, they added a new awards category, "Best New Jersey Filmmaker".
“We are based in Jersey and wanted to acknowledge the amazing talent in this state. We accepted submissions from filmmakers as young as 5 year's old, because even a kindergartner deserves a voice, and has something profound to say,” said Reynolds.
Tickets & Details
Student discounts are available for school-age children through college student.  Seniors also receive a discount, for adults age 65 and older. Children under the age of 4 year’s old are free. For prices and to purchase tickets visit their website: 
For regular updates on the Just Be You Performing Arts Youth Film Festival follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There you will find behind-the-scenes video clips and event photographs. Plus, learn of exclusive giveaways and promotions.
They are seeking sponsors for the festival. Key sponsors receive a complimentary vendor table to showcase their products or services. Sponsor donations help to provide resources to the youth who participate in the festival by way of the Just Be You Performing Arts Scholarship Fund. To register and for more details about becoming a sponsor contact them via email at:

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