First Time Fest (FTF) - a celebration of first time filmmakers - is a new and unique film festival taking place in New York City from March 1 through 4, 2013. Just as Stanley Kubrick had KILLER'S KISS, Darren Aronofsky PI, and John Huston THE MALTESE FALCON as their first works (all of which will be screened during the festival), First Time Fest is set to discover and present the next generation of great cinema artists. The core of the festival is an exciting lineup of twelve international films - from Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Chile, Israel, Mongolia, and the United States, all debut films by promising and provocative directors.
Representing a hybrid between a traditional film festival and a highly motivated audience participation event, FTF will present a dozen Competition Films, which will be judged by a panel of industry luminaries and the FTF audience. All competition screenings will be followed "hot-seat" discussions between the jury and filmmakers, and all audience members will vote on the films as well. Together, the jury and audience will ultimately select a Grand Prize winner, who will be offered theatrical distribution for their film and full international sales representation from the renowned American film distributor, Cinema Libre Studio. It will truly be a contest of the best emerging filmmakers competing for the Ultimate Audience Award.
First Time Fest is a four-day, multi-faceted event hosted in New York City's Gramercy Park by the celebrated Players (16 Gramercy Park South), the club founded by Edwin Booth, Mark Twain and John Singer Sargent, the oldest and most exclusive arts organization of its kind whose membership includes the greatest stars of stage and screen. Each of First Time Fest's twelve finalists will receive high-level industry mentorship and a one-year membership to The Players. The Players will be the location for all FTF panels and events as well as the Filmmaker and VIP Lounge. First Time Fest's screenings will be held at the Loews Village VII on Third Avenue (on 11th St. & 3rd Ave).
JohAnna Bennett (daughter of Tony Bennett) and producer/documentarian MAndy Ward, co-founders of First Time Fest, said, "Along with The Players, we are thrilled to be inaugurating First Time Fest and finding and presenting the most exciting new filmmakers from around the globe. We hope to be seeing much more of their work in the years to come. It is a thrill to be present at the beginning of a career, and we expect to follow and support these filmmakers as they flourish and soar."
In addition to the Competition Films, First Time Fest will present First Exposure, a series of first films from now prominent filmmakers. Included among them are PI (Darren Aronofsky's [attending] first film), THE MALTESE FALCON (John Huston's debut), POISON (Todd Haynes' first film which was produced by then first-time feature producer Christine Vachon [attending]), JACK GOES BOATING (Philip Seymour Hoffman's [attending along with actress Amy Ryan] premier effort), THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH (Hal Hartley's [attending] debut), TRUE LOVE (Nancy Savoca's [attending] debut) and KILLER'S KISS (Stanley Kubrick's first [with star Chris Chase attending]).
First Exposure will also include a 60th Anniversary Tribute to Morris Engel's THE LITTLE FUGITIVE, a cinema vérité classic from 1953 that was shot on Coney Island and has inspired countless filmmakers, from Jean-Luc Godard to the Coen brothers. The tribute will be moderated by renowned film historian Foster Hirsch and will include Morris Engel's daughter, Mary Engel (Ruth Orkin: Frames Of Life).
First Time Fest will also include a series of panels called "How They Did It," in which a diverse group of award-winning filmmakers will moderate filmmaking case studies and spotlight some of the most successful and accomplished masters of the industry. Panels will include: Switch Hitters: Actors, Producers, Writers & Others Who Direct; Sell, Baby, Sell: Marketing Independent Films; From Rock To Score: Contemporary Musicians Who Become Film Composers; Across The Border: International Filmmakers Come to America; and A Critical Eye: Critics and their Role in Discovering New Filmmakers. There will also be several "Stand Alone! -Conversations with the Outstanding," one-on-one interviews with notable cinema artists. Participants in these programs will be announced shortly.