This past weekend, March 1st to 4th, marked the first ever First Time Fest at The Player’s Club in New York City. The festival is a celebration of the films from first time filmmakers, which also features a competition in which 12 aspiring filmmakers get to debut their first film. These 12 filmmakers have competed for their chance to receive major distribution of their film and all competitors will receive advice from those in the industry.
The festival is to help those aspiring filmmakers in the industry obtain important information in making their films successful. There are twelve competition films that come from all over the world to compete against this wonderful grand prize of not only distribution by Sponsor Cinema Libre Studio, but knowledge–knowledge of how to make films and how people got their start.
The festival itself includes films from these 12 competition films as well as the first films of accomplished filmmakers, including John Huston, Stanley Kubrick and Darren Aronofsky. The festival also included various panels in a series called How They Did It, which looks at how accomplished filmmakers got their start and how they can help the new incoming generation of filmmakers become successful.
The 12 films in competition had to be feature length and be made from first time directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, editors or composers, and the winner will receive distribution in one or more major cities (like New York City or Los Angeles) as well as have a DVD release and international sales. The moderators of the films were 5 judges, which included Fred Schneider, Gay Talese and Christine Vachon. The fifth judge includes you–the audience of the film, making this the only festival worldwide with this concept.
The competition films included: Blumenthal (writer/director Seth Fisher), Headfirst (writer/director Amélie van Elmbt), Horizon Sky (writer/director Andrei Kureichyk, co-director Dzmitry Marynin), I Love You All (writer/director Luciano Quilici), Junction (writer/director Tony Glazer), Mongolian Bling (director Benj Binks), Sal (writer/director Diego Rougier), Submerge (writer/director Sophie O’Connor, co-writer Kat Holmes), Summertime (writer/director Max Weissberg) Uprising (director Fredrik Stanton), Urban Tale (writer/director Eliav Lilti), and lastly, Zipper (director Amy Nicholson).
These films vary from documentaries to fictional works and come from all over the world, from Australia to New York City. The festival also featured the works of various filmmakers that are synonymous with the successful filmmakers of today, and the works include the first films of Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket), Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, U.S.A.) Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Jack Goes Boating), John Huston (The Maltese Falcon), Darren Aronofsky (Pi), Christine Vachon (Poison), Melvin Van Peebles (The Story of a Three-Day Pass), Nancy Savoca (True Love), Hal Hartley (The Unbeliveable Truth), Sophia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides), and lastly, Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse).
The idea for the festival came from Mandy Ward and Johanna Bennett (yes, she is Tony Bennett’s daughter) three years ago as they figured there was no festival honoring the first works of aspiring filmmakers. They partnered with Cinema Libre to give the winner distribution, as well as The Players Club on Gramercy Park in New York City to give the filmmakers a chance to get their film seen and appreciated, and possibly reach the success of the filmmakers above.
There will be more articles to come, so for the time being, watch this short clip of what the First Time Fest is about.