21st Apr2014

Second Annual First Time Fest

by Catherina Gioino


The second installment of the First Time Fest, the Second Time Around, took place in New York City from April 3rd to April 7th where ten first time filmmakers were able to showcase their films and possibly be in competition to receive distribution of their films by Cinema Libre Studios. Since its debut in March of last year, the First Time Fest has grown to honor and embrace first time filmmakers for their efforts in trying to make their first work and trying to get recognized in an ever difficult field of art.

Johanna Bennett and Mandy Ward thought up of the idea for this type of film festival seven years ago when they realized that no other event had honored the first time filmmaker. Taking this idea in mind, they agreed to bring these newcomers to the field and give them advice as well as bring them closer to established filmmakers who could offer their own assistance and advice.

There were ten films from all over the world that made it to the film festival’s competition, ranging in riveting documentaries to hilarious romantic comedies and anything in between. They include:


Written, directed and produced by Tommy Oliver, the film stars Hill Harper, Sharon Leal and Troi Zee in a thrilling drama about a Philadelphia father trying to protect his daughter from drugs just as her mother- and his wife- fell to. United States, 89 minutes.


Directed and produced by Marieke Niestadt and starring Diana Prazak and Lucia Rijker, this documentary follows Australian female boxer Prazak in a fight against the world champion, Frida Wallberg, and how Prazak overcomes obstacles through the help of her trainer Rijker. Netherlands, 70 minutes.

Butter On The Latch:

Written, directed and edited by Josephine Decker, the film, starring Sarah Small, Isold Chae-Lawrence and Charlie Hewson, is about an from Brooklyn, together with her friend, who travel to California to enjoy themselves all while to get over their differences. United States, 78 minutes.

Class Enemy (Razredni Sovraznik):

Written by Nejc Gazvoda, Janez Lapajne and Rok Bicek (who also directed it), is a film about high school students who stage a mutiny against one of their professors after one of their friends commits suicide. Slovenia, 112 minutes.

Fall To Rise:

Written and Directed by Jayce Bartok and starring Katherine Crockett and Daphne Rubin-Vega, this film follows a ballerina who must learn to live on with her life after a terrible injury causes her to quit dancing forever. United States, 100 minutes.

Farewell, Herr Schwarz (Schnee Von Gersten):

Yael Reuveny wrote and directed this documentary about a brother and sister duo who live similar lives even though they live in different parts of the world and believe the other is dead after separating after World War II. Germany/Israel, 97 minutes.

Getting To The Nutcracker:

This 98 minute American film was written and directed by Serene Meshel-Dillman which is a documentary that follows the various versions of the Nutcracker play in the Los Angeles School of Ballet where students are taught through a rigorous program how to perform the play.

Love Steaks:

Directed by Jakab Lass and edited by first time editor Gesa Jäger, this film is an completely improvised film that revolves around a chef having a personal life and trying to get her colleagues away from knowing her business. Germany, 89 minutes.

Miss Julie:

Written and directed by Mikael Berg, this film brings about the 1920s in a girl whose engagement was just called off and she finds a new love in her servant. Sweden, 85 minutes.

The Sleepwalker:

Written and directed by Mona Fastvold, this film stars Gitte Witt, Christopher Abbott and Brady Corbet in a growing drama between two sisters and their boyfriends. Norway/United States, 92 minutes.

As well as having this international film competition, the festival will feature talks with filmmakers like Michael Moore or Peter Bogdanovich in its “How They Did It” talk series. It will show the first films of well known filmmakers as well, such as David Lynch’s Eraserhead or Julie Taymor’s Titus. And speaking of Taymor, she is the First Time Fest’s second recipient of the John Huston Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. You can check out the First Time Fest at its website as well as see a video about what it’s all about below:

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