23rd Apr2014

First Time Fest: Second Time Around – Closing Night Awards

by Catherina Gioino


As was covered in our previous article about the event, the First Time Fest gives new filmmakers the opportunity to get their film established and distributed so that their efforts may be recognized for their future works. With the winner receiving full distribution of their film from Cinema Libre Studios as well as support on their future projects. All filmmakers received expert advice from filmmakers who had trouble getting their start and the special winners would also receive a trip to Scandinavia, because why not? The closing night ceremony was held at the 42West Nightclub in New York City and featured the filmmakers in the competition as well as Julie Taymor getting honored for her cinematic contributions.

Taymor received the John Huston Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema for her career ever since she started with Titus, a Shakespearean adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins in the lead role. She continued to prove to the audience how truly talented she was with her other films including Frida, Across the Universe, and The Tempest. The John Huston Award went to Darren Aronofsky last year for his works as well.

For its “beautiful love story, told with candor,” the grand prize went to Love Steaks in which the filmmakers would receive the distribution and trip to Scandinavia. In addition to winning the grand prize, first time editor Gesa Jäger won the First Time Fest Award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing for “lively, adventurous and precise” editing work. The film is about a hotel staff finding out about the personal life of one of their colleagues in a rather improvised and comedic way.

1982 won the First Time Fest Special Jury Prize for its “deeply evocative” way of filmmaking which writer and director Tommy Oliver was able to replicate. Based on a father who strives to keep his daughter off of drugs like his wife, the film went on to win the First Time Fest Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting for Hill Harper who played the title role of the father, as he had “an intimate and ultimately glorious performance.”

A documentary about two women boxers in a race for the world championship, Bittersweet took home the First Time Fest Award for Outstanding Achievement in Directing for director Marieke Niestadt’s amazing work in sharing to the audience “one woman’s experience in that brutal, challenging world” of boxing.

Farewell, Herr Schwarz took home the First Time Fest Award for Outstanding Achievement in Storytelling, which was a documentary written and directed by Yael Reuveny about a brother and sister duo who are separated after World War II and live similar lives although they live thousands of miles apart. The film received the award for its “evocative use of language in telling the story.”

Zachary Galler, the cinematographer of The Sleepwalker, won the First Time Fest Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography due to his “subtle, gorgeous visuals.” The Sleepwalker, a thriller about two sisters who come into drama with themselves and eachother’s boyfriends, continued on to win the First Time Fest Award for Outstanding achievement in Scoring. Sondre Lerche and Kato Åbland contributed to the film’s score for their “original approach to storytelling.”

All quotes were provided by the judges of the festival, which included actor Nicholas Haden-Guest, film critic Stephanie Zacharek, and reporter Anne-Katrin Titze. With the close of this year’s festival, we can only wait for next year’s to be even better…


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