13th Mar2015

2015 First Time Fest – Award Winners

by Catherina Gioino


The third annual First Time Fest took place in New York City this past weekend; a film festival that celebrates first time filmmakers, whether they are first time directors, writers, cinematographers, editors, composers and producers. The festival holds a competition for filmmakers all over the world to submit their film and win theatrical distribution as well as international sales. The festival is also the only festival to boast that sixteen of its eighteen competition films have garnered theatrical distribution in an international audience, something no other festival can claim. With such a great track record, it’s no doubt that these films are sure to exceed expectations and are worthy of viewing. Here are the films and what awards they won.

The Intruder (Infiltrant) is a film from Holland directed by Shariff Korver and written by him as well as Rogier de Blok. The film follows a Dutch-Moroccan undercover police officer who becomes part of a Moroccan drug family. As he becomes closer to the family, he faces a dilemma of doing his job or becoming part of the family.

Outstanding Acheivement in Directing: Shariff Korver

The Mind of Mark DeFriest is written and directed by Gabriel London, which is about a magician who was sent to prison by a psychiatrist who declared that the magician was faking an illness. The psychiatrist later talks to him thirty years later and DeFriest has hopes of getting released.

Void (Waynon) was written by Georges Khabbaz and scored by Cedric Kayem. It follows six Lebanese women who await their husbands, lovers, and sons returning from the Civil War, all taking place the night before the Beirut Parliament Square sit in.

Outstanding Achievement in Scoring: Cedric Kayem

One Eyed Girl was directed by Nick Matthews and produced by David Ngo, which is about a young psychiatrist named Travis who is haunted by a former patient of his who died. He meets a girl named Grace who brings him to a cult where he tries to appeal for redemption.

I Believe in Unicorns is directed and written by Leah Meyerhoff and was photographed by Jarin Blaschke. The film depicts a teenage girl who starts a relationship with an older boy and must take care of her disabled mother, all that while staying creative.

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Jarin Blaschke

Other Madnesses was directed by Jeremy Carr and stars James Moles as the lead, Ed Zimmer, New York City tour guide. Zimmer suffers recurring nightmares which turns in violent actions, and they could prevent him from following through on a relationship he just started with a Russian tourist. Remarkably, the film was still completed even after it suffered a terrible loss during Hurricane Sandy.

Outstanding Achievement in Acting: James Moles

Come Simi, directed by Jenica Bergere, is about a pregnant woman to reconnect with her aging mother riddled with Alzheimer’s, her aging porn star sister, her insane aunt, and more, all before the pregnancy.

Beneath the Olive Tree is a Greek Civil War centered film the true stories of women sent to the largest concentration camp during the war on Trikeri Island. Seven notebooks were found hidden under an olive tree and their stories of survival and suffering are shown in this film, which was directed by Stavroula Toska and edited by Lauren Beckett Jackson.

Outstanding Achievement in Editing: Lauren Beckett Jackson

The festival concluded with the awards ceremony and a tribute to Harvey Weinstein for his support of first time filmmakers. Check out our next article on his interview where he talks being a first time filmmaker and a massively well-known producer.


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