Darren Aronofsky – Pi

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. FTF is set to discover and present the next generation of great cinema artists.

Martin Scorsese will add his illustrious presence and belief in that art of cinema at The Players to present the first John Huston Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. The inaugural Award will be bestowed on an individual who has made a significant contribution to the art of cinema: Darren Aronofsky. First Time Fest is dedicated to discovering talented new filmmakers who will go on to fulfill the promise of their extraordinary debut films. John Huston was one of the most prolific and versatile directors in the history of cinema. And with his mesmerizing debut film, Pi – made independently on black-and-white 16mm film – Darren Aronofsky was instantly recognized as a uniquely gifted new talent. His subsequent films: Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan, have more than fulfilled that promise.

Christine Vachon, Gay Talese and the B-52s Fred Schneider have joined the fest as three of its five jurors (the entire live audience at each of the 12 competition films will be the 5th juror).  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. In addition to the Competition Films, FTF will present First Exposure, a series of first films from now prominent filmmakers.   Joining the line-up – and attending the fest – are our exciting Opening Night presentation of Sofia Coppola with The Virgin Suicides, Todd Solondz with Welcome to the Dollhouse, Wes Anderson’s (who will not be able to attend) Bottle Rocket, Barbara Kopple with Harlan County, USA, and Melvin Van Peebles with The Story of a Three-Day Pass.  Previously announced First Exposure titles and attending filmmakers are PI (Darren Aronofsky), The Maltese Falcon (film will be introduced by William Luhr, author of “The Maltese Falcon: John Huston, director”), Poison (Todd Haynes’ – who will not be able to attend – first film; produced by then first-time feature producer Christine Vachon, who can), Jack Goes Boating (Philip Seymour Hoffman, attending with actress Amy Ryan), The Unbelievable Truth (Hal Hartley), True Love (Nancy Savoca) and Killer’s Kiss (Stanley Kubrick’s first).

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 include a panel hosted by film historian Foster Hirsch and Mary Engel, daughter of Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin). In addition there will be a Special Presentation of Everardo Gout’s thrillingly over-the-top action thriller DAYS OF GRACE (DĺAS DE GRACIA), which won the Mexican Academy of Film’s prestigious Ariel Award for Best First Feature and was nominated for the Camera d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

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 (Emily Russo, Scott Feinstein, Peter Saraf, Monica Brady); From Rock To Score: Contemporary Musicians Who Become Film Composers (John Forte); Show Me the Money (Steven Beer, Duncan Cork); Across The Border: International Filmmakers Come to America; Women and Diversity in Film (Jenny Lumet, Frida Torresblanco); and A Critical Eye: Critics and their Role in Discovering New Filmmakers (Scott Foundas, John Anderson, Eric Kohn, Dana Stevens, Josh Rothkopf). There will also be several “Stand Alone! – Conversations with the Outstanding,” one-on-one interviews with notable cinema artists. Additional participants in these programs will be announced shortly.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).

Posted By: Francesca McCaffery

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