There’s something special about the first time. Filled with energy, passion, ambition, and experimentation, first films inspire the excitement of discovery, for both the filmmakers and the audience. First Time Fest is a celebration of the first time film, offering four full days of screenings of great fllms by new and established filmmakers—personal appearances, industry panels, parties, and more. Screenings take place at the spacious and comfortable Loews Village 7 movie theater, and panels and parties are hosted by one of the city’s most historic and exclusive location, The Players Club, in a historic townhouse facing Gramercy Park.

 It is an unforgettable audience experience. Not only will you rub elbows with prominent directors, actors, producers, craftspeople and more, the audience has a vital role in one of the Festival’s unique elements. A slate of twelve new films from around the world are competing for a very special grand prize—guaranteed theatrical distribution. Alongside the prestigious panel of jurors, audience members will participate in voting and collectively serve as the “fifth judge.” You will literally be helping decide which film will get the all-important break of opening in theaters in the U.S. market.

The Festival consists of five sections:

  • the COMPETITITON, with an eclectic selection of fiction films and documentaries from nine countries—Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Belarus, Chile, Egypt, Israel, Mongolia, and the United States.
  • FIRST EXPOSURE, a selection of debut films by prominent directors including Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Sofia Coppola, Hal Hartley, Todd Haynes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Huston, Barbara Kopple, Nancy Savoca, Todd Solondz, and Melvin Van Peebles (many with personal appearances by the directors).
  • SPECIAL SCREENINGS, with a 60th Anniversary Screening of the first truly independent New York film, The Little Fugitive; the action-packed new Mexican thriller Dias de Gracia; and Can’t Stand Losing You, the candid new music documentary about Andy Summer and The Police.
  • HOW THEY DID IT, a series of panel discussions with industry insiders talking about not just how to make movies, but everything from raising money to packaging and selling your project.
  • STANDALONE: CONVERSATIONS WITH THE OUTSTANDING, a series of intimate and in-depth conversations with great performers and filmmakers. 

Director Sofia Coppola (center) and cinematographer Ed Lachman (left) discuss their filmmaking choices after a First Exposure screening of Sofia's "The Virgin Suicides". The event was moderated by FTF Director of Programming, David Schwartz (right).

Director Sofia Coppola (center) and cinematographer Ed Lachman (left) discuss their filmmaking choices after a First Exposure screening of Sofia's "The Virgin Suicides". The event was moderated by FTF Director of Programming, David Schwartz (right).