One of my favorite film festivals — New York City’s First Time Fest — is returning for its fourth edition this upcoming weekend. What sets First Time Fest apart from a typical film festival is that it celebrates rookie filmmakers and has given many of them their first exposure to audiences. Movie Buzzers has covered First Time Fest since its first edition, and every year co-founders Johanna Bennett and Mandy Ward and programming director David Schwartz put together a incredible slate of films and programming.
This year First Time Fest will debut several films in the First Exposure series, including the opening night film Chelsea Walls , the directorial debut of Ethan Hawke. Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ed Lachman (Carol, Far From Heaven) will be presented with the festival’s Indie Vision Award, and will award the “Ed Lachman Award” to cinematographers (Lachman’s first film as a cinematographer was the classic The Lords of Flatbush). The festival will also feature a panel discussing how women filmmakers can find funding for their projects that will be hosted by Leah Meyerhoff, who directed last year’s First Time Fest film I Believe in Unicorns.
This year’s festival sponsors are The Lazar, Sailor Jerry, Bulldog Gin and SCAD and all events will be held at The Roxy (2 Avenue of the Americas, NYC). Read about the full festival lineup below:
First Time Fest (FTF) co-founders Johanna Bennett and Mandy Ward and programming director David Schwartz announced today their 2016 lineup. Ed Lachman will be the festival’s 2016 Indie Vision Award honoree, and his tribute will feature a screening of his latest Oscar® nominated film “Carol.” Starting with next year’s festival and in the years to come, First Time Fest will award a cinematographer with The Lachman Award in recognition for their work. The festival will showcase First Exposure events with Ethan Hawke presenting “Chelsea Walls,” as Opening Night, Stacy Cochran presenting “My New Gun,” Rose Troche presenting “Go Fish” and Ira Sachs presenting the 20th anniversary of “The Delta” as Closing Night. First Time Fest 2016 will be headquartered at The Roxy Hotel in New York City, a festival partner, from March 3rd through the 6th.
One of the festival’s most notable alumni, Leah Meyerhoff (“I Believe in Unicorns”), will host a Film Fatales “Women in Entertainment” panel featuring: Morgan White (Producer / Executive Producer), Rose Ganguzza (Executive Producer/Producer), Frida Torresblanco (Braven Films, Executive Producer / Producer) and L.A Teodosio (Creative Producer / Executive Producer / Investor).
The fourth annual festival will feature three new films: Sasha Gordon’s “It Had To Be You,” Dan Simon’s “Lonely Boys” and Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli’s “Frame by Frame.”
This year’s “From Rock To Score” event will feature Grammy® winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist Nile Rodgers discussing the medium of composing music for soundtracks. This “master class” will be an education and inspiration for both musicians and fans of film and music.
“We are thrilled that such exciting established and emerging filmmakers plan to join us to discuss their ‘first times!’” said co-founders Bennett and Ward. “Our New Filmmakers’ Showcase section promises to bring us the filmmakers of tomorrow—we can’t wait for everyone to see what these exciting new filmmakers have to offer.”
“First Time Fest has always been a strong supporter of emerging filmmakers, particularly women directors, and I look forward to celebrating and amplifying their voices,” says Leah Meyerhoff, founder of Film Fatales and 2015 festival filmmaker.
The Lazar, Sailor Jerry, Bulldog Gin and SCAD Alumni have signed on as 2016 sponsors of First Time Fest.
FIRST TIME FEST – 2016 SCHEDULE
All events taking place at The Roxy Hotel
2 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013
THURSDAY, MARCH 3
6:30 PM – INDIE VISION AWARD: ED LACHMAN CONVERSATION & SCREENING OF ‘CAROL’
Cinematographer Ed Lachman received his second Academy Award® nomination this year, for his breathtakingly beautiful work on Todd Haynes’ acclaimed film Carol. During his remarkable career, Lachman has captured images for the world’s greatest directors, including Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Paul Schrader, Susan Seidelman, Sofia Coppola, Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, and Todd Solondz. For this special tribute evening, Lachman will present his own personal 35mm print of Carol, show a highlight reel from his finest films, and discuss his career in a conversation with First Time Fest program director David Schwartz.
In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel The Price of Salt, CAROL follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of the first encounter dims and their connection deepens. While Carol breaks free from the confines of marriage, her husband (Kyle Chandler) begins to question her competence as a mother as her involvement with Therese and close relationship with her best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) comes to light. CAROL is directed by Todd Haynes and written by Phyllis Nagy with moving performances from Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy and Cory Michael Smith.
- 188 mins. Directed by Todd Haynes. Written by Phyllis Nagy. Cinematography by Ed Lachman. Produced byElizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley & Christine Vachon. With: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy and Cory Michael Smith.
Specialty Cocktails by: BULLDOG GIN
FRIDAY, MARCH 4
7:00 PM – FIRST EXPOSURE: ETHAN HAWKE PRESENTS ‘CHELSEA WALLS’
Ethan Hawke’s directorial debut pays loving homage to the beatnik spirit of the Chelsea Hotel, home to countless writers, artists, and wayward bohemians. Kaleidoscopic and rambling in style, it as at once laid-back and artistically ambitious, as it follows more than thirty characters while achieving a poetic and lyrical style. Q&A to follow with Ethan Hawke.
2001, 109 mins. Directed by Ethan Hawke. Written by Nicole Burdette. Produced by Alexis Alexanian, Christine Vachon, Gary Winick. With: Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Kris Kristofferson, Natasha Richardson.
9:30 PM – After Party to follow at the Roxy Bar
Presented By First Time Fest and Scad’s Office Of Career And Alumni Success
Specialty Cocktails by: SAILOR JERRY
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM – FILM FATALES / WOMEN IN ENTERTAINMENT EVENT ‘FOLLOW THE MONEY’ PANEL
As recent studies have shown, women face a “fiscal cliff” as they transition from directing short films to features and beyond. What are some of the hurdles that female filmmakers face in securing financing for their projects and what can they do about it? Join these successful independent directors and producers in a discussion about the paths they followed to get their films made and seen.
Panelists: L.A Teodosio (Creative Producer / Executive Producer / Investor), Rose Ganguzza (Producer/Executive Producer), Frida Torresblanco (Producer/Executive Producer), Morgan White (Producer / Executive Producer) and Leah Meyerhoff (Director/Producer / Founder Film Fatales).
Sponsored by THE LAZAR
Specialty Cocktails by: BULLDOG GIN
1:00 PM – FIRST EXPOSURE: STACY COCHRAN PRESENTS ‘MY NEW GUN’
In Stacy Cochran’s impressive directorial debut, the lives of a suburban couple are upended when the husband buys a gun for his wife as a gift. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, odd revelations of character, and a unique comic sensibility, the film contains one of Diane Lane’s most compelling performances, and features impressive cinematography by Ed Lachman. Q&A to follow with Stacy Cochran.
1992, 99 mins. Written and directed by Stacy Cochran. Produced by Michael Flynn. Photographed by Ed Lachman. With: Diane Lane, James Le Gros, Stephen Collins, Tess Harper, Philip Seymour Hoffman.
3:30 PM – NEW FILMMAKER SHOWCASE: SASHA GORDON’S ‘IT HAD TO BE YOU’
The main character In composer Sasha Gordon’s thoroughly delightful directorial debut is Sonia, a neurotic jingle writer who is taken aback by the sudden marriage proposal from her easy-going boyfriend. Sonia suddenly has to choose between joining the ranks of her married friends or pursuing her fantasies. “I wanted to portray a relationship in all its flawed everyday beauty,” wrote Gordon, and I wanted to do so through my particular female lens.” Q&A to follow with Sasha Gordon.
2015, 82 mins. Written and directed by Sasha Gordon. Produced by Rachel Brenna. With Cristin Miliotti, Dan Soder, Haley Feiffer, Mark Gessner, Kyle Mooney, Kate Simses, Erica Sweany, Nick Mennell, Danny DeFerrari.
6:00 PM – NEW FILMMAKER SHOWCASE: DAN SIMON’S ‘LONELY BOYS’
Following a break-up, struggling writer Jules (Dan Simon) crashes with his recently separated best friend Saul (Greg Lay) at his apartment in NYC. While Saul wants to drink heavily and lament over his impending divorce, Jules just wants to relax and finish his latest play. After Saul is fired from his job as a restaurant manager, and Jules loses an Off-Broadway production of his play, the two embark on a weekend bender through Brooklyn, Manhattan and Connecticut desperately trying to hold onto their sanity and each other. Q&A to follow with Dan Simon (writer/director/producer/lead actor), Patrick Davin (writer/producer) and Gregory Lay (story/producer/lead actor).
2016, 90 mins. Directed by Dan Simon. Written by Simon and Patrick Davin. With Gregory Lay, Dan Simon.
SUNDAY, MARCH 6
1:00 PM – NEW FILMMAKER SHOWCASE: ALEXANDRIA BOMBACH & MO SCARPELLI’S ‘FRAME BY FRAME’
When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photo was a crime. After the regime fell from power in 2001, a free press haltingly emerged, and a photography revolution was born. Set in a modern Afghanistan bursting with color and character, the compelling and visually astonishing documentary Frame by Frame follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape, reframing Afghanistan for the world, and for themselves. Through cinema vérité, intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism, and never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime, the film connects audiences with the lives and work of four bold photographers.
2015, 85 mins. Directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli. Produced by Bombach, Scarpelli, and Jeff Orlowski. Featuring photographers Farzana Wahidy, Massoud Hossaini, Najibullah Musafar, and Wakhil Kohsar.
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – FROM ROCK TO SCORE WITH NILE ROGERS
FROM ROCK TO SCORE is a discussion of how Rock Stars became film composers and how their processes differs in each medium. What does it take to make leap from pop / rock success to the world of film scoring? Prominent musicians talk about the different challenges of scoring film, Broadway Musicals, TV shows, Commercials and Video Games. The response from the music industry has been incredible. Guest speakers have included Slash, Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), Questlove (The Roots), and Wayne Kramer (MC5).
Specialty Cocktails by: SAILOR JERRY
4:30 PM – FIRST EXPOSURE: ROSE TROCHE PRESENTS ‘GO FISH’
Rose Troche’s whimsical and naturalistic movie about an extended circle of college-age lesbians, was a breakthrough in 1990s Queer cinema, bringing a truly underground sensibility to its subject and anticipating the microbudget cinema of the digital era. The film was made lovingly over two years, with filming (in grainy black-and-white stock) taking place on weekends. Q&A to follow with Rose Troche.
1994, 83 mins. Directed by Rose Troche. Written and produced by Troche and Guinevere Turner. With: V.S. Brodie, Guinevere Turner.
7:00 PM – FIRST EXPOSURE: IRA SACHS PRESENTS THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF ‘THE DELTA’
Filmmaker Ira Sachs, whose new film Little Men was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, made a memorable debut twenty years ago with The Delta. Deep in Memphis, an unlikely romance emerges between an affluent white teenager and the immigrant son of a poor Vietnamese woman and black G.I. Exploring the boundaries between race, class, and sexuality, Sachs’ much-lauded film follows these men as they try to pursue their love in the confines of a small-city mindset. With its moody, impressionistic photography and naturalistic performances, The Delta is a deeply affecting film about romantic longing and social constrictions. Q&A to follow with Ira Sachs.
9:30 PM – After Party to follow at the Roxy Bar
Specialty Cocktails by: SAILOR JERRY
ABOUT FIRST TIME FEST
First Time Fest 2016 is a 4-day showcase of original inspiring works by First Time Directors, Producers, Cinematographers, Editors, Screenwriters and Film Composers. Featuring a New Filmmakers’ Showcase, a First Exposure series of already prominent directors’ first works and number of groundbreaking panels all in an intimate setting, First Time Fest is truly a filmmaker’s festival.
ABOUT SAILOR JERRY
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is the authentic, premium, old-school spiced rum. Just like the man who inspired it, this rum speaks for itself and holds fast to the traditional values and standards of craftsmanship that “Sailor Jerry” espoused-supporting those creative individuals who feel just as strongly about their respective crafts. Made from aged Caribbean Rum and blended with spices including ginger, cinnamon, clove, and vanilla Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is strong, smooth and bold as hell at 92 proof.
ABOUT BULLDOG GIN
BULLDOG Gin is a super-premium gin handcrafted in England. It is infused with the most exotic melange of all natural botanicals ever assembled in a gin – 12 botanicals from 8 countries – including lavender, lotus leaves, dragon eye (cousin of the lychee fruit) and organically farmed Italian juniper.
Using the purest British wheat and water sources, BULLDOG is quadruple distilled at a distillery that has 250 years of experience. With its balanced flavour and crisp character, it is incredibly versatile, making it ideal for mixed cocktails and sipping straight. BULLDOG has been rated “SUPERB (90-95)” by Paul Pacult, Wine Enthusiast Magazine and a “Top 50 Spirit.”
BULLDOG. London Dry Gin. 40% alc/vol. Distilled from 100% Grain Neutral Spirit. Imported by Campari America, San Francisco, CA
ABOUT SCAD: The University for Creative Careers
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution offering more than 100 academic degree programs in 42 majors across its locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Hong Kong; Lacoste, France; and online via SCAD eLearning. SCAD enrolls more than 12,500 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 100 countries. The innovative SCAD curriculum is enhanced by advanced professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources, as well as opportunities for internships, professional certifications and collaborative projects with corporate partners.
In 2015, the prestigious Red Dot Design Rankings placed SCAD in the top four universities in the Americas and Europe. Career preparation is woven into every fiber of the university, resulting in a superior alumni placement rate. In a survey of Spring 2014 SCAD graduates, 97 percent of respondents reported being employed, pursuing further education or both within 10 months of graduation.