Over 120 Films Competing for $50,000 in Cash Awards; Public Screenings at the Cantor Film Center; Wasserman Awards & Screening, April 4
The Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has announced the 69th annual First Run Film Festival will take place over two consecutive weeks, Wednesdays through Sundays, beginning Mar. 23 and Mar. 31. Expanding the length of the First Run allows Festival organizers to devote one week each for screening the undergraduate submissions followed the next by the graduate submissions. The Festival premieres the work of some of the country’s top student filmmakers, and is the oldest continuous film festival in New York.
This year’s annual spring showcase will feature 128 advanced films, videos, multimedia, and animation projects by both graduate and undergraduate students. First Run films and videos compete for over $50,000 in cash awards presented by the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation.
This year, First Run Craft Award winners will be announced at the daily screenings; each screening is themed according to genre and class level. The King finalists will be announced at the end of the First Run at an awards ceremony and screening.
Screenings are open to the public and will take place at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Film Center, located at 36 E. 8th Street in Manhattan. Screenings for undergraduate films are: March 24-25: 6, 8, & 10 p.m.; March 26-27: 4, 6, 8, & 10 p.m. Screenings for graduate films are: March 31-April 1: 6, 8, & 10 p.m.; April 2-3: 4, 6, 8, & 10 p.m. Admission is $5; students with ID, $3. No tickets will be sold in advance. For more detailed information, call 212.998.1795; or visit www.firstrunfestival.com.
The two weeks of screenings will culminate in the Wasserman Awards Ceremony featuring the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation Awards and screening of the winning films. The screening will take place at the Regal Union Square on Monday, Apr. 4 at 5:30 p.m. A private reception will follow immediately at The Forum Lounge.
Each year, following First Run, the finalist films and videos are screened in Hollywood for industry professionals and the public. This year’s Los Angeles showcase will be held June 16 at the Director’s Guild of America.
Underwriting support for First Run Festival 2011 has been provided, in part, by a grant from the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation for the creation of 10 awards. They are, for both graduate and undergraduate divisions: 1st place, $10,000; 2nd place, $7,000; and 3rd place, $5,000. In addition, two Wasserman Awards for $2,000 each for Best Director and two King Awards for $3,000 each for Best Screenplay will be presented in the graduate and undergraduate divisions. A distinguished panel of judges representing the film industry will select the winners.
First Run is the debut venue for most Kanbar student films, and many will later go on to screenings at international film festivals, cable television, and Sundance. This year’s entries range from traditional dramas and documentaries to experimental shorts and animation. Most are 15 minutes or more in length and are finished in video format with others completed in 35-mm. Coming of age stories chronicling the misadventures of youth and relationship-driven dramas predominate as well as comedic approaches to slice-of-life stories.
The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts provides an intensive and professional education in filmmaking. The program shared first place in recent U.S. News and World Report rankings of the nation’s film programs; since 1992, sixteen Student Academy Award gold medals have been presented to NYU student filmmakers by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. At the 2011 Academy Awards, alumnus Luke Matheny won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short with his thesis film, “God of Love.” At the 2005 and 2006 Sundance Film Festivals, Kanbar filmmakers walked away with 10 prizes. Approximately 150 graduate and 1,050 undergraduate film students pursue degrees in film and television production, photography, cinema studies, dramatic writing, and interactive telecommunications. Distinguished alumni of the Kanbar Institute include Joel Coen, Chris Columbus, Billy Crystal, Martha Coolidge, Ernest Dickerson, Amy Heckerling, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Brett Ratner, Nancy Savoca, Martin Scorsese, Susan Seidelman, and Oliver Stone, among many others.