Over 130 Films Competing for $50,000 in Cash Awards

Public Screenings at NYU’s Cantor Film Center, 36 E. 8th Street, NYC

The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has announced that it will present the 67th annual First Run Film Festival from March 25-29, 2009. First Run is New York’s oldest continuous film festival that premieres the work of some of the country’s top student filmmakers. This year’s annual spring showcase will feature over 130 advanced films, videos, multimedia, and animation projects. The films and videos compete for over $50,000 in cash awards presented by the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation.

First Run will commence with the annual Craft Awards ceremony and the announcement of the King finalists on Tuesday, March 24 at 5 pm with a private reception at the Tisch School of the Arts. Screenings of the films, which are open to the public, will follow at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Film Center, located at 36 E. 8th Street in Manhattan. The screening times are: Wednesday, March 25 - Friday, March 27: 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm; Saturday, March 28 - Sunday, March 29: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm. Admission is $5; students with ID, $3. No tickets will be sold in advance. For further information, call 212.998.1795; or visit sss.filmtv.tisch.nyu.edu/object/firstrun.html.

The five days of screenings will culminate in the Wasserman Awards ceremony and the announcement of the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation Awards. A dinner will be held at Chinatown Brasserie on Monday, March 30 at 5 pm. The award ceremony and screening of the winning films will follow at 8 pm at the Cantor Film Center. (The ceremony, dinner, and screening are by invitation only.)

Each year, following First Run, the finalist film and videos are screened in Hollywood for industry professionals and the public. This year’s Los Angeles showcase will be held in early June at the Director’s Guild of America.

Underwriting support for First Run Festival 2009 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 $2,500 each for Best Director and two King Awards for $2,500 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 1998 Sundance Film Festival, Kanbar Institute students and alumni walked away with an unprecedented seven awards in virtually every top-prize category. 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.

Press Contact

Richard Pierce
Richard Pierce
(212) 998-6796