The First Run Film Festival, the longest continuously running film festival in New York City, will showcase this year’s crop of leading student films at the Cantor Film Center, April 16-19. Admission is free and open to the public.

Two people leaning their heads together
Luna Vieja, directed by Raisa Bonnet

The First Run Film Festival, the longest continuously running film festival in New York City, will showcase this year’s crop of leading student films at the Cantor Film Center, April 16-19. Admission is free and open to the public. The festival will culminate in an awards ceremony on April 20 for this year’s Wasserman Award winners for best undergraduate and graduate film, to be held for the first time at the Time Warner Center near Columbus Circle.

The First Run Film Festival is sponsored annually by the Kanbar Institute for Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts, and in its 73 year history, it has premiered the work of many NYU filmmakers, including Oliver Stone, Jim Jarmusch and Spike Lee. This year’s festival features 74 films, videos, and multimedia and animation projects from both undergraduates and graduates, who are eligible to win more than $50,000 in prizes.

With the exception of the categories of best undergraduate and best graduate film, winners of the First Run Craft Awards were announced on March 23. The Festival will kick off with a reception honoring them on April 15 at 5 p.m. at NYU’s Torch Club. Awards were given in a variety of categories, including direction, animation, documentary filmmaking, screenwriting, producing, editing, sound design, production design, original song, original score, and acting. 

“First Run is the debut venue for the vast majority of Tisch student films, many of which go on to screenings at major film festivals and other industry venues,” said Joseph Pichirallo, Chair of the undergraduate film program at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. “This year’s Wasserman finalists, which represent what Tisch faculty judged to be the best representations of our students’ work, are particularly international in flavor and highly diverse in content.”

After three days of screenings, winners of the Wasserman Awards Ceremony will be screened at the ceremony at Time Warner Center. Finalists, which feature dramatic and documentary short films and web series, include the following:

Undergraduate finalists:

Colin Marchon, Our Technological Identity Crisis - A three-part documentary about how new technology is challenging our preconceptions about what it means to be human.

Williams Naranjo, A New Civilization - "A New Civilization" is a riveting political drama inspired on Venezuela's 2013 presidential election.

Evan Ari Kelman, Bandito - A coming-of-age drama following the adventure of Jamie, a young boy who stows away to join his older brother on a highway truck heist.

Leo Gilbert, Journeyman - A soon to be ex-NBA player must decide between continuing his career overseas or staying home with his son and giving up on his dream.

Emma Carlson, An Crann - An elderly Irish couple confront their new neighbor after she fells a tree in their garden.

Eli Shapiro, That Friend You Hate - The night of his birthday, a loser tries to distance himself from his annoying childhood friend as they crash parties and debate who has lower self-esteem.


Graduate Finalists:  

Raisa Bonnet, Luna Vieja - A naturalistic short that sketches an almost wordless tale of the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother.
Reinaldo Marcus Green, Stop - A young man's livelihood is put to the test when he is stopped by the police on his way home.

Ingrid Jungermann, F to 7th - A web series about an internally homophobic lesbian and her descent into pre-middle age. Judgmental as ever, she struggles to find herself in a world where sexuality and gender have left her old-fashioned gayness behind.

Natalia Kaniasty, Home Range - Bobby, an emotionally withdrawn veteran, returns to his rural Pennsylvania hometown where he struggles to reconnect with his hunting buddies and former sweetheart.

Stella Kyriakopoulos, Volta - A mother and daughter start out from downtown Athens and head to the northern suburbs of the city. Nina thinks she's going on a walk.

Thati Peele, Lerato - Happy is a South African farm laborer who contends his fate to get his daughter, Lerato, to a prestigious piano audition on time.

Felipe Prado, Partiu - Set up in Rio de Janeiro's high society, Partiu portrays the lifestyle of a reckless group of kids, who after a night partying with a lot of alcohol, drugs and electronic music, decide to take a ride in Daniel's new car.

Asantewaa Prempeh, A Sweet Song - eight-year-old Akosua discovers a different world from what she is used to at her father's home

Kirsten Keng Ing Tan, Dahdi - An elderly widow finds an unexpected visitor, a young asylum-seeking girl, in her home during dinner. Inspired by a 2012 event, whereby 40 Burmese Rohingya asylum seekers arrived in the port of Singapore.

Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo, San Cristóbal - Lucas visits his sister on a remote island in southern Chile before moving abroad. An unlikely romance grows when he meets Antonio, a struggling young fisherman.

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 take place from 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. No tickets will be sold in advance. For more detailed information, call 212.998.1795; or visit

Underwriting support for First Run Festival 2015 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.

The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts provides an intensive and professional education in filmmaking. Undergraduate and graduate 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, Juan José Campanella, Billy Crystal, Martha Coolidge, Cary Fukunaga, Ernest Dickerson, Amy Heckerling, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Nancy Savoca, Martin Scorsese, Susan Seidelman, and Oliver Stone, among many others.

Partiu, directed by Feliipe Prado, tells the story of a reckless group of kids in Rio de Janeiro's high society.

Evan Ari Kelman's Bandito, a coming-of-age drama about a young boy and his brother on a highway truck heist.

Press Contact

Shonna Keogan
Shonna Keogan
(212) 998-6796