The First Run Film Festival will showcase this year’s crop of leading student films the Tisch School starting Friday, April 28. Admission is free and open to the public.

Graphic with text First Run Film Festival

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 Theater 006, at the Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway, starting Friday, April 28. Admission is free and open to the public. The festival will culminate in an awards ceremony on May 3 for this year’s Wasserman Award winners for best undergraduate and graduate film, to be held at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

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 75 year history, it has premiered the work of many NYU filmmakers, including Oliver Stone, Jim Jarmusch, Reed Morano, and Spike Lee. This year’s festival features 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 April 9. 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. Visit here for a full list of winners.

“First Run is where Tisch Kanbar student films make their debut before going on to premiere at film festivals all over the world such as Cannes, Tribeca, and Sundance, so it’s a wonderful showcase of next generation cinema,” said Barbara Schock, Chair of the Graduate Film program at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. “Wasserman finalists represent what Tisch faculty judged to be the best representations of our students’ work, and this year’s films are truly remarkable in scope, diversity, and craftsmanship.

After three days of screenings (see here for schedule), 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:

Graduate finalists:

Haley Anderson, Get Out Fast - A narrated character portrait about Coyote Boy, a kid who starts hopping trains after growing bored in his small town and disappearing.

Margherita Arco, “Mami” Sagte - Empty spaces and forsaken artifacts in an abandoned farmhouse tell the story of an ailing mother and middle-aged son, Siegfried. Through Siegfried’s compulsive writings on the walls, a co-dependent relationship between domineering “Mami” and Siegfried is revealed. Can Siegfried sacrifice his filial duty to find happiness?

Tati Barrantes, Vincent - When his dog Vincent passes away, aging one-hit wonder Adrian Granado fears he's lost the last true fan he'll ever have.

Dania Bdeir, In White - Lara, a 24-year-old Lebanese artist living in NYC, returns home to Beirut for her father’s funeral. Her elegant strong-willed mother, Mona, pushes for Lara to behave in accordance with the social mores of Beirut and the traditional ways of grieving. Lara, in mourning and in need of her family, yields. Her Jewish Canadian fiancé, Noah, shows up to support her - but is surprised to discover that Lara has never told her family about him.

Nicholas Colia, Alex and the Handyman - A precious nine-year-old boy develops a crush on the moody twenty-five-year-old handyman who works in the mansion where he lives.

Mamadou Dia, Samedi Cinema - In a small city of Northern Senegal, two young cinephiles hatch a plan before their theater closes down forever.

Marie Dvorakova, Who’s Who in Mycology - A young trombone player spends an adventurous night trying to open an impossible bottle of wine. An unconscious girl, a crooked bookcase and some mold get in his way, turning his world upside down. When the night is over he is forced to commit the ultimate act of courage.

Mary Grace Evangelista, Ina Nyo – The story of a day in the life of Ana, a young housemaid in the Philippines. Desperate to send more money to her mother, Ana is caught up in the scruples of the precocious teenage daughter and the older wayward son of the house. She must now decide what she is willing to compromise to maintain her place in the household.

Raven Johnson, Tween - A tween girl of African descent visits a friend's house for a slumber party. However, when another girl shows up, their girls night slowly turns into a nightmare for the only ‘black girl.’ This short film explores how jealously collides into prejudices, rendering an important moment in the life of a tween, black girl.

Tony Koros, Chebet - A pregnant woman in the Kenyan highlands decides to take drastic action against her alcoholic husband when she finds him passed out in front of their house yet again.

Francesca Mirabella, Modern Love - A young man who lives his life through social media, has an encounter with a young woman who challenges his ideals about sexual stereotypes. He ultimately misunderstands her, and the discomfort of real intimacy has him retreat back into his world of social media.

Rikke Louise Schødt, Distance - Forced to spend Christmas in the rough nature of Northern Denmark, 10 year old Emma is determined to make Christmas a joyous celebration. Even without mom.

Beier (Bell) Zhong, Blooming Night - Bell is a lonely, twenty-something street guy living in Shanghai. One day, wandering around in a run-down and stinky underpath, he sees a pair of bright red heels passing by. The color stimulates something deep in his heart. Out of curiosity, he starts to follow its owner across the city of Shanghai and ends up in an old club where he discovers a forbidden community that he has never experienced, hence begins to realize his hidden desires.

Graduate Finalists, Tisch Asia:

Philip Giordano, Supot - After refusing a ritual intended to usher him into manhood, Rene-boy (10), tries alternate methods to remove this mark of cowardice.

Cameron Harris, In Our Words - African-Americans and Africans in the diaspora in the U.S., South Africa, and Europe discuss their experiences being Black.

Seran Kim, Kimchi Taco - Traumatized by the brutal murder of her husband in Spanish Harlem, a Korean shopkeeper finds an unexpected ally in a young Mexican woman with a secret.

Eric McEver, Paleonaut - A scientist studying the first human time traveler falls in love with her subject. But if her research succeeds they will become separated by eons of history.

Anand Kishore, Disco Obu - The relationship between a journalist and his subject, a former Bollywood child star who now drives an auto rickshaw, is tested over the course of a day.

Undergraduate Finalists:

Vera Berkshire, Dragon in Distress - In this fractured fairytale, a villainous Hag casts a wicked spell to switch places with a demure Princess, and her beloved Knight is completely clueless.

Robert (Cosmo) Carlson, The Derby - When the three-time champion of the Pinewood Derby is challenged by his best friend, the champion breaks his moral code to keep his title.

Jiawei Cheng, New Year - New Year tells a Chinese immigrant’s struggle with life after his brother betrays him and puts him in huge debt.

Max R. A. Fedore, Opera of Cruelty - A young victim is invited to an immersive operatic production led by the Famed Fiend, a collector and protector of talent, and finds himself infatuated with the Tempestuous Tigress, a young woman and the favorite performer, who wants nothing but to escape.

Julia Jones, Buckets - A girl learns the brutal sacrifices it takes to satisfy her love.

Theodore Rosenthal, Bunny - A stray puppy runs into trouble on the search for the owner of his dreams.

Screenings are open to the public and take place at Theater 06 at the NYU Tisch Building, located at 721 Broadway in Manhattan. Screenings are held from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday, April 28, 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday, April 29, and 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday, April 30. The Wasserman Awards reception on May 3 will be held at 5 p.m. at the Skirball Center. 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, Reed Morano, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Nancy Savoca, Martin Scorsese, Susan Seidelman, and Oliver Stone, among many others.

Press Contact

Shonna Keogan
Shonna Keogan
(212) 998-6796