Diego Rougier’s Chilean-Argentinian Western Sal won the inaugural First Time Fest (FTF) and with it, a newbie filmmaker’s dream grand prize: Theatrical distribution. The film festival, created by co-founders Johanna Bennett and Mandy Ward, ran from March 1 through March 4 in New York City hosted by NYC’s historic Players Club. Over the course of the long weekend, guests at the First Time Fest included Martin Scorsese, Sofia Coppola, Todd Solondz, Harry Belafonte, Darren Aronofsky, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Hal Hartley, Barbara Kopple, Michael Shannon and Ellen Burstyn.
Twelve in-competition films from first time directors vied for fest honors before jury members Christine Vachon, Fred Schneider of the B-52s, author Gay Talese and critic Anne-Katrin Titze and members of the audience selected the winner together. As the Grand Prize winner, Rougier’s Sal will be offered theatrical distribution as well as international sales representation via distributor Cinema Libre Studio. The filmmakers behind each of the competition titles will receive industry mentorship and a one-year membership to The Players. Here are the full list of awards announced tonight in New York:
Grand Prize Winner: SAL
Written And Directed By Diego Rougier (Chile/Argentina)
FTF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Directing: Amelie Van Elmbt (Headfirst / La Tete La Premiere)
FTF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Writing: (TIE) Max Weissberg (Summertime)
FTF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting: Neal Bledsoe (Junction)
FTF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting: Alice De Lencquesaing (Headfirst / La Tete La Premiere)
FTF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: David Bravo (Sal)
For beautiful cinematography with rich details, surprising touches, and a sense of humor.
FTF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing: Jonah Marin, John Young (Zipper)
FTF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scoring: Martin Bossa and Tomas Carnelli (I Love You All / Los Quiero A Todos)
FIRST JOHN HUSTON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMA: To DARREN ARONOFSKY presented by MARTIN SCORSESE
Watch the trailer for Sal (sans subtitles):