Just as Quentin Tarantino had "Reservoir Dogs," Orson Welles his "Citizen Kane," Sam Mendes’ "American Beauty," Rob Reiner with "This is Spinal Tap," and John Huston had "The Maltese Falcon," as their first works, First Time Fest’s mission is to discover and present the next generation of great cinema by first time screenwriters, producers, directors, editors, composers and cinematographers.
First Time Fest is a combination of a traditional film festival and an audience participation event. Twelve finalists will be chosen from the submission pool and screened during the festival for professionals and general audiences. Five jurors will then decide the Grand Prize winner. Of the five jurors, four will be "film industry elite" and one will be the collective "Voting Public" or "VPs." On each day of the festival 120 moviegoers will be chosen by lottery to represent the festival audiences' voice.
The twelve finalists will receive a year-long mentorship and membership to the Player's Club. The winner will be have a gala on the closing day of the festival and a distribution offer arranged between First Time Fest and Cinema Libre Studio. The festival will also give prizes for Oustanding Direction, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing and Score.
The festival will also present the John Huston Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Cinema to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the art of cinema.
First Time Fest was founded by Johanna Bennett and Mandy Ward.