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First Time Fest launches in N.Y.

Darren Aronofsky to score John Huston Prize

Darren Aronofsky, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christine Vachon are among the names rounded up to attract attention to the First Time Fest, with the new Gotham festival, dedicated to works by tyro filmmakers, set to award its inaugural John Huston Prize to Aronofsky.

The fest has tapped a dozen titles by first-time filmmakers — including Seth Fisher’s Brian Cox starrer “Blumenthal” and Benj Binks’ “Mongolian Bling” — for a competish category to be voted on by both audiences and an industry panel. The fest’s award winner will secure distribution from Cinema Libre Studio.

The fest also will screen debut outings by creatives who went on to prominence, including Huston’s “The Maltese Falcon,” Hoffman’s “Jack Goes Boating,” Todd Haynes’ “Poison” (produced by Vachon) and Hal Hartley’s “The Unbelievable Truth,” with some of the collaborators from each work attending.

Founded by Johanna Bennett and Mandy Wand, the four-day fest is hosted by the Player’s Club in Gramercy Park, where the fest’s events and panels will take place. Screenings are set for a nearby theater in the East Village.

First Time Fest runs March 1-4.

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