The First Time Fest is set to debut in Gramercy Park in New York City on Mar 1 and continue until Mar 4.

The festival aims to celebrate the first films of recognised film-makers and hosts an international film competition of 12 films from first-time film-makers with the winner gaining theatrical distribution and sales representation from Cinema Libre Studio.

“It’s never been easier to make a movie, but it’s never been more difficult to get produced or distributed,” said festival co-founder Johanna Bennett, daughter of singer Tony Bennett.

“I wish I could offer distribution to all of these films. They’re all very good and they’re all very worthy. Cinema Libre has an extraordinary reputation… of always doing what they say they’re going to do.”

The films hail from several different countries including Belarus, Israel, Egypt, Australia, Mongolia, Chile and Argentina. Jurors on the competition include Christine Vachon, Fred Schneider, Sofia Coppola, and Barbara Kopple.

On the last day of the festival, Martin Scorsese will present the first John Huston Award For Outstanding Achievement in Cinema to Darren Aronofsky at the Players Club, commemorating Aronofsky’s first film, Pi.

The festival also plans to screen several other notable first films, including The Virgin Suicides, The Maltese Falcon, Poison, Jack Goes Boating, True Love and Killer’s Kiss.

Additional items on the festival programme include a series of panels called How They Did It, featuring a round of case studies of selected industry success stories.