Co-founders Johanna Bennett and Mandy Ward of First Time Fest (FTF) said industry experts and select members of the public will judge 12 finalists from a potential pool of thousands.

The grand prize will include theatrical distribution through FTF and Cinema Libre Studio. The latter will also represent international sales. All finallists will receive a one-year industry mentorship.

The festival will offer the John Huston Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Cinema to an individual who has made “a significant contribution to the art of cinema and whose presence in our community has offered leadership and inspiration to other cinema artists.”

The festival is set to run from Mar 1-4 2013 and will take place at Gramercy Park.