First-Time Filmmaker Sessions Winners: April 2024

Thank you to all the filmmakers who participated in the April edition of the First-Time Filmmaker Sessions!
The festival platformed hundreds of films, each project worthy of recognition and celebration. We want to extend a giant thank you to everyone who took part and a special congratulations to all the incredible talent that went into making these projects.
First-Time Filmmaker Sessions is designed to be the entry into the Lift-Off Global Network. A platform for the avant-garde, FT Sessions isn't about selecting the 'best' or most 'commercial' projects; it is about providing a screening opportunity for everyone, connecting these new and emerging voices with new audiences. An option we hope highlights and educates each month!

Jury's Overall Winner


Dir, Writer, Producer. Malini Raman-Middleton

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Genre: Comedy, Drama

Synopsis:Just before leaving to meet a friend, Meena takes a pair of cherished earrings from her older sister, Divya. Her sister stops her as she hadn’t returned a previous pair of earrings. This leads to an argument where Divya blames Meena for losing and breaking her things. In order to save face, Meena must find the lost earrings and plants them in her sister's bag.

Season Award #15 Shortlist: Best First-Time Filmmaker


Audience Choice Winners

December 3rd

Dir. Kate Ellis
Country of Origin: United States

Animation, Experimental, Student, Short

The Art of Being Who I Am

Dir. Isabela Gieseler Pinheiro
Country of Origin: Brazil

Isabela Gieseler Pinheiro is a film student and arts lover who sets out on a journey of remembering her history as an artist with a disability in order to seek self-knowledge and self-transformation.


Dir. Clinton D'Juan Harris
Country of Origin: United States

"In the world of maps, a shy cartographer's charming best friend drags him into the unknown. During their trip along the route, they happen across something that puts them in danger of running into an unofficial criminal. As they pursue and uncover long-forgotten mysteries, the pair has to act quickly to get out of the past's shadows. Will they be overcome by the mysteries or will they overcome them?"


Dir. Victor DUCAS
Country of Origin: Belgium

Highschool boy Gabriel ignites like a matchstick everytime his emotions overwhelm him, even more so with the girl he loves : Amélie. His best friend Theo invites him to a party, failing to mention Amélie will be there as well.

Screams of Lavender

Dir. Julian Ferro
Country of Origin: Canada

In a world ravaged by plague, a solitary doctor, armed with ancient remedies and haunted by the shadows of his past, grapples with his role as both healer and harbinger, while seeking redemption in a land forsaken by hope.

Amelia Tripp The Story

Dir. Vishyan Jason Mohammed
Country of Origin: Trinidad and Tobago

There is a myth that dates back to decades that is on very dark nights on the valleys of Macqeripe, a shawdowy image of woman lurks on the roadways. Some see her walking about and some claim to see her in their backseats. ..

Is she trying to communicate with us????

Who is she???

What does she want????


Dir. Keyur Maharaj
Country of Origin: South Africa

An existential journey of Love and Loss.

In Exodus 4, we follow Hildegard as he comes to terms with a Love he lost and the internal battle of it ever having existed.


Dir. Mike Davies, Natalie Ava Nasr
Country of Origin: United Kingdom

A young sex worker navigates an arranged date with a difficult client.


Dir. mahyar behmanesh
Country of Origin: Iran, Islamic Republic of


Behind Her Smile

Dir. Anastasiia Tymofieieva
Country of Origin: Ukraine

Behind her mask, a high-society socialite conceals her true self, until a chance encounter with a stranger who is equally compelled to mask their true identity reveals a hidden connection that shatters their perceptions of social status and personal identity.

A Stroll on a Planet

Dir. Hirotaka Ikeda
Country of Origin: Japan

The story about a girl who strolled on a planet and forced to go back to her home.


Dir. Calvin De Carlo
Country of Origin: Philippines

This is the story of young Sabel who misses her father who passed away due to heart failure. Unfortunately, she too, is suffering from a lingering brain tumor and can not reveal her condition to her mom who like herself is afflicted with liver disease. She is worried her revelation might shorten her mother's life. Instead, she willed that when the right time comes, she will voluntary donate her liver to let her mother live longer.

Lift-Off Season Awards #15

The Lift-Off Season Awards is an annual event that celebrates the very best of indie film. Following each Lift-Off film festival, films that have excelled in their respective category are short listed for a Season Awards Nomination.  At the end of the year, once all the 12 city-based festival have taken place, the shortlisted nominated films are reviewed again by the jury and Official Nominations are designated.  Click here for more information about the Lift-Off Season Awards.