First-Time Filmmaker Sessions Winners: June 2024

Thank you to all the filmmakers who participated in the June 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

Iam Me

Director/Writer/Producer: Siara Mason
Country of Origin: United States
Genre: Experimental, Short,

Synopsis: A story of a girl, who feels as though no one understands her, and imagining all the things she wish could do, and enjoy like everyone else, but later coming to a realization and a new view.

Season Award #15 Shortlist: Best First-Time Filmmaker


Audience Choice Winners

A year in the life of a young filmmaker

Director/Writer/Producer: Adin Bayer
Country of Origin: United States

A coming of age celebration of the year 2023, through the eyes of a young filmmaker.

This Generation

Directors/Writers/Producers: Delight 'Dee Jai' Jackson
Country of Origin: United States

Jamie, a shy yet social media-savvy teen, connects with a seemingly charming and charismatic guy named Cameron on a popular app. As their online relationship blossoms, Jamie's sister and friends Roxie, Blake, become increasingly concerned about the time she's spending glued to her phone. Little do they know that Cameron isn't who he seems. He lures Jamie into a false sense of security, isolating her as he preys on her vulnerabilities.


Director/Writer: Allis Verónica Palma
Producer: Roberto Pérez
Country of Origin: Mexico

This is the story of a boy who grows up watching his father make people happy or at least smile with the simple power of a camera, so in a twisted way, he seeks to follow in his footsteps.

Renis Good night Stories 3

Director: Reni Bifamo Von
Country of Origin: Monaco

My own written and produced short stories for children etc Is about my art comic figure too

To A Friend

Director/Writer: Nathan William Hamilton
Producer: Sarah Moulton
Country of Origin: Australia

A man finally catches up for long overdue conversation to an old friend.

Don't Return

Director/Writer: Danyel Ferreira Sueth / Diego Barbieri Scarparo
Producer: Taynara dos Santos Barreto
Country of Origin: Brazil

Beni (Danyel Sueth) goes to visit his older brother, Nicolas (Ivan Forneron) in the old family home where they were raised. In a small town, in the interior of the country, where people's lives are common to each other, many taboos and judgments can remain alive forever. It is in this context that “Don’t Return” surprises the viewer, unraveling this thought-provoking story in layers.


Director/Writer/Producer: Quentin Delcourt
Country of Origin: France

After a traumatic event, Christine decides to admit herself into a mental hospital.
While there, she meets Princess Titou and Laure, two kind-hearted and mischievous inpatients who soon become part of her recovery.

Off My Shoulders

Director/Writer/Producer: Ashton Arbab, Michael Moroso
Country of Origin: United States

A young boy trying to overcome the guilt of his brothers death while battling his new found addiction seeks help to try to overcome his inner conflict.


Director/Writer: Phoebe Yemi Ara
Producer: Arianna Rashidian Bagherzadeh
Country of Origin: United Kingdom

An avalanche changes a polar bear's life, sending him on a journey across a barren fantasy world. A rich narrative exploration of mental health.

Inspired by testimonials on bipolar disorder, this disorienting frame by frame animated short gives life to the experience of millions through fantasy, vivid colour, and metaphor.

The Kiss

Director/Writer/Producer: Petter Baiestorf
Country of Origin: Brazil

Romantic comedy where a kiss reveals the feelings of two friends, who loved each other in secret. A free remake of the short “The Kiss” (1882), by Eadweard Muybridge.

Smile, Baby It's Couch Cult

Director: McKenzi Cruz, Daniel Bayonne
Country of Origin: United States

"Smile, Baby Couch Cult" is a mini documentary that delves deep into the multifaceted journey of the band Couch Cult. Through insightful interviews, intimate behind-the-scenes footage, and poignant reflections, this documentary offers a compelling exploration of the band's evolution, challenges, and triumphs.

Go! yob

Director/Writer/Producer: Junhao LIU 刘君豪 刘
Country of Origin: China

Tian Ye, who is in his teenage years, wants to be a gangster. This started when he found out that Yue Rui, the girl he has a crush on, have fell in love with Jin Feng, a school bully. From Tian Ye's eyes, Jin Feng not only flirts with other girls alot but also abuses Yue Rui from time to time. Through his best friend Hao, Tian Ye meets Cui Renbao, a famous local gangster, and worships Cui as his big brother in order to save his beloved girl from further corruption. Tian Ye decides to take advantage of Cui Renbao's power to teach Jin Feng a lesson and win the heart of the girl he loves. But after all this really happens, Tian Ye, who wanted to use his fists to protect his beloved, brings great harm to Yue Rui. At the same time, his relationship with his mother starts to get worse in a subtle way. He decided to change all that


Director/Writer: Nataša Glišović
Country of Origin: Serbia

A girl, faced with her dyslexia disorder, tries to compose a text on paper. With each new attempt, the girl experiences greater and greater frustrations, which are manifested in the form of playful and restless letters. The letters "dance" and transform around the girl, and as their confrontation approaches the climax, the girl's torment is symbolically depicted, along with her struggle to overcome the problem she lives with.

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.