Yesterday, Examiner.com was on the scene for the First Time Fest in New York. The inaugural festival screened 12 in-competition titles as well as debut films by well known directors like Sofia Coppola, Darren Aronofsky, Wes Anderson and more.
Mongolian Bling captures the burgeoning hip hop scene in Mongolia. Binks profiles three young people as they write, record and perform in a country that has grown so much in since becoming democratic in 1990. "It's about youth, it's about identity, and it's about Western culture and the influence of that on traditional cultures," Binks told Examiner.com. "And it's about what it means to be Mongolian in this day and age. "
After first visiting the country's capital Ulaanbaatar while working as a tour guide on the Trans-Siberian Railway in 2004, Binks was surprised to learn how much the West had permeated Mongolian culture. But he was also interested in what they had done with it. "I think it was really encouraging to see them take on the music and make it their own," Binks said. "They are creating a sound that's becoming uniquely Mongolian in that it's taking Mongolian instruments and musical themes and incorporating that into the actual music."
On the other side of the continent, Stanton's Uprising captures the inside story of the Egyptian revolution featuring interviews by activists, professors and Nobel Peace Prize nominees. In particular the film focused on the role that the Internet and social media played during the movement.
Other films in the competition included Horizon Sky, the first feature film from Belarus in over a decade, drama Blumenthal and Junction starring RENT's Anthony Rapp and Smash's Neal Bledsoe.
Ultimately, Sal from director Diego Roguier won the Grand Prize. The film tells the story of a Spanish director who travels to Southern Chile to make a western. After being confused with someone else, the director sets off on his own adventure. Sal will be offered theatrical distribution in either NYC or Los Angeles in addition to international sales representation.
Additional reporting by Alexandra Finkel