Lights, camera, action: The Manhattan Short Film Festival arrives in Flagstaff
By Amber George
This past Thursday, the 15th annual Manhattan Short Film Festival found its way to Northern Arizona University (NAU) for a night of amazing talent from all across the globe. The Festival is a yearly event coordinated by Nicolas Mason and gathers aspiring filmmakers in order to find some of the most interesting and well-developed short films the world has to offer.
At the start of each year, the Manhattan Festival Staff reviews over 500 entries from over 40 different countries, and has the difficult task of narrowing it down to the top ten finalists. After that, those ten finalists are shown in the span of a week in 300 different cities across six continents. Once the audience has seen the top ten they vote for their favorite, and the first, second and third place winners receive gold, silver and bronze metals, respectively. There are also categories such as Best Screenplay, Cinematography, Editor and Animation, which are awarded by a panel of judges.
“I have become a firm believer that it’s the public that create stars,” writes Nicolas Mason, founding director of the event. “Be it a film, a tune, a book, a new game, whatever; get it out to the public, get it in the right place, the right forum and the public will transform it and take it to a place one would never imagine.”
Paul Helford, who instructs many EMF courses at NAU, hosted the event in the Cline Library Assembly Hall, where many eager students and adults came to watch the ten films and vote for their favorite. Matthew Roberts, a senior biology major at NAU, was one of many who enjoyed the festival.
“I thought the Manhattan Film Festival was fantastic, and I hope it continues on in the years to come,” Roberts says. “It is important to have events like this festival. Although a priority is to entertain the student body, it also educates the students on a multitude of genres and cultures.”
Roberts tells how he really enjoyed the film “Cluck”, which was a short Irish film directed by Michael Lavelle. The story followed several boys in an orphanage, who are surprised by the newest member of their home. The boy, Cluck, acts like a chicken and stirs up the lives of all the boys, as well as the staff, in the orphanage.
Brandi Woodfill, a junior sociology major, also attended the festival and said it was “amazing.”
“I really do feel as though events like this one are very imperative to have for the community,” Woodfill says. “It not only brings a sense of community when everyone comes to watch, but it gives everyone the chance to see what other countries have to bring to the table film-wise.”
The festival was a huge success and left people laughing and gasping in unison. From comedic stunts to suspenseful twists, each film had something completely different to offer its audience. The Film “Two and Two,” directed by Babak Anvar, presented an interesting plot and twist that turned the story in a completely different direction than was expected. On the other end of the spectrum, “The Unfortunate End of Robert Ebb” followed an unlucky character in a series of hilarious events that had the audience laughing so hard they were in tears.
“Our mission,” says the Manhattan Short website, “is to unite audiences across all seven continents of the globe for one week via the most compelling short films submitted each year.”
Anyone interested in attending or entering the festival next year can visit their website www.manhattanshort.com for information on the 2013 event.