2011-09-22 / News

JAC among 200 venues worldwide participating in Manhattan Short

BY KEN SHANE

On Thursday, Sept. 29, the Jamestown Arts Center will host the Manhattan Short Film Festival. On that evening, 10 short films will be screened, and the audience will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites. During the same week, those same 10 films will be shown at over 200 venues on six continents around the world, and those audiences will be voting as well.

In one week, over 100,000 people from as far north as St. Petersburg, Russia, to as far south as Buenos Aires, Argentina, to as far east as Kathmandu, Nepal, and as far west as Perth, Australia, will come together to view and vote on the 10 films.

Votes will be tallied at each venue and the results will be submitted to the festival headquarters in New York where a winner will be announced on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 10 p.m. The results will also be posted on Manhat tanShort.com. A list of the screening venues, images from the films, and interviews and film trailers are also available at the website.

Nearly 600 films from 48 countries were submitted for festival consideration. Each film was required to be under 18 minutes in length. The field was then narrowed down to 10 finalists. The selected films come from Australia, Canada, Scotland, Sweden, Hungary, Switzerland, Peru and Egypt, and there are two films from the United States.

Past finalists have been nominated for and won Academy Awards for Best Short Film, and Manhattan Short has gained a reputation for being a breeding ground for great filmmakers.

“While the goal of any festival is to discover and promote new talent, the real aim of this festival is to bring communities together via stories from around the world,” said Nicholas Mason, the founder and director of Manhattan Short.

Mason said that never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that it would grow into what it is today with communities all over the world getting together to celebrate via 10 short films.

His project started as a small, relatively simple event that projected a handful of short films onto the side of a truck on a downtown Manhattan street 13 years ago.

“It’s become like Earth Day, but with film,” Mason said.

Manhattan Short’s journey to Jamestown began at another Rhode Island arts center. Jocelyn Donaghue, who is currently secretary of the board at the JAC, was formerly with the Courthouse Arts Center in West Kingston.

“We got a Best of Rhode Island award in 2008 for my film program featuring films from the Rhode Island International Film Festival,” Donaghue said. “I think that Nick Mason of Manhattan Short started reaching out to film venues and somehow found us there. He asked if we’d be interested in being a venue.”

Donaghue said that she brought Manhattan Short to the courthouse for two years and after the opening of the Jamestown Arts Center, she emailed him and asked him if he wanted to do the program there.

“He was thrilled,” Donaghue said.

Donaghue hopes that the Manhattan Short program will spark interest among the Jamestown audience in short films from around the world because the arts center is about it launch its own short film series in November.

“I think there are a lot of people who are into film,” Donaghue said. “There is something great about shorts because if you can tell a story well in that short amount of time I think it’s super impactful. Rather than investing two hours for a feature, you’re investing 15 minutes and coming away often with equally great impressions from what the filmmakers have done.”

The Jamestown Arts Center is once again the recipient of technical support from the Rhode Island International Film Festival for the Manhattan Short program. As it has done for past film programs, the RIFF has provided the JAC with a 20-by-20-foot screen along with projection and sound equipment.

There are plans for additional film evenings at the JAC beginning with a night of horror films on Oct. 28, and continuing with an Indian film program on Nov. 1.

After that, the JAC will host films from the Rhode Island International Film Festival on the third Thursday of each month. The first film program in that series will take place on Nov. 17.

The Manhattan Short Film Festival begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $8. The Jamestown Arts Center is located at 18 Valley Street.

The 2011 Manhattan Short Film Festival finalists are “Incident By a Bank,” Sweden, directed by Ruben Ostlund; “DIK,” Australia, directed by Christopher Stollery; “MAK,” Switzerland, directed by Geraldine Zosso; “I Love Luci,” Scotland, directed by Colin Kennedy; “The Legend of Beaver Dam,” Canada, directed by Jerome Sable and Eli Batalion; “Sexting,” USA, directed by Neil LaBute; “The Forest,” Hungary, directed by Kárpáti György Mór; “A Doctor’s Job,” Peru, directed by Julio Ramos; “David & Goliath,” USA, directed by George Zaverdas; and “Martyr Friday,” Egypt, directed by Abu Bakr Shawky.

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