Film : A festival of film shorts at Katharine Cornell
Vineyard film enthusiasts will have the opportunity to view a dozen top international movie shorts in the Manhattan Short Film Festival on Saturday, Sept. 27. Even better, each member of the audience will receive a ballot to help determine which of the 12 finalists becomes the festival winner.
This is the fifth year the Martha's Vineyard Film Society (MVFS) has sponsored the screenings at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven, and Martha's Vineyard is one of only three locations in Massachusetts participating in the Festival. According to MVFS director Richard Paradise, Martha's Vineyard audiences have a record for usually selecting the film that becomes the ultimate winner.
Last year, three of the shorts finalists continued on to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, with one winning, and one receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Short. This year the winner will be announced in New York on Sunday night, Sept. 28.
Shorts from 10 different countries are among the finalists and will be screened in locations on four continents. "Rachel," an American entry, is based on a true story about a pregnant woman in an extortion scheme against adoptive parents.
A second American entry, "Teat Beat of Sex," directed by USSR émigré Signe Bauman, is an animated short about sexual initiation that played at the Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival earlier this month.
Other English-language finalists -- chosen out of 429 submissions from 42 countries -- include "Ripple," a comic suspense story; "Mother Mine," a drama about an adopted woman seeking her birth mother; "New Boy," the story of an African boy's first day at school in Ireland; "The Game," a tale about a potentially lethal board game played in the nude by two men; and "Change Coming," about marital strife on an Australian farm.
From India comes "Viva Sunita," a nighttime story of a young man calling to a woman at her window, and the help he gets. "Sour Milk" uses authentic footage from 1929 Jerusalem where a mother and daughter get caught in a riot. The Netherlands short, "Ode Ober" looks at the observations of a long-time waiter, and the mystical connections between people during divorce are explored in the Spanish short, "The Golden Thread."
"If you can move people in a couple of minutes, that's a great short story or a great short," says Danish director Pelle Moeller. Bullying is the subject of his short, a tribute to Clint Eastwood called "Make My Day."
Now in its 11th year, the Manhattan Short Film Festival has grown from a relatively small event involving 20 or more sites to one that takes place all over the world and adds new international venues annually. Its mission is to create a global connection among audiences around the world through the 12 films, according to founder and director Nicholas Mason. This year, the films range in length from 3 to 16 minutes.
Manhattan Short Film Festival, Saturday, Sept. 27, 7:30 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring Street, Vineyard Haven. $8 ($5 for Martha's Vineyard Film Society members). Doors open at 7 pm.
Brooks Robards writes on film, books, and art for The Martha's Vineyard Times.