Hot on the heels of the Vineyard’s own International Film Festival comes Manhattan Shorts, with 10 films from around the world. It’s the 20th year for the festival, and Vineyard viewers will be able to vote for their best short choice. The series runs Thursday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 8, and Manhattan Shorts founder Nick Mason will attend the Island screenings on Oct. 5 and 6.
Including the viewers at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, Manhattan Shorts represents an audience of more than 100,000 film lovers from 300 locales. Awards will go to the Best Film and Best Actor, and all 10 shorts are eligible for Oscar nominations.
Among the finalists, films from Latvia, Georgia, and Syria are first-time entries. With two shorts from Spain, the finalists were chosen from among 1,615 submissions from 75 countries. Many genres will be represented, from comedy, drama, and horror to sci-fi, animation, and martial arts.
One short comes from New Zealand in “Do Not Harm,” where a surgeon uses kung fu to stop a group of gangsters attacking her patient. In “Behind,” from Spain, a divorcée struggles to keep her baby from being taken by her ex-husband. The U.S.’s entry, “Fickle Bickle,” follows the comic machinations of a plumber pursuing his high school crush. An anxiety-ridden World War II concentration camp prisoner cuts the hair of a camp official in “Hope Dies Last,” from the United Kingdom. “The Perfect Day,” the second Spanish entry, about a businessman’s best day, takes a comic turn.
After a short intermission, the entries continue with “Just Go!” In it, a wheelchair-bound paraplegic defies purse-snatching thieves with a remarkable chase. Syria’s “Mare Nostrum” portrays the agonized actions of a father over the fate of his daughter. A rape in Sicily introduces the story in “Viola Franca,” the Italian entry that has political implications. “In a Nutshell,” from Switzerland, uses the animation of fruit, nuts, and other objects to convey global images. From Georgia, futuristic “8 Minutes” features a magician dressing up for a final magic trick as the world ends.
Vineyard viewers will each cast a ballot for their favorite short, joining worldwide audiences doing the same. The winner of this contest will be announced on Monday, Oct. 9. The Vineyard winner, as well as this reviewer’s pick, will appear next week in The Martha’s Vineyard Times.
Says Richard Paradise, founder and director of the M.V. Film Society and Film Center: “The M.V. Film Society has the pleasure of hosting Manhattan Shorts for the 14th consecutive year, and we’ve always been inspired by the awesome collection of shorts from around the world that the festival provides our Vineyard audience, and many have gone on to be nominated for Oscars. Over the years, I’ve become friends with Nick Mason, the festival’s founder, which has led to his sharing his 20th anniversary edition in person at the Film Center. You will not want to miss this.”
Met Opera Live comes to the Film Center
New to the Film Center this year is the Met Live series, which begins Saturday afternoon, Oct. 7, 12:55 pm, with Vincenzo Bellini’s tragedy, “Norma,” and hosted by soprano Deborah Voigt. The performance stars Sondra Radvanovsky, Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, with Carlo Rizzi conducting. For information and tickets, go to mvfilmsociety.com.