On hand to greet and guide attendees were “Movie Maven” and MANHATTAN SHORT organizer, Tj Faddis, as well as BIMA A/V Specialist Quincy Blackmon, Event Manager Chelsea Allen, and a slew of volunteers.
The Final Ten MANHATTAN SHORT finalists hail from eight countries with films from Scotland, Czech & Slovakia, Spain, Australia, Finland and Lebanon, alongside two films each from France and USA. These finalists represent the best short films from more than 700 entries from 71 countries and were viewed in more than 500 venues all over the world.
If you were unable to attend, here’s the wrap up:
Don vs Lightning: Taking place in the Scottish Highlands, Don, a man who just wants to live a quiet life fishing, is shocked…constantly…by lightening. In the end Don makes a friend and learns to live with his electrifying life. This film was in the top two for me, not only was it well done with a great cast, it had all the components of humor, suspense, surprise, laughter and human longing.
Love, Dad: This film reflected the relationship between father and daughter through a series of letters he sent when she was young, and her inability to talk about societal traditions that destroyed their relationship. The film was presented in part through exceptional animation and imparted an important message.
Save The Bees: A grisly accident takes two people on a journey to save themselves, in the end however, no one is saved, aside from the bees…An emotional rollercoaster that makes one wonder: would I do the right thing or the wrong thing in their situation?
The Treatment: This film came in number three for me, and that was a tough decision…A couple visiting a clinic to restore hair loss for the balding husband seems simple enough, until the strange and tragic side effect is revealed. The film was full of surprises and dark humor and left the viewer wondering.
Freefall: This film was based on a true story revolving around the New York Trade Center attacks on 9/11 and the dark world of finance. Although it was extremely well done, the truth and grim realities of that fateful day left many of us feeling sad and angry.
Fetish: The introduction by the directors and the lead actress set the stage for what was a highly amusing, albeit disturbing film. An Asian American woman’s one night stand leads to a pleasant breakfast that quickly turns into an internal debate on how to handle unconscious racism. This film was also in the top two for me, and carried with it every component of a great film, especially the ending, which was fantastic.
Freedom Swimmer: A powerful story of a man who escapes mainland China for Hong Kong at a time when the city was a refuge, and sadly reflects the parallels to modern day Hong Kong and the lack of freedom that now exists. The mostly animated film is a must watch.
The Blanket: Its 1939 in the dead of a Finland winter. The story reveals the dangerous life many endured during the war, including that of a young girl tasked with helping her mother and baby brother.
Warsha: This film tells the story of a Beirut man’s desire to live out his secret life. An excellent portrayal of a society that disallows freedom of expression, but also the determination to make that life a reality, albeit a secret one.
The Big Green: While investigating the damage done by environmentalists to her logging company, a woman finds herself in a precarious situation, but also learns an important lesson about not just her survival, but the survival of our environment.
“Back in late 2000 after we had converted The Lynwood Theatre into an arthouse/independent film house, I got a phone call out of the blue from some crazy Australian wanting me to sign up to show his short film collection in September the following year,” Tj explained. “Being a cheeky monkey myself, I told him I don’t show anything I haven’t vetted, so he sent me that year’s short compilation.”
When the DVD arrived, Tj and Ron Carlson, who helped her manage The Lynwood Theatre, gave it a go, “The first film was certainly okay; the second was pretty good. But the third film . . . absolutely sizzled our cranial circuits,” she recalled. “You know that emoji 🤯? That was Ron and I for about 15 minutes with the disk on pause. And when we could finally speak again, I told Ron, ‘I don’t care if the rest of this disk contains cereal commercials, I’m showing his collection next year no matter what it turns out to be!’”
“That was 22 years ago, and by golly, we’ve never been sorry. That crazy Australian is Nicholas Mason, founder and powerhouse behind THE MANHATTAN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, whom audiences meet at the beginning of the show and at the end,” Tj noted. “Nick and I have had a 22-year relationship of laughter and respect and love of film which has morphed into a warm friendship – of which I am most grateful,” she said.
Tj went on to explain the importance of the MANHATTAN SHORT for filmmakers. Its not only an honor to be selected, which comes with the prestige of being part of the MANHATTAN SHORT’S collection, but it also means their films will be viewed worldwide. In addition, the films are shown to the Short Film Committee of the Academy Awards. Over the past 25 years, a little over a dozen MANHATTAN SHORT films have been nominated for the Oscar and two have won.
This was Tj’s first year on the official selection committee. When I asked how long it took to review that many films, she said “When I do this kind of work, I’m totally ‘in the zone’ and time has no meaning. Ten to 20 years ago, while taking shifts at the theatre, I used to attend the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) and devoutly watched over 100 films in five weeks in search of potential movies for The Lynwood. Reviewing shorts is very much the same: Keep very good notes about what you’ve seen.”
“And like SIFF, MANHATTAN SHORT takes you around the world and into other people’s cultures, lives and histories – places exotic and personal with outcomes sometimes profound – to enrich understanding and acceptance,” Tj said. “And that is why I LOVE doing what I do – sharing the power and magic of film.”
Unfortunately, if you missed the film festival this year, you’re out of luck, however, you can get a taste of what the festival offers through DVD’s, which feature past finalists, and have your own MANHATTAN SHORT film festival in your living room. They can be purchased at https://www.manhattanshort.com/purchase-dvds.html.
Votes are sent through to MANHATTAN SHORT HQ with the winner announced at ManhattanShort.com on Monday October 3, 2022.
*Images and logos provided by Manhattan Short and Margaret Millmore
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