The Manhattan Short Film Festival will be coming to The State Theatre this Sunday, giving the public a chance to view the 10 finalists and vote on their favorite short film.
The festival is an annual event held across the globe celebrating short films from a variety of countries. It started Sept. 28 and will run through Oct.7. Viewers will be given a ballot to choose their favorite film and they will determine the overall winner.
The origins of the festival can be traced back to 1998, when founder Nicholas Mason screened the first short films in the streets of Little Italy, Mason said.
“It was never a basic idea. I started with 10 to 12 films on the back of a truck,” he said.
He was able to move the venue to Union Square Park where famous actors and actresses served as judges. Mason said after the 9/11 attacks Union Square Park became a place where people gathered and this is when his festival really garnered attention.
He began receiving submissions from several different countries and over the years it became a global event, he said.
“It’s interesting you can see their countries and see the country’s colors, the religions and their cultures throughout the film,” Mason said. “The really good ones take pieces of that and bring it into a short story and have it go for 10 minutes. It’s really quite magic.”
In the new age of technology, anyone can create a short film and send it in. Mason said he believes that the public creates the popularity and he wants to give these filmmakers an audience.
Screenplay Director Tom See, who oversees the screenplay competition, also agrees with Mason in the idea of having a wide range of submissions.
“Competitions like this exist in order to further and give some credibility to and give the possibility of being recognized,” See said. “It's not whether or not you are established, it only matters that you have something to say and are able to get it across.”
Mason plans on launching a new campaign in March 2013 that will focus on a feature film festival.
“As a film writer I think we are in for some really exciting times within the next few years and that’s because of some of the people who are reading this article right now,” Mason said. “The technology is there to support them, and there is nothing holding them back.”
Richard Biever, executive director of The State Theatre, said he enjoys hosting the film festival because “the Manhattan Film Festival is one of the classics that’s been around for a while and what’s nice is that the audience gets to vote.”
Through the voting process, it promotes the idea of a more active audience. The viewer is choosing which film he or she likes the most, Biever said.
He said The State Theatre originally opened as a film house, and the event will help to make sure that it is keeping true to its cinematic roots.
“Film is a very important part of our programming and our specialty is independent films and the short films usually fall into that category,” Biever said.
Screenings will take place at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday and tickets are on sale for $8 for the general public and $6 for seniors and students. For more information about the festival, visit manhattanshort.com.