The Manhattan Short was screened in Mumbai for the 3rd consecutive year where film buffs, Bollywood celebrities, Mumbai’s party-hearty media and people from other walks of life, saw a selection of world-class films including a BAFTA nominee (Two And Two by Babak Anvari of the UK).
While Romanian film Superman, Spiderman or Batman won the top prize at the 15th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival, another entry, Behind The Mirrors (Peru) was actually an experiment by its filmmaker Julio O Ramos to see how the audience receive his idea before he spins it into a full-length feature film. “The superb response we have received to the Manhattan Short over the last three years has been overwhelming. It shows people are opening up to the genre and want to see short films. Fortunately for us, Nicholas Mason, our founding director, ensures that the films selected at the Manhattan Short are world-class,” says India Festival Director, Anil Sadarangani.
Superman, Spiderman Or Batman is a simple yet deeply touching story of a little boy who does not understand that his mother suffers from a congenital heart disease. He hopes she will get better and had a secret remedy for her problem – one that he will not share with anyone but his mother. It was the simplicity and straightforwardness of this film that won it the top prize at the festival. It was competing with films that had far superior special effects and more complicated stories such as Voice Over from Spain, The Devil’s Ballroom from Norway, A Curious Conjunction Of Coincidences from the Netherlands and Cluck from Ireland among others.
Nicholas Mason, founding director of the festival was unable to make it to the screening but sent a message from the New York headquarters: “We are thrilled that Mumbai has become such an integral part of the Manhattan Short since the part three years. We are looking forward to the time when there will be an Indian entry among the top 10 finalists.”
Every year, the Manhattan Short receives over 500 short film entries from over 45 countries. These entries are shortlisted down to 10 finalists. These 10 finalists are screened at the Manhattan Short in over 200-plus cities around the world. Manhattan Short is considered to showcase a selection of the best short films in the world today. “Nicholas’ belief is that films are made for the people, so it is the people who should decide which film deserves to win a competition. Therefore, at the Manhattan Short, the audience votes the winner. Every audience member coming to see the film is given a voting card. We send the votes to New York and from all the votes tallied, the winner emerges. In the past, winners have won thousands of dollars worth of editing software,” informs Sadarangani. Bhanu Athaiya, India’s first Oscar winner who has been a regular at the Festival says, “The calibre of films is amazing. Given the production values, the entries are feature-film worthy. One looks forward to the Manhattan Short each year for inspiration.”
Sadarangani concludes, “Manhattan Short is fast becoming THE platform for budding filmmakers across the world to be recognised since we’re an Oscar-qualifying film festival.” This year, Box Office India magazine was the festival’s Film Trade Magazine partner, Fun Republic was Multiplex partner, Fantasie Chocolate was Gift partner, Livewires Media Institute was student contest award partner and production support was given by London Eye Media House.