World’s first global film festival ‘The Manhattan Short’ arrived in Mumbai in style and gave full credence to the adage, ‘good things come in small packages’. The coveted platform that travels across the world while showcasing, celebrating and awarding short films is something Indian short film makers anxiously awaited. The three day Manhattan Short Fillm Festival travels to India from 3rd to 5th October 2014 for the fifth consecutive year before its global grand finale.
The festival on Day one opened with a bang with its engaging lineup of short films and workshops. A power-packed workshop ‘The SHORT Film Industry: Boom!’ set the tone of the day when the who’s who of the short Indian film industry including Mr. Sameer Mody of Pocket Films, Film maker, Ms. Paromita Vohra and Mr. Avijit Mukul Kishore, co-curators of The FD Zone shared some valuable insights on the commercial viability of short films.
After a chai break cum a terrific networking opportunity for the aspiring film makers, it was time for the magic of ‘Vote For India’ initiative to unveil, a non-competition section where three winning Indian short films got an opportunity to reach a wider audience in India. The Manhattan Shorts along with its chief patron Vivanta by Taj empowered the audience to select the most deserving winners who bagged a golden opportunity to create a film in association with Vivanta. The screening session began with ‘Vote for India’ first winner ‘Ten Past Twelve’, an 8 minute short film directed by Samay Bhattacharya. The film traces a chance meeting between a film maker and an unexpected visitor on a stormy night and the unexpected turn of events that follow.
The next session showcased the 10 global finalists of Manhattan Shorts 2014’s competitive category. These noteworthy short films that are being screened in every corner of the world the festival is traversing to, reached the Indian audience through a two hour special screening. The global finalists internationally competing among themselves include Ben Brand’s Dutch film ‘97%’, Alix Lambert’s & Sam Chou’s American graphic-novel-style documentary titled ‘Crime’, Josh Soskin’s Mexican film ‘La Carnada’, Bexie Bush’s British film ‘Mend and Make Do’, London based filmmaker Sameer Patel’s drama ‘On the Bridge’, French director Thierry Lorenzi’s thriller ‘On/Off’, James Croke’s Australian film ‘Shift’, Moon Molson’s American emotional drama ‘The Bravest, the Boldest’, Andreas Thaulow’s Norwegian thriller ‘The Fall’ and director Erik Schmitt’s German film ‘Rhino Full Throttle’.
Manhattan Short 2014 believes that audience members are the jury. When the audience enters a Manhattan Short screening, they are handed voting cards. At the end of the screening they vote for the one film they believe should win Manhattan Short global. It's the ultimate award any filmmaker can hope for which is the “audience award.”
The thrilling afternoon session gave way to another exciting evening session that saw two iconic women film editors, Ms. Dipika Kalra known for her editing work for ‘Udaan’ and Ms. Antara Lahiri who has edited the film ‘Bewakoofiyan’ among others. They offered their uninhibited insights on ‘The Joys of Editing Movies’ and encouraged budding film makers to have hands-on knowledge of the editing process in order to effectively express their creativity.
The evening session was studded with another gem from the ‘Vote For India’ initiative, director Romi Meitei’s 14 minute film ‘Rock & Egg’, an unusual story of a young boy who lives in constant fear of his stringent father. The day drew to a close with another glimpse of the global finalists of Manhattan Short 2014.
The Manhattan Short that made a humble beginning in 1998 has truly come a long way. With the support of Vivanta by Taj over the last two years, the festival has emerged as the most sought after platform for budding short film makers to showcase their creativity to the outside world.
Speaking on the uniqueness of the platform, Mr. Anil Sadarangani, Festival Director of Manhattan Short in India expressed, “It feels great to see an idea we brought to India five years back turn into a sought after platform for every young and budding short film maker. The festival powered by audience appeal is unique in its approach as it brings out the best from all over the country and offers a global window to their talent.”
The 17th Manhattan Short on its first day saw an overwhelming response from short film enthusiasts. Based on the gala opening, the upcoming days of this much awaited film fiesta show significant promise of exceeding the expectations of short film makers, participants and the audience alike. All in all, embellished with an enthralling lineup of cinematic works by budding short film makers, day one was a delightful dose of entertainment for one and all.
Manhattan Short 2014, India chapter, scheduled from 3rd October 2014 to 5th October 2014 at Mumbai looks geared up to unveil some pocket size dosages of cinematic expression. The venue Sitara Studio, an erstwhile theatre platform which has recently hosted independent artists of all sorts, promises to add an eclectic vibe to the festival.