MSU Media, Journalism & Film Hosts the 19th Manhattan Short Film Festival

Sep 17, 2016

Missouri State University's Plaster Student Union Theatre is the only venue in the region where you can view the ten finalists in the international Manhattan Short Film Festival.
Credit (Logo courtesy Manhattan Short Film Festival)

The Missouri State University Department of Media, Journalism and Film will once again be the ONLY venue in the state of Missouri for the 19th annual Manhattan Short Film Festival, Saturday Sept.24 at 7:00pm in Plaster Student Union Theatre.  Over a one-week period, more than 100,000 people around the world view and vote for the film they think is best — making this the only global audience-choice film festival in the world. Ten outstanding films were selected from 844 entries submitted by 52 countries this year.

MSU Associate Professor Dr. Timothy White explains whose job it was to boil that huge number of films down to ten finalists.  “The Manhattan Short Film Festival committee watches all these things—and that’s a lot of movies to watch!  And it takes them a year to go through all these movies and boil it down to ten. But they always come up with ten really good films.”

After the ten finalists are viewed by members of the public in venues all over the world, the results are sent back to Manhattan Short headquarters in New York, and they announce the results a few days later.

This year, says Dr. White, the ten films represent eight countries—only one of those comes from the United States. “I think part of the reason is that, in a lot of countries that don’t necessarily have thriving feature film industries, there are a lot of people making short films. So I think some of those countries probably show up more often, although this year we have two films from France and two from Australia” –both of which, of course, have thriving feature-film industries.  “But there’s one from The Netherlands, one from Germany, one from England. Norway—Norway usually has a film.  And we have one from Russia too this year, which should be interesting.”

So what does Manhattan Short mean exactly by “short film?” “Generally they mean under 30 minutes,” says Dr. White. “And most of these films are somewhere around 10 minutes; there is one that is 18 minutes, and one that is only 5 minutes long.”  These are nearly always narrative films (as opposed to documentaries)—“and maybe films that sort of push the limits of what ‘narrative’ actually is.  Generally with the animation, often we get those kinds of non-narrative films.  In fact, last year two of the animated films were nominated for Oscars, and one actually won the Oscar for Best Animated Short.” Adds Dr. White with a laugh, “That’s the one I liked the best—nobody else here liked it!”  Which, of course, gives Tim the privilege of saying, “I was right!”

You’re invited to come enjoy a great evening of short films and cast your ballot at Missouri State University's Plaster Student Union Theatre. Admission is $10.00, with all proceeds supporting the MSU Digital Film Production scholarship.  “Just so people know that this money is being put to good use,” says Dr. Tim White, “on my way over here (to KSMU) I just got news that one of the films that was produced by one of our students in the Electronic Arts program—a movie called Counting to One Thousand—has been chosen for five film festivals.  And the lead actress was just chosen to star in the new Pacific Rim film.  That’s Cailee Spaeny. (Read about her at http://variety.com/2016/film/news/cailee-spaeny-cast-in-pacific-rim-sequel-1201861762/.) Josh Pfaff was the director of that film. (Info on the film is at http://countingto1000.com/.) So our students are doing good work and we want to keep supporting them as much as we can.”

In addition to the viewing of the ten short films, Dr. White promises “we will have doorprizes: DVDs of movies that have been produced by our students. I think we have something like 12 of these DVDs. So people should hang onto their tickets, because we will have that drawing in the intermission.”  The $10.00 tickets will be available at the door, but be advised that MSU Media/Journalism/Film is not set up to take credit cards—cash and checks only.  “We will take checks... and we’ll take cash—as much cash as you can give us!” laughs Tim White.  

Due to the fact that Springfield is the only venue in the entire region where the Manhattan Short Film Festival can be viewed, says Dr. White, “we always have people from Arkansas, Kansas City, St. Louis, because this is the only way they’re going to see these films around here.”

The winning films will be posted at www.manhattanshort.com, and on MSU’s Media, Journalism and Film Facebook page. For more information contact Dr. Tim White at 836-5218 or email trwhite@missouristate.edu.