Short flicks fes­ti­val fills tall or­der

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

FIF­TEEN years ago, an Aus­tralian trav­eller screened 16 short films on the side of a truck in New York. Now, Man­hat­tan Short is a global film event. From to­mor­row to Oc­to­ber 6, more than 100,000 peo­ple in more than 300 cities across six con­ti­nents will view and vote for their favourite short film. Cine­mas in Kingscliff and By­ron Bay are on board for this year’s event. Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Ni­cholas Mason founded Man­hat­tan Short back in 1998. The first fes­ti­val called on dif­fer­ent coun­tries to sub­mit a short so they had an an­gle to get at the press, a kind of ‘‘Olympics for short films’’. They moved to New York’s Union Square a year later and peo­ple such as Su­san Saran­don and Tim Robbins got on board to judge en­tries. Mason, from Syd­ney, re­calls how he told a friend on Septem­ber 10, 2001 that the show was ready to go for Septem­ber 23. ‘‘And then the next day, New York changed and maybe the world,’’ he says. Mason thought the fes­ti­val would be called off af­ter Septem­ber 11 as mourn­ers gath­ered in Union Square af­ter the at­tacks. In­stead, he was told to ‘‘make sure you go ahead with this film fes­ti­val’’. As a re­sult, the films gar­nered a lot more press at­ten­tion and peo­ple ev­ery­where from Ja­pan to In­dia started sub­mit­ting en­tries. This year’s en­tries have come from 48 coun­tries, with films from the UK, Fin­land, Aus­tralia, France, Ire­land and the US mak­ing up the 10 fi­nal­ists. Mason says Aus­tralia has been in­cluded in the vot­ing cities for the past four years, to ‘‘keep my mum and dad happy’’. ‘‘I sort of send films to mum . . . and she be­comes ob­sessed with them,’’ he says. ‘‘She vir­tu­ally said to me (one year), ‘if you don’t have the one with the dog in it you’re out of the will’.’’ Mason says he tries to in­clude an Aussie film in the 10 fi­nal­ists (it doesn’t al­ways hap­pen). This year’s fi­nal­ists in­clude Aus­tralian film #30, di­rected by Ti­mothy Wilde and star­ring Jessica Vick­ers. ‘‘I’m so bi­ased. I re­ally am,’’ Mason says. ‘‘You can see cer­tain things Aus­tralians do that other coun­tries are just try­ing to do and can’t.’’ Mason hopes to unite the world as the fes­ti­val grows. ‘‘To have ev­ery con­ti­nent in the world view and vote, that’s what the goal of the fes­ti­val is,’’ he says.

#30

The Man­hat­tan Short fes­ti­val fi­nal­ists screen at Cine­max Cin­ema, in Kingscliff, on Satur­day, Sun­day and Wednes­day and at The Pig­house Flicks, By­ron Bay, on Oc­to­ber 4. Visit ms­film­fest.com for de­tails.

Jessica Vick­ers stars in

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