Manhattan Film Festival is not to be missed

Do No Harm, directed by Rosanne Liang in New Zealand, is one of 10 films to be shown at the Manhattan Short Film Festival this weekend at NHTI. Courtesy
Do No Harm, directed by Rosanne Liang in New Zealand, is one of 10 films to be shown at the Manhattan Short Film Festival this weekend at NHTI. Courtesy

There were 1,600 submissions from six continents for this year’s 20th annual Manhattan Short Film Festival, more than doubling the number from last year.

So it’s easy to see why this year’s festival is expected to be the best one yet. From those 1,600 entries, only 10 made the cut and will be shown this week in 44 states in the U.S., eight countries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, as well as Central and South America.

“The quality of the films is so good,” said Steve Ambra, who helps bring the festival to NHTI with Red River’s Barry Steelman.

And it just so happens, that NHTI is one of two locations in New Hampshire – Bethlehem being the other – where you can catch a glimpse of the short films this weekend. It is the 13th year in which NHTI has participated by remotely showing the film fest, and was one of the first spots outside of New York to show it.

There are four screenings this year, Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

It will take a little more than two hours to show all 10 films, with an intermission after the first five.

The films range in time from five to 15 minutes.

“They really have to grab you in the first minute,” Ambra said.

The list of what you’ll see includes: Do No Harm (New Zealand), Behind (Spain), Fickle Bickle (USA), Perfect Day (Spain), Hope Dies Last (United Kingdom), Just Go! (Latvia), Mare Nostrum (Syria), Viola, Franca (Italy), In a Nutshell (Switzerland), and 8 Minutes (Georgia – the country, not the state). It’s the first time the festival has included submissions from Latvia and Syria.

“In some ways they’re darker than in the past,” Ambra said. “But also having an uplifting spirit in tough times.”

Only one of the films is animated, and the audience gets to vote on the Best Film and Best Actor. And not to toot the horn of past audiences too much, but since NHTI began showing the film fest, they have successfully picked the correct winners every year.

“Concord has a very sophisticated film audience,” Ambra said.

The Manhattan Short Film Fest will be shown in the Sweeney Auditorium, which seats 200 comfortably. The evening showings have been known to sell out, so get there a little early to get a seat.

“Because of our location, we have people come from Maine, Northern Massachusetts, Vermont and all over New Hampshire,” Ambra said. “Concord really is a film destination.”

Tickets are $10 and only available at the door. The screenings are free for NHTI students.

For more info and complete details about the films, visit manhattanshort.com.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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