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Arts and Entertainment

MSU Participates In 22nd Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival

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Missouri State University Department of Media, Journalism & Film

Audiences in over 400 cities across six continents will view and judge the work of emerging filmmakers from around the world during the 22nd Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival over the next few weeks. Until this year the Missouri State campus has been the only venue in the state to participate in Manhattan Short. This year the Joplin Public Library and the Jefferson County (southwest of the St. Louis metro) are participating for the first time, according to Tim White from the MSU Department of Media, Journalism and Film, who joined us on “Arts News” to talk about the 2019 Manhattan Short. “We’re no longer the only location in Missouri,” said White, who added with a laugh, “but we’re the best location!”

Ten short films, finalists selected by an expert committee from among 1,250 submissions from seventy countries, will screen at the Plaster Student Union Theatre on the Missouri State campus on Saturday September 28 starting at 7:00 pm. Viewers around the world vote on their choices of Best Film and Best Actor.  The results of the voting are forwarded to Manhattan Short headquarters in New York, and this year’s winners will be announced at manhattanshort.com on Monday October 7th at 10:00am Eastern/9:00am Central. “It’s ‘people’s choice,’” said Tim White. White will post the results on the MSU Media, Journalism and Film Facebook page. He will also post the results from the Springfield Manhattan Short screening.

This year’s finalists hail from seven countries, including two films from the United States. Other countries represented by one finalist each are France, Iran, Canada and Finland.  Great Britain set a record this year with three finalists. “Actually, one of those (British films) is my favorite,” said Tim White—but he refused to divulge which one. “I don’t want to prejudice people.”

Manhattan Short has historically been a showcase for female directors, and five of the “Final Ten” films this year were directed by women.  Tim White called that “progress,” but he added, “I wish we had more participation from Asia and from South America. But it’s growing every year, getting more and more countries involved in it.”

White said only some of the filmmakers could be classified as “professional.” Some entrants every year produce these shorter films in order to eventually “sell the idea of a feature film” on the same subject, or expand the short films to feature-film length.

“One of the things I think is a bit different this year is (the films are) a little bit more serious this year, a few more dramas, than we’ve had in the past.”  All ten films are automatically qualified for consideration in the short-film category at the Academy Awards. “They are not always all nominated, but they often are, and sometimes they win,” said Tim White.

The full program of ten films will take about two and a half hours including intermission, said White. Doors open at 6:30pm on the 28th.

While the Joplin and Jefferson County screenings are free, MSU does require $10 for admission to its Manhattan Short screening. But there’s a good reason, according to Tim White: all proceeds go to a scholarship fund for MSU Digital Film Production students. “If you come, it’s for a great cause. And people always really, really enjoy these films. We’ve had coming back for over ten years.

For more information on the Springfield screening, contact Tim White at TRWhite@MissouriState.edu, or call the Department of Media, Journalism & Film at 836-5218. Read more about the MSU screening at https://calendar.missouristate.edu/event/105258/201089.