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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Film festival brings voters together from more than 20 countries

    Audiences around the world will unite this week to name the best short film of the year, and Tucson is a part of the fun.

    The Loft Cinema will host the 10th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival tonight. This is the second year the theater has hosted the event, said Jeff Yanc, Loft program director.

    “”There has been a lot of interest,”” Yanc said. “”It gives us the opportunity to show short films and expose them to people in Tucson.””

    The film festival is being held in 99 cities and includes three different continents, said Nicholas Mason, the festival’s founder and director. It showcases 12 short films of 12 minutes or fewer.

    Mason started the festival in 1997 in New York City. The festival was held in Union Square Park, and the films were projected on to the side of a large truck. Back then they were judged by big-name actors such as Susan Sarandon and Laura Linney.

    The format changed after 9/11, as the festival began getting immense publicity due to its location.

    “”Union Square became the central place for camera crews covering the tragedy,”” he said. “”And since we were holding our event there, we could see the crews making stories out of our festival.””

    In 2002, Mason received many more entries than he ever had before.

    “”(The films) pretty much summed up what was happening in the world,”” he said. “”I just didn’t realize how scared the world was. I realized we could have the world come together for this event.””

    Over the past few years, the festival has grown from a few cities in the United States to more than 20 countries. A past winner, “”Little Terrorist,”” was even nominated for an Academy Award in 2005.

    This year the short films represent the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Israel, Spain, Singapore, Kenya and Australia.

    “”It’s really diverse,”” Yanc said. “”I am excited about the film from Nigeria.””

    “”I don’t know that anyone in Tucson knows how big this is,”” Mason said. “”I think it is really important that they know about it.””

    After all the short films are viewed, audience members will receive a voter’s card and can choose which film they liked the best, Mason said.

    “”The audience actually votes,”” said Yanc. “”It gathers people together. Our hope is that is inspires people to make their own short films.””

    The winner will be announced on Sept. 30 at Union Square Park.

    “”When people are all voting at the same time, it makes them feel close,”” Mason said. “”(This) is becoming a lot more than just a film festival. My goal is to be on every continent in the world.””

    The 10th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival will take place tonight at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., at 7:30. Admission is $8. For more information, call 795-0844 or visit < a href=””””>

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