It's OK to Judge — Film Festival Wants You

An audience spread out all over the country will vote on the best short films

Niche film festivals are all the rage these days, think Sundance, Tribeca, even the Toronto Film Festival. Their success is attributed mostly to the fact that the glitz and glam of Hollywood does not permeate the air and stars can let their hair down and enjoy the art of film in its rawest form. If this dressed-down version of Tinsel Town sounds like fun, there's a local film festival hitting Hartford this week that could be just for you.

The 12th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival screens at The Aetna Theatre at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art on Thursday, Sept. 24, Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. Filmgoers in Hartford will unite with audiences in 172 additional cities across five continents to view and judge the next generation of filmmakers.

Garde Arts Center in New London is also participating on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Just think, this is your chance to spot the next M. Knight Shyamalan (before The Village) or Kevin Smith (preceding Clerks II).

This year, the festival received 428 entries from 36 countries around the world from which 10 short films – all 14 minutes and under – were selected. Filmgoers will be handed a voting card and asked to vote for the one film they feel should win. Votes are tallied at each cinema and forwarded to the festival’s headquarters in New York City, where the winner will be announced on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Finalists 2009

  • Boundary (USA) – Julius Onah
  • Mozambique (Mozambique) – Alcides Soares
  • Parking (Spain) – Jorge Molina
  • Plastic (Australia) - Sandy Widyanata
  • Lashabiya (Israel) – Yehezkel Lazarov
  • Love Child (Sweden) – Daniel Wirthberg
  • Skizein (France) – Jeremy Clapin
  • A’Mare (Italy) – Martina Amati
  • Miente (Spain) – Isabel De Ocampo
  • Hammerhead (UK) - Sam Donovan  

Detailed interviews with the 10 finalists are available on the film festival Web site.

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