The Manhattan Short Film Festival returned to the Reno this year, presenting nine short films out of 1,665 entries from 73 countries. Films included Baghead, Fire In Cardboard City, Home Shopper, Her, Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times, Someone, Chuchotage, Fauve (Five) and Lacrimosa.
The event was hosted hosted by the Joe Crowley Student Union in collaboration with KUNR, from Friday, Sept. 28, to Sunday, Sept. 30. It kicked off with an introduction from General Manager of KUNR David Stipech, who welcomed audience members and Nicholas Mason, founder of Manhattan Short, via video.
Baghead was directed by Alberto Corredo Marina. The film centered around a grieving man looking for closure, though that closure comes from the most unconventional means. This film tackled grief and closure very well, and had very creepy and eerie vibe to it all. The lighting gave the film this grimey green tint and the use of shadows also helped bring out that creepiness even more.
Fire In Cardboard City, directed by Phil Brough, centered on a fire department that tried to put out a fire. The film was an animated feature that contained an entire setting and people made of cardboard. This film was one of the lighter/comedic one out of the nine, and had very playful vibe.
Home Shopper was directed by Dev Patel. This was the actor’s first film as a director, and centered on a wife who, in her failing marriage, found comfort in a home shopping network. This film was more along the lines of dark comedy, but was well executed and a great first short from Patel.
Her or Ajo was directed and written by More Raca. The film dove into problems that women face, notably unequal treatment and domestic violence. It centered on a mother and daughter and how they dealt with these issues. What the film did well is the use of silence, which could make things very tense at times. Raca’s direction and writing came through well in this film and really highlight concerning issues that women face everyday.
Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times, directed and written by Marcus Markou, had the longest title out of the short films and was pretty self-explanatory. The different interactions between two strangers build off of one another quite well. It’s through these interactions that the theme of prejudice is addressed, but through understanding is that prejudice overcome.
Someone was directed by Marco Gadge. This film was based on true events that occurred at the end of World War II, when Russian forces invaded a German town and a small family was caught in the center of it. Being based on true events added another layer to the film, and highlights how there was wrong done on both sides of the conflict. Ultimately, the people caught in the middle of it were affected greatly. This film is reminder to not forget those mistakes but more importantly to learn from them.
Chuchotage, which means whisper, was directed by Barnabás Tóth and followed two interpreters helping at a press conference while trying to get the attention of a listener. Both of these interpreters still find a way to have fun doing their job, which they performed quite well. It’s humorous to see them both attempt to get the attention of a particular listener/attendee of the conference. After seeing something heavy like Someone, this was a nice one to help relieve the audience.
However, Fauve (Five) is another one that hit the audience with some heavy themes. Directed by Jérémy Comte, the film focused on two boys who initially were just having some fun, but one quickly disappeared. This was a bit of a depressing film. While the others were dealing with some heavy subjects, this film’s more drastic take on childhood was a little too much. The climax and the ending of this film hits audiences and lingers with them even after it’s over.
Finally, Lacrimosa was directed by Tanja Mairitsch, and was about a young woman who met her lover in a surreal world, before realizing not everything is as it seems. This film was the most visually appealing out of the nine. Despite being in black and white, a lot of the artistic choice in this film really helped sell the surreal world that the two characters were in. That being said, the film was more artistic and wasn’t anything new. By the time it was revealed what was going on, audiences might have been taken out of the experience.
Out of these nine films, only one will be selected as the winner through audience votes. The winner will be announced Monday, Oct. 8, on the Manhattan Short’s website, www.manhattanshort.com.