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*All 31 "Prompts" might not be featured on this blog; I have my own schedule and topics to adhere to.

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Wednesday
Oct102018

Extraordinary Films with Mysterious Pubs and Funny Hungarian Interpreters among Winners Crowned at MANHATTAN SHORT

Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times, written and directed by Marcus Marcou, was crowned the Gold Medal when the 21st Annual MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival announced this year's winners on Monday. Made in the United Kingdom, Marcou's film is about two men who meet at key turning points over the course of their lives.

The initial conflict gives way to compassion and eventual friendship. Chuchotage directed by Barnabás Tóth received the Silver Medal, with the Bronze Medal going to Baghead directed by Alberto Corredor Marina. "From over 350 venues worldwide, we're amazed that only 3 votes separated 2nd and 3rd place," notes MANHATTAN SHORT Founding Director Nicholas Mason.

Made in Hungary, Chuchotage is about two interpreters in the hungarian booth who hilariously ie for the attention of one listener during a professional conference in Prague. Made in England, Baghead tells the story of a man who is haunted by grief. He asks questions only the recently deceased can answer.

The dead get their say in the hidden chamber of a mysterious pub. You may not like what you hear.

The Gold Medal for Best Actor went to Felix Grenie for his breakout performance in Fauve directed by Jérémy Comte.

Made in Canada, Fauve is a Sundance award-winning film about two boys playing in an abandoned surface mine. They take turns outdoing each other until the stakes are suddenly raised and it's no longer a game.

Congratulations to all of the films and to 10 year-old Felix Grenie on his Best Actor Win for Fauve!

Thursday
Sep272018

Become an Instant Film Critic at MANHATTAN SHORT, Now Showing at a Venue Near You!

An extraordinary range of film genres will be on view this weekend -- all eligible for an Academy Award nomination.

Upon entry to the screening, attendees will become instant film critics as they are handed a ballot that allows them vote for the Best Actor and Best Film.Which of these nine OSCAR qualifying short films is the best? You be the judge, as Filmgoers in Philadelphia unite with audiences in 300 cities spanning six continents to view and vote for intimate dramas, fast-paced animation, a World War II epic, a film shot entirely underwater and comedy when the 21st Annual MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival screens at The Madlab Post studio.

Join us in Philly for this awesome show!

SHOWTIMES

*NOW PLAYING in PHILADELPHIA through OCTOBER 7*

  • Thursday, September 27 - 6:30PM
  • Friday, September 28 - 2:00PM (Afternoon Show) | 6:30PM (Evening Show)
  • Saturday, September 29 - 1:00PM
  • Sunday, September 30 - 11:00AM (Morning Show) | 4:00PM (Afternoon Show)
  • Thursday, October 4 - 6:30PM
  • Friday, October 5 - 2:00PM (Afternoon Show) | 6:30PM (Evening Show)
  • Saturday, October 6 - 1:00PM (Afternoon Show) | 6:30PM (Evening Show)
  • Sunday, October 7- 4:00PM (Afternoon Show)

Upon entry to the screening, attendees will become instant film critics as they are handed a ballot that allows them vote for the Best Actor and Best Film. Votes will be sent to MANHATTAN SHORT HQ with the winner announced on Monday October 8, at 10AM EST.

Tell everyone you know! GRAB YOUR SEAT HERE

Wednesday
Sep192018

'Little Woods' Outlaw Heroine Tessa Thompson puts Spotlight on Sisterhood at Urbanworld Film Festival

During a recent girl's night I attended, someone sparked a discussion about actors who are so compelling that they are the main reason you will go see a movie in theaters. Tessa Thompson (Sorry to Bother You,Thor: Ragnarok, Westworld, Creed) is among those actresses for me.

Sitting in the film still for Little Woods, her image stopped me dead in my tracks as I scrolled through the 22nd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival schedule this week. I'm glad it did because I would have surely overlooked this western movie about a woman on parole for smuggling medicine to residents in a rural North Dakota town.

When I think of westerns, I picture an old movie from the 70s with cowboys, barndoors and pistols. That is where my mind goes despite knowing good and well there's more to the genre. Adding a modern take on the typical western movie, Little Woods is the directorial debut of Nia DaCosta, a New York native who developed the film for 2 years; starting at the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab.

DaCosta set out to humanize the conversations surrounding healthcare and women's reproductive rights -- topics she says have been overly politicized -- in hopes that her film will serve as a vehicle for understanding among audiences. In Little Woods, two estranged sisters living in poverty work outside of the law to improve their circumstances. Tessa Thompson plays Ollie, a woman who has abandoned her former ways of drug trafficking and helping struggling residents of the oil fracking boomtown in North Dakota sneak across the Canadian border for life or death medical procedures.

English actress Lily James (Baby Driver, Cinderella, Downtown Abbey) plays Deb, Ollie's sister who shows up in crises with a young child and an unexpected pregnancy. Facing foreclosure on the home inheritied from her adopted mother, Ollie must make extreme decisions about whether she will return to her old way of life, risking prison to help keep a roof over her family's head.  

One of the most fascinating things about making movies is how much you learn about the world, or some aspect thereof, as a byproduct of the film. DaCosta deliberately set her film in a fictional town based on Willinston, North Dakota -- where men out number women 2 to 1. Through research, interviews and visits to Willinston, she found out that the town is one of the hardest places to get an abortion, among other needs. The Little Woods director became inspired to tell a story about women in rural America and the hardships they experience regarding access to healthcare.

Upon further reading about this movie, I am reminded about DaCosta's point of there being differences between women's experiences right here in the U.S. and these hardships are rarely part of the public discourse. I would add that its partly because few people outside of rural areas know about the difficulties women endure in rural America, or that the towns even exist.

Before clicking on Tessa Thompson's Little Woods photo, I don't think I've ever heard of Willinston, North Dakota. Reading about Thompson's visit to the town -- where locals told her about the violence, women carrying guns just to be able to shop at Walmart safely, and the bleak state of affairs because the jobs are just not there anymore -- gave me a better appreciation for films like Little Woods; and the bonds created between women on and off-camera to shed light on an aspect of the human experience that audiences typically don't see on the big screen.