Film Festival arrives at Hayward | Regional
While local moviegoers have been enjoying the Manhattan Short Film Festival’s annual screening at Park Center for more than a decade, scheduled for September 25 this year, most don’t realize the event’s growth dates back 20 years. at a turning point in our nation’s history – September 11.
In 2011, the founding director of Manhattan Short recalled that fateful fall of 2001.
The festival, Mason said on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, was founded in September 1998 when he mounted a screen on the side of a truck on Mulberry Street in New York City and screened 16 short films. About 300 people watched. The following year, the event took place in Union Square and films were also shown in restaurants and clubs. During these years, films were judged by celebrities from the world of cinema.
“I was living in a hotel in New York and I remember telling a friend who was about to return to Canada that this event was becoming so easy to organize that I could do it with my eyes closed and how I had to do more with it. my life, ”Mason said.
It was September 10, 2001. And then came September 11.
“The next day the world as we knew it changed. In the weeks that followed in (New York), Union Square became a sanctuary, a place where New Yorkers gathered to mourn the destruction and massive loss of life at the World Trade Center.
The festival was scheduled to take place in the park on September 23, but Mason thought it should be canceled given the circumstances.
“To my surprise, I got a call from the New York Parks Department asking me to make sure we were moving forward with the festival. We did not anticipate the amount of media coverage we would receive for the event from the various countries whose filmmakers were represented. This resulted in stories from the festival being seen on news channels around the world. “
That year’s festival created a moment of solidarity felt not only in New York City, but around the world.
“Over the next few years, we got twice as many films from twice as many countries,” Mason said. “After watching all of the short films, I realized that these films were much more revealing about how the world felt than watching the BBC, NBC or any other news channel in the world. The idea of sharing them. with an even larger audience has therefore become my mission.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the horrors of 2001, but in Hayward, 2021 marks the 11th anniversary of the local screening of the Manhattan Short film festival.
Park Center volunteer Iras Humphries has coordinated this festival in Hayward since 2010.
In 2009, Humphries attended a Manhattan Shorts screening in Minnesota and brought the idea back to the park, and the rest is history.
“We’ve had this constant crowd every year since the start that really enjoys these movies, coming from north of Ashland and Washburn, and south of Rice Lake. People come from many different small towns to see these movies, ”Humphries said.
Around the world, the festival is screened in more than 400 venues. In Wisconsin, it is distributed to only nine, including six local libraries.
Humphries is happy that at Hayward, the festival is seen on the big screen.
“It’s a different feeling in the theater,” she said. “People react to films when they watch them in community with other moviegoers. It is a wonderful experience.
Unlike the early years of the festival when celebrities were the judges, at today’s Manhattan Shorts Festival, held around the world between September 23 and October 3, audience members are the judges.
Here’s how it works: The 10 finalist films are screened in theaters around the world, including Hayward’s Park Center, for one week. The awards for best film and best actor are determined by the votes of the public in the participating theaters.
Those who attend the screening at the Park Center on September 25 will receive a voting card to vote on.
Tickets for the Manhattan Short Festival at Park Center in Hayward cost $ 15 in advance or at the door. Students 18 and under are $ 5. The subject can be mature in nature.
Advance tickets are available at Out of the Woods Winery, Hayward; Redbery Books, Cable; The punk whistle, Stone Lake; and online at www.theparkcenter.com.
Masks are mandatory inside the Park Center at the moment.
Information provided by the Park Center.