Virginia Film Society Presents 'Manhattan Short Film Festival'

September 05, 2006
Sept. 5, 2006 -- "Manhattan Short Film Festival," a special event featuring the most creative short films from around the world will cast local cinema-goers in the role of judges to determine the best short films. The festival comes to Charlottesville for its return visit to the Virginia Film Society on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m at Vinegar Hill Theatre. Within a 10-day period, audience members in 33 states, three Canadian provinces and 12 European countries, will be handed a voting card upon entry and asked to vote for the one film they feel should win the festival. The winner is announced on the festivals website at after Sept. 24. Last years program delighted the Charlottesville audience, and the quality of this years films is again exceptionally strong.

Twelve films from nine countries were selected as finalists to be screened at the festival and include dramas, documentaries and animated shorts.

The U.S. films include "Fabers Nerve" by Morgan Miller, in which a retiring dentist shares the challenges of his career; "Third Parent" by Christina Frenzel, which examines family dynamics, especially the effects on an adolescent sibling when one of the children is autistic; and "Hollywood Photos of Katie Mills" by Paul Tompkins, in which a starlet finds out if she is willing to do whatever it takes to break into films.

Two films represent the United Kingdon: "Mowing the Lawn" by Michael Bentham imagines how the transforming power of music can bridge doubts and dreams when history is being made, and stars Rick Warden (Band of Brothers, Rome); and "Who I Am and What I Want," an animated adaptation of cartoonist Dave Shrigleys autobiographical book by Chris Shepherd (director and writer of the internationally acclaimed animated short "Dads Dead") and Dave Shrigley.

From Ireland, director Conor Morris portrays the marital conflict secrets cause in "Last Night." A separation fence between Palestine and an Israeli Kibbutz was the impetus for "Offside," the second film in a Middle East trilogy by Israeli filmmakers Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv. In his film "Cigarette Box," Polish director Tomek Matuszezak explores the relationship between a father and son set in the 1950s communist era in his country. The Cuban film "Lyra Lezama" by Clayton Haskell explores how winning a U.S. visa lottery changes the relationship between a young woman and her family. The death of a blind mans dog is the focus of Spanish directors Salvatore Gomez Cuenca drama "Without Seeing," and in his film "Security," German director Lars Henning explores power. A couple confronts the nature of their relationship and each other in Australian director Kyle Blanshards eighth short film "Serenade."

All Virginia Film Society events are co-sponsored by the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Most screenings feature special guest speakers. Screenings are held at Vinegar Hill Theatre at 7 p.m. Admission to individual screenings is $8 and free to Film Society members.

Membership for the Virginia Film Society is just $50 ($40 for students and seniors). Membership benefits include admission to 12 screenings (through the spring season), a free pass to Regal Cinemas, $2 off rentals on Mondays at Sneak Reviews (non-new releases only) and $6 Tuesday movies at Vinegar Hill. Individual admission tickets may also be purchased 30 minutes before the screening at the venue box office, when seats are available.

For more information on membership in the Virginia Film Society, or to view the full fall season schedule, visit


"Last Night"
Directed by Conor Morrissey
This film is based on a Morrissey nightmare that explores the persistence of darkness that endures after waking. Trying to revive their marriage, a couple (played by Liam Cunningham and Orla Brady) arrive at a luxurious hideaway deep in the Irish countryside. As the night progresses, a dreadful secret is revealed.

"Fabers Nerve"
Directed by Morgan Miller
Retiring Manhattan dentist Stuart Faber reflects on his career and challenges. Once in a while you say, gee did I do that? I could have done a better job.

"Third Parent"
Directed by Christina Frenzel
The short documentary explores the relationship between an 11-year-old and her autistic five-year old brother and the impact a disabled child has on family dynamics and an emerging adolescent. The film raises awareness about autism and the societal support families require when raising a child with autism.

"Hollywood Photos of Katie Mills"
Director Paul Tompkins
Starlet Katie Mills grapples with her higher purpose goals as she tries to make it in Hollywood movies. A photo shoot for an upcoming audition will test whether shes willing to do whatever it takes to get the part.

"Who I Am and What I Want"
Directed by Chris Shepherd and Dave Shrigley
United Kingdom
Based on Dave Shrigleys mock autobiographical book by the same name, the animated film explores the pop artists seductive and amusing scrawls showcasing lifes anxieties and ambitions drawn from the unconscious.

Directors Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv
A separation fence between the Palestinians and a Kibbutz is the location of this film that portrays everyday life in Israel. A radio plays a pivotal role in the second film of the directors trilogy about the Middle East conflict. One fence, four fans, and the game of their lives.

"Cigarette Box"
Directed by Tomek Matuszezak
During the communist era in 1950s Poland, a young boy discovers his fathers secret, which changes his entire life.

"Lyra Lezama"

Directed by Clayton Haskell
Havana resident Lyra Lezama wins a U.S. visa lottery. Based on a true story, the film explores her struggles to understand what the win means to her and her family.

"Without Seeing"
Directed by Salvatore Gomez Cuenca
A 45-year-old blind mans life is shattered by the death of Pluto, his guide dog and faithful companion.

Directed by Lars Henning
Henning explores the motives of small people with a lot of power in this film, which portrays a woman caught stealing in a supermarket by a security guard. Totally out of character, he decides to let her go only to have her show up in the market the next day.

Directed by Kyle Blanshard
Are we ever completely honest with the person we love? On an innocent night on the town, Marie and Julian confront the nature of their relationship and each other.

"Mowing the Lawn"
Directed by Michael Bentham
United Kingdom
This film about human triumph looks at a 20th century pioneer as he faces the unknown frozen with fear.