Worlds' first global film festival comes to Bama Theatre

Worlds' first global film festival comes to Bama Theatre

CW / Laura Johnson

The world’s first global film festival, Manhattan Short, will make its way to the Bama Theatre Sept. 29. Community members are invited to watch 10 films compiled into a two hour show. These films will be showing in similar venues all over the world.

Nick Mason, founding director of Manhattan Short, said the idea was to bring everyone together for a week of watching short films from all over the world. His idea started out in Little Italy, New York, back in 1998, when Mason showed a small audience of 300 people 16 short films projected to the side of a bus.

“That was the first Manhattan Short festival so to speak,” Mason said.

The next festival was held in Union Square Park, New York. It was scheduled for September 23rd 2001, which Mason originally thought would be problematic.

“It was 12 days after 9/11,” Mason said. “But the city reached out to us and told us to go ahead." 

People and the media had been gathering at the park as a place of refuge, where citizens grieved their losses together. The festival was able to continue as scheduled, which grabbed the attention of the global media.

They received double the amount of entries the next year. Mason said he went through the submissions and found them really inspiring, as they showed ideals and cultures from all over the world.

“It got a lot of attention and became national news,” Mason said. “Those submissions were really good at summing up how the world was feeling.”

In 2004 the festival went digital, and an added feature was voting for the winner. From there, Mason said the festival has spread to over 250 cities in 6 continents. The festival is a week long and people can find the nearest venue to them where they show will play.

In Tuscaloosa, the Bama Theatre will host the event at 7:30 each night. David Allgood, the manager, said it’s off campus, which gives a chance for students to get out of the dorms.

“We’ve had this event for a number of years,” Allgood said. “People who attend get to vote on the movies, and this is happening all over the world. It’s only available for a few days worldwide.”

The doors will open at 6:30 and will be selling popcorn, candy, craft beer, wine and other refreshments.

“It’s a social experience,” Allgood said. “People can come in early to meet at the bar and get out of the house. It’s not on campus, so it’s an adventure to come the extra mile. These are not movies you will see on Netflix or Hulu, these [films] are first-run.

Even if not for the social aspect, Allgood said people who haven’t come before should.

“We hope that students come to the short film festival because it’s a new experience and maybe some will get out of their comfort zone,” Allgood said. “You get to see films from a different point of view, not just American. There are several countries and cultures that are just as viable as ours. It’s a chance to see a viewpoint of another culture, and maybe even open their eyes to some new ideas.”

Mason said he hopes to continue growing the festival so that every country will get a chance to experience it.

“Come see true stories that will make you think of the world differently,” Mason said. “You’re doing yourself an injustice by not going. It’s inspiring to go, the whole world is going, so why shouldn’t you?”

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