Manhattan Short Film Festival
Quick Take: Ten terrific short foreign films with special filmmaker intros.
Special Appeal: The rare chance to take part in a global film festival.
Presented by Flat Rock Cinema for two days: Sunday, September 27 and Monday, September 28, at 3 and 7pm both days. (Tickets are available online at www.flatrockcinema.com or at the box office.) 2700-D Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock.
Length: From 3 to 23 minutes.
Seven languages with easy-to-read English subtitles.
Sometimes the best way to see great foreign films is to live in small-town America. Such as in Flat Rock, where, this month, Flat Rock Cinema will be the only venue in Western North Carolina showing ten extraordinary short films from a global film festival.
Flat Rock Cinema is an old-fashioned movie theater. Although it can boast state-of-the-art projection, it has only one screen and fewer than 100 seats.
It’s bistro style, meaning you can order refreshments and eat at a cozy round table (or in the stadium-style seats). It’s open six days a week (closed on Mondays) and offers only two shows a day.
The Cinema began life as the Skyland Arts Cinema in Hendersonville, a project of entrepreneur Howard Molton and his wife Barbara. The venue moved to Flat Rock in 2006 (into the same building where Bold Life used to have its offices) and has been a cultural community leader ever since.
“We focus on the movies folks from Flat Rock like to see,” says Howard. Solid human stories, such as Mr. Holmes, this summer’s beautiful English mystery starring Ian McKellen as an aging Sherlock Holmes, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), in which senior citizens find a new lease on life in India. Favorite stars include Meryl Streep and George Clooney. “Vampires and zombies and CGI extravaganzas,” says Howard, “need not apply.”
Howard works with the movie booking agents and handles the theater’s media and its excellent website. Most days of the week, when she’s not taking care of her grandchildren, Barbara is the theater manager. She runs the cinema’s day-to-day activities with the five-person part-time crew she calls her “other family.”
Early this year, Howard got a call from an Aussie-born New York City film booster named Nick Mason, who thought the Flat Rock Cinema had the perfect size and right demographics to join 148 other American venues as a host for his exciting Manhattan Short film festival (www.manhattanshort.com) .
The festival’s “You Be the Judge” concept allows the audience — not celebrity judges — to decide who gets the awards for Best Film and Best Actor. The winners, of course, gain a lot of attention in the film industry — so in a very real way, audience members can impact the careers of young filmmakers.
Marcianne Miller is a member of SEFCA (Southeast Film Critics Association) and NCFCA (North Carolina Film Critics Association). E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.