Lights, Camera, Action: Manhattan Film Festival

New York City’s very own Manhattan Film Festival was celebrated for its ninth consecutive year, bringing in participants and attendees from all around the world. The 2015 Manhattan Film Festival honored the works of independent filmmakers and exposed their creations to expanding audiences. The spirit of visual media arts and calling for creativity and imagination were kept alive with every frame that was projected.

The festival began with a kick-off press party in Midtown. The evening event featured a classic red carpet and a full length MFF backdrop. Press crews gathered as directors took turns in front of the camera introducing themselves. They enthusiastically responded to questions posed by interviewers about their films being featured in the festival. Filmmakers paused to pose for photos and mingled amongst each other. The night ended with appetizers and drinks paired with music and plentiful conversation atop the roof of Local West.
The remainder of the festival look place at Players Theater, next to the famous Comedy Cellar on MacDougal Street. Viewers flocked to the Greenwich Village venue every night of the festival’s duration to support independent film and be entertained simultaneously. Films were screened before a classical theater-style room of red walls and velvet seats. Screenings began during the day time and went through the night, with the last screening taking place at 9:00 and typically being a feature film.

Prior to taking it to the big screen, all categories were accepted for submission into the festival. Genres ranged from comedy to science fiction to action to mystery to documentary to thriller and beyond. Features (40+ minutes) and shorts (under 40 minutes) were both considered. Independent films were judged and selected by the heads of the MFF.
Screenings took place through June from Friday the 12th through Thursday the 25th. Following each film was a talkback with the director, producer, and often cast members. Packed audiences were given an inside view on the processes of creating the films. Additionally, they were able to ask their own burning questions. The feeling of a close connection between the filmmakers to their audiences is a unique characteristic of the Manhattan Film Festival that sets it apart from other big festivals.

The Manhattan Film Festival closed with a grand awards ceremony – an exciting night filled with much hope and anticipation. Select filmmakers were honored for their hard work and thought-provoking works of art. Winners from each category made short speeches and took home their very own MFF trophies, a physical symbol of their success.

An after party celebration was held at the historic Café Wha next door, which is home to the first gigs played by renowned artists such as Bob Dylan. Directors, producers, and MFF crew alike mingled and sang along to classic hits played by the venue’s band. Business cards were exchanged and connections were made – because it’s never too early to start collaborating for an award-winning picture at the 2016 Manhattan Film Festival.


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