Short films from Manhattan to Mumbai

The Kicksled Choir

Last night I attended the Manhattan Short Film Festival at Maitland, Florida’s Enzian Theater, one of the hundreds of cinemas worldwide screening the event from September 23 through October 3. (Go here to learn more about the fest and find a cinema near you.) Manhattan Short began in 1998 with a screen attached to the side of a truck in New York City. It has since grown into the largest event of its kind, bringing the world together through short films.

The 10 films screened this year aren’t as impressive as in years past, but there are still several worth watching. And one of the coolest aspects of the fest is that the audience gets to vote for best film and best actor.

My top film this year is The Kicksled Choir (4 stars on 0-5 scale) from Norway, directed by Torfinn Iversen. It’s a unique, sometimes bleak and ultimately uplifting tale of a young boy torn between his feelings for his father, his desire to join a local singing group and his own sense of right and wrong.

Archibald’s Syndrome (3 stars) is my second choice. Adding a decidedly welcome dose of surreal comedy to the program, the French-language film directed by Daniel Perez deserves a great big hand — and an arm. (Just wait and see.)

Short films return to the Enzian Theater on Sunday, October 3, with Chhota Cinema: New Indian Shorts 2021. The five shorts, totally 94 minutes, are part of the arthouse cinema’s 27th annual South Asian Film Festival. To get a sense of the overall festival, I invite you to check out my coverage of the 2019 event. And if you’re a true aficionado of short films, visit my short-film lists, which rate more than 2,500 short films from 1888 to 2021. Happy festing.

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