You be the judge as festival-goers decide on Manhattan Short Film Fest grand prize winner

Film lovers in Chicago (and 31 other select US States) will have the chance to see the next generation of filmmakers from around the world and vote for the film that they feel is the best.

The Manhattan Short Film Festival is the only festival not confined exclusively to its city origin. Chicago Filmmakers, in fact, is one 54 venues in 32 states to present the 12 finalists Sept. 16-18.

The festival slate will have 167 screenings over a 10 day period and reach a far wider audience than “the usual film festival fanatic,” said Manhattan director Micholas Mason.

The festival winner will be announced Sept. 25 in Manhattan’s Union Square Park. The filmmaker will have a “Project Greenlight”?like chance to direct a feature that will be distributed among most of the venues that participated in festival this year.

The festival received 504 entries from 30 countries and a judging panel of indie film professionals winnowed the number down to 12.

Films from Ireland, Israel, England, Wales, Australia, Spain and the U.S. comprise the 2005 slate of 12 finalists.

In its eighth year, the Manhattan Short Film Festival has featured short filmmakers who have gone on to win Oscar nominations and direct feature films such as “Robots,” “Ice Age,” and “The Girl Next Door,” among others.

The Festival in 2004 expanded into seven states and handed the judging over to the general public. “The response was phenomenal and events were well attended by a much wider audience,” said festival director Nicholas Mason.

None of the films are longer than 14 minutes. The program runs approximately two hours with a 10-minute intermission. For more information and to read interviews with the 12 finalists, visit

Chicago Filmmakers is at 5243 N. Clark, 7 p.m. both nights. Admission is $8.50, $7.50 students; and $4.50 Chicago Filmmakers members.