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International film festival comes to Bayfield

Residents vote on best films from seven countries
A projectionist for the Durango Film Festival tests equipment inside Animas City Theatre in 2015. The Manhattan Short Film Festival will take place Sunday at the Bayfield Performing Arts Center, Oct. 3 at the Animas City Theatre in Durango and Oct. 4 at the Sunflower Theatre in Cortez.

Bayfield joins cities around the world as residents enjoy a night of Oscar-qualifying short films during the 22nd annual Manhattan Short Film Festival screening Sunday.

The international festival unites 400 cities across six continents. Bayfield will host the first screening in the region Sunday at Bayfield Performing Arts Center. Durango and Cortez will follow with their own screenings Oct. 3 and 4, respectively. The night of screenings is a chance for residents to enjoy good films while being connected to communities around the world, organizers said.

“It’s so cool to see Cortez, Bayfield and Durango in with London, Paris and Seoul, South Korea,” said Joanie Leonard, executive director of Durango Film. “It’s just really cool to be a part of a global event.”

Durango Film, a nonprofit that hosts the Durango Independent Film Festival, began hosting the Manhattan Short Film Festival 10 years ago. This year, Durango Film joined with Pine River Arts, a Bayfield organization that promotes arts and culture in the Pine River Valley, to bring the festival to the town for the second year.

“Pine River Arts is pleased to have a new partnership with Durango Film Festival this year,” wrote Darcy Poletti Harp, Pine River Library public relations librarian, in an email. “We seek out a variety of artistic expressions to connect people to the arts, and we’re proud to add film to our offerings.”

The Manhattan Short Film Festival is an Oscar-qualifying festival, and filmmakers from over 70 countries submitted 1,250 entries to the festival, according to a festival news release.

The final 10 films screen simultaneously around the world during a one-week period. Attendees will view films from the U.S. and other countries, like France, Iran, Finland and the United Kingdom. Then they can cast ballots to determine the awards for best film and best actor.

“There’s some amazing films in this year’s program,” Leonard said.

Last year, two of the films were shortlisted for the Oscars, and one made it to the top five nomination list, she said. When attendees vote, they could potentially be sending their favorite narrative short film or actor to the Oscar awards ceremony.

Films have the ability to spark new conversations and stories, Leonard said.

“Film offers a peek into global stories ... so you might say, ‘Oh, I never thought about that,’” she said. “You may completely change your opinion about something.”

More information can be found through Durango Film or Pine River Arts.


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