Manhattan Short Film Festival 2011

The Manhattan Short Film Festival plays for a week in cities all over the world, offering the sort of stage that shorts desperately need. While not a lost art—they still attract directors and actors waiting for their shots—shorts have become less vital in an age when it’s easier to make feature films at home and cross your fingers for distribution. This traveling roadshow is pre-programmed, so you can’t pick and choose, and it crosses a lot of genres and a few countries. Its signature piece, however, is American through and through. Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, Death at a Funeral) directs Sexting, which stars Julia Stiles. That’s a stacked deck for shorts; too bad the film isn’t very strong. Better are the Swedish Incident by a Bank and the comic-horror short The Legend of Beaver Dam.

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