What’s to Come at the 2018 MIFF? (Part I)

As we countdown the days to the 2018 Manhattan International Film Festival this March 27, what better time than to give you a sneak peak of what’s to come at the festival screening? This year, we are excited to showcase our top 10 finalists from the United States, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Lebanon. Read on to find out more about the first half of selected films:

Sentiment by Harrison Fuller

Sentiment is a two-minute short film depicting the courage of a young man who realize that too often, we don’t appreciate important people in our lives until it is too late. Harrison Fuller, the director, is a 9th grade student at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta, Georgia. Sentiment, which he both wrote and directed, won best picture this past spring at a local film festival. Harrison believes that film is one of the most powerful mediums of storytelling and aspires to make this a life long career.

Anthems: A Journey Around the World by Stephanie Dieter

10-year old Canadian singer and Guinness World Record-holder Capri Everitt embarks on a unique journey with her family to 80 countries where she sings the national anthem of each country in the national language. This in an effort to raise money and awareness for orphaned and abandoned children around the world. The film’s director, Stephanie Dieter, is an Austrian-Mexican 25-time award-winning filmmaker. She is known for writing, directing and producing the multi-award winning shorts Bar Sinister (2014), Irreversible (2015) and Cinder Pumpkin (2016), available on DIRECT TV, Amazon Video and Shorts TV. Her work has screened in more than 50 international film festivals including the Academy-Qualifying LA Shorts Fest, the International Family Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival, among many others.

Chocolate Cake by Benjamin Schweky

Chocolate Cake is a nostalgic tale about a boy who doesn’t quite fit in. Instead, he finds all the company he needs in his mother’s delicious chocolate cake. One night, he has a horrible dream and awakens with a craving for the cake – a craving that leads him past creaky floorboards, over treacherous piles of lego, and into the kitchen where temptation takes the best of him. Chocolate Cake film director Benjamin Shweky was born in New York City and was raised primarily in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He attended SUNY Purchase and Paris VIII: St. Denis, where he studied filmmaking. Currently, with one foot in the restaurant world, his other foot has stayed in film. He has enjoyed many different experiences on professional sets, having found opportunities – among others – as a Costume PA on Wonderstruck, as a Camera PA on Brooklyn Animal Control, and most recently, as Production Coordinator on Little Faith.

RONDO by Gloria Tauk

RONDO is an experimental video inspired by Godfrey Reggio’s works that show the cycle of life through a collection of human portraits in different stages. In reflecting the cycle of life, it displays movement in its different forms, showing the micro movements of the faces in contrast with the fast-motion of modern city life. The slow-motion effect echoes the slowness and the calmness of childhood as the fast and vivid motions mirror the rush that shape our adulthood. It asks the questions: Is not movement, life itself? And if everything changes, what remains? RONDO film director Gloria Tauk is currently a senior Cinema and Television Student at Lebanese University, Institute of Fine Arts (Second Branch (IBA2)). She is undergoing her internship with World Youth Alliance – Middle East since June 2017. She has worked as a wardrobe assistant for Martyr, a Lebanese feature film directed by Mazen Khaled supported by the Biennale College in 2017. In 2016, she was the co-videographer and director of Impressions and Fluid Memory. Produced during an exchange program between Italy and Lebanon, both were short documentaries on the relationship of men and rivers.

Life in Strides by The Institute for Documentary Filmmaking Life in Strides team

Jake, a young man with autism, has become a champion in therapeutic horseback riding. Jake’s mother Joanne has been by his side throughout his riding career, helping her son stay calm on his horse. Now, Jake is put to the test as he enters his first non-therapeutic riding competition, where the circumstances are outside Jake and Joanne’s control. Life in Strides was directed and produced by the Institute for Documentary Filmmaking – Life in Strides team from the Documentary Center at George Washington University.

For more than 25 years, The Documentary Center at George Washington University has been committed to teaching documentary film production to emerging filmmakers. The Documentary Center has been ranked as one of the top ten documentary filmmaking schools in the country and is of the few educational centers in the nation that focuses exclusively on non-fiction film. In May of 2017, seven students from the Documentary Center came together to work on their first film as the culmination of their program. The team consisted of four women and three men from around the world, each contributing a unique perspective on filmmaking. Following an intensive two-month production period, Life in Strides debuted to critical acclaim and has screened across the United States.


Stay tuned as we release the second part of this feature on our 2018 MIFF finalists. In the meantime, make sure to RSVP here to reserve a seat for our screening and awarding on March 27, 2018. Learn more about our other upcoming events by visiting us at our website.