March 2, 2020, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, New York – The 8th Manhattan International Film Festival (MIFF) was held at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) on March 2, 2020. It was well-attended by the MIFF finalists, their family and friends, World Youth Alliance staff and interns, representatives from TECO and the media.
To welcome the guests to this year’s screening, WYA President Lord Pomperada shared a few words. H.E. Ambassador Lily Hsu, Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, also addressed the assembly by sharing about the wonderful relationship between TECO and WYA.
Cocktails were eventually served in the lobby before the screening commenced in the theater. WYA Europe Regional Director Elisabeth Gudenus and WYA Asia Pacific Regional Director Miko Superable hosted the program and the subsequent awarding of the winners. The event was also graced with the presence of friends from the diplomatic community, namely Ambassador Juan Alfredo Buffa Ramírez (Consulate General of Paraguay in New York), Ambassador Rosemary Arauz (Consulate General of Guatemala in New York), Consul General Alvin Landers (Consulate General of Saint Lucia in New York) and many more.
During the intermission, the audience was serenaded by Newark School for the Arts students and WYA members Gabriel de Los Santos, Dae Jung Martins Cruz, and Abigail Pukin. The top five films were then screened while the following ranking was announced at the conclusion of the festival:
Earning Honorable Mention is Emma (Rita Attieh, Lebanon). This short film is about a mother who has aborted her baby and lived for 24 years in the tolerance of conscience. She prayed the Divine Mercy Novena asking for the sake of giving birth again.
Waiting ranked in 4th place (Ryan Zhang, USA). It portrays Daniel, a young Asian-American man, who comes home after spending years breaking his back to climb the corporate ladder. But the weight of all the years of disconnect from his family hit him upon returning to his father’s shop, and waves of nostalgia and guilt force him to finally understand truly how long his father waited for him.
AMA ranked in 3rd (Georgie Yukiko Donovan, UK). Filmmaker Georgie Yukiko Donovan explores the story of the Ama divers – the last of Japan’s ‘women of the sea’ and their fight to preserve their 3,000 year old way of life.
Please & Thank You ranked 2nd (Jake Oleson, USA). It follows the true telling of a young single mother Nicole, who raises her young son Nugget on her own in Harlem. Faced with constant adversity and insurmountable challenges, including the housing system, family, and past mistakes, Nicole and Nugget always overcome.
The Mask from Home earns 1st place (Jordan Hwang, USA). It tackles the story of a 13 year old immigrant Chinese female and her mother from China. Disconnected from the world she’s known, a mask from China connects her to her home.
The 8th MIFF finalist lineup boasted young talent from around the world, including Spyros Katsihtis (Greece, “Philotimo”), Xuedi Wang (USA, “Between (the) Doors”), Alvin Seenauth (USA, “For you”), Brian Blum (USA, “My Daughter Yoshiko”), Chun Gee Hong (USA, “Because They Were Hurt”). Congratulations to all the winners and finalists!
Submissions for the 9th Competition of the MIFF are now being accepted. WYA invites young directors committed to creating films reflecting the depth of the human condition. The submission deadline is November 15, 2019. For submission guidelines, visit www.wya.net/miff.