Manhattan International Film Festival


The Manhattan International Film Festival (MIFF) is an annual cultural initiative of the World Youth Alliance (WYA) seeking to recognize promising young directors committed to exploring the depth of the human condition. Previous films recognized by the festival have examined themes relating to family, community, suffering, empathy, the pursuit of happiness, truth, and the transcendent.

WYA invites young directors (under age 31) to submit short films to the 2017 MIFF. Submissions will be reviewed by a distinguished jury panel and 10 finalists will be invited to screen their films during the Festival Screening in New York City. At the festival, each finalist will have a chance to screen their short film. Screenings will be attended by WYA members and New York general public audience. At the conclusion of the festival, 3 finalists will be selected as winners, and their films will subsequently be screened at prominent WYA events and cultural gatherings around the world.

The 5th Manhattan International Film Festival Screening and Announcement of Winners will be held on March 27, 2017 at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), New York City. Limited tickets are available for the general audience, email for ticket purchases.


Young filmmakers who are interested in submitting an entry for the 6th Manhattan International Film Festival may submit their film by filling out the application form below. Deadline for submission is on September 30, 2017. The ten chosen finalists will be notified by email on October 31, 2017 and the 6th Manhattan International Film Festival Screening will be held on March, 2018.

For inquiries, you may email the MIFF Secretariat at


From hundreds of film submissions from around the globe, World Youth Alliance is pleased to announce the ten finalists for the 2016 Festival in no particular order.

  • Skylar Burke, USA, Frenemy
  • Jonathan Cheng, USA, Part-Time Friend
  • Asher Grodman, USA, The Train
  • Clare Halpine, Canada, Nostalgia
  • Álvaro Hernández, USA, Gotta Serve Somebody
  • Celeste Koon, Canada, The Ghost of Grandpa Tong
  • Inshallah Montero, Philippines, The Little Reader
  • Lin Po-Yu, Taiwan, Breaktime
  • Josh Venkataraman, USA, I Art New York
  • Anya Nicole Isabel Zulueta, Philippines, My 2014 Neighbor

WYA wishes to thank all applicants for their participation to this year’s Festival.


MIFF 2015

MIFF 2015 Winners Website Banner Nine finalists were invited to screen their films in Manhattan during the 2015 Manhattan International Film Festival. They represented countries including Finland, Philippines, Taiwan, Chile, and United States.  At the conclusion of the festival screenings, four young directors were awarded prizes for their outstanding short films, which portray the dignity of the human person with creativity and depth.

1st prize was awarded to Taiwanese director Ya-Chen Cheng for her film “Cobain and His Raincoat”. This film went far beyond delivering an action-packed plot, but included excellent character development, presenting thought-provoking facets of human nature. 2nd prize was awarded to “Watershed” by Taiwanese director Ruei-Jin Huang, for her sensitive and honest representation of family relationships portrayed through beautiful cinematography. 3rd prize was awarded to Filipino director Kristine Zuniga for her film “Bimyana”. Her beautiful story of a young girl who is both innocent and courageous, is both inspiring and uplifting. Finnish director Iina Lempiäinen received an Honorable Mention for her film, “The Silence Of Our Friends”, which takes a creative look at the theme of bullying and reminds us of the capacity for human excellence.

These winning films were screened at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office on Wednesday, March 25th, 6pm-9pm. Two of the directors were present, and the evening program also included an appearance by the WYA Chamber Orchestra performing Hummel’s Fantasie with viola soloist Faith Pak. The 2015 festival also featured guest speakers Dr. Joseph Kickasola and Stuart Tanner.

Ya-Chen Cheng (Taiwan), “Cobain and His Raincoat”

Kristine Zuniga (Philippines), “Bimyana”

Iina Lempiäinen (Finland), “The Silence Of Our Friends”

MIFF in the Press:

MIFF 2015 Speakers:

Headshot - Stuart Stuart Tanner is an acclaimed producer and director of documentary films for the BBC, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and others. His most recent projects include Saving The Disposable Ones (2011), a documentary about a Catholic priest in inner city Columbia transforming the lives of thousands of children by providing shelter, love and Transcendental Meditation; Time Team (2004), an hour-long archaeological program for the Channel Four/Discovery series uncovering the mysteries of one of the first man-made monuments built on the British landscape; and Children of Vengeance (2002), a documentary for the BBC on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which won the Foreign Press Association’s Story of the Year award. Profits of Doom (2001), an investigation into the policies of the World Bank and IMF in developing nations, was chosen for viewing at the North South film festival; Death on the Silk Road (1999), focusing on the effects of nuclear testing in China, won the Rory Peck Award for Journalism; and The Mahogany Trail (1996), on the plight of Amazonian Indians whose reserves are invaded for mahogany wood being exported to foreign markets, won the Bill Travers Insight Award at the London International Environmental Film Festival. Mr. Tanner is currently Assistant Professor and Co-Chair in the Media and Communications Department at the Maharishi University of Management.
Headshot-Joe Dr. Joseph G. Kickasola is Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media and the Director of the Baylor Communication in New York program, Baylor University. He has twice served as Visiting Professor of Theology and Film at Princeton Theological Seminary, and has lectured on film aesthetics and theology around the world. He is also an active filmmaker and film theorist, combining his interest in film aesthetics with multi-sensory science and phenomenology. Select publications include essays in Film Quarterly, The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film, and The Quarterly Review of Film and Video. His book The Films of Krzyzstof Kieślowski: The Liminal Image won the 2006 Spiritus Award, issued annually for the best book on theology and film. He was an invited participant in the 2013 Workshop for Peacebuilding through the Arts (University of Edinburgh), and the essay he developed there will be published in a scholarly volume next year.

MIFF 2014

MIFF 2014 recognized the following winners, who were selected to screen their short films at the United Nations.



Maja Šubarić (Croatia), “What we do”

Xandrino Mangunay (Philippines), “Laum”

Josep Antoni (Spain), “The Unforgettable Pianist”

Daniel Alava (Spain), “Dummies”

Ion Sova (Romania), “Tenebris”


MIFF in the Press:

MIFF 2013

Click here to read a blog post about the 2013 MIFF, written by a Manhattan International Film Festival volunteer. The winning films can be browsed below:

Timothy Reckart (United States), “Head Over Heels”

Anita Rivaroli & Irene Tommasi (Italy), “A Summer Tale”

Inshallah Montero (Philippines), “The Man of Squares

Adrielle Esteban (Philippines), “Tanglaw


MIFF in the Press:

MIFF 2012

World Youth Alliance’s 1st Annual Manhattan International Film Festival took place in 2012 showcasing 15 short films of young directors from Belgium, England, Spain, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Philippines, India, Pakistan, and the United States. The festival featured keynote speaker, Krzysztof Zanussi. To read more about the prize-winning directors, click here. To view their films, see below:

“Fine Dining”by Lance Katigbak (Philippines)

“The Calling”by Cécile Mavet (Belgium)

“The Garden”by Jason Stefaniak (United States)

“Tengo Hambre” by Benjamin Lorenzo (Spain)

Frank’s Tin Car” by Solomon Yaw Yeboah (Ghana)