For the second year in a row, the Manhattan Short Film Festival came to Redlands as part of the Redlands Cinema Classics. Manhattan Short includes 10 short movies shown in one sitting. In Redlands, the event took place last week on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon followed by appetizers and a drink.

Redlands Cinema Classics is organized by the Margaret Clark Art Education Enrichment Fund (MCAEEF) of the Redlands Art Association (RAA). The series has been celebrating the finest in foreign, art and specialty films for 23 years. It all began at the Krikorian Movie Theater, now LOOK, and continues to bring film aficionados and enthusiasts together every spring and fall. The fall series includes three foreign films and now the Manhattan Short Film Festival.

Proceeds raised through the film series benefit art education programs throughout the city of Redlands.

“I feel that it’s important for our youth to have an opportunity to explore their creativity, and by developing and expressing themselves [creatively], it goes together hand in hand with science and math. People aren’t aware of that,” said Annette Weis, founder and coordinator of the Redlands Cinema Classics. “Art is so essential, and I read somewhere it’s good brain food, so I love to quote that.”

That’s the whole point of the Redlands Cinema Classics — to have people enjoy art, and by that, support art locally.

The event began with a short video to give thanks for the support MCAEEF got when hosting the Youth Art Expo at the Redlands Art Festival this spring, one of the projects the film series supports. Weis made a short welcoming speech. On the screen, founding director Nicholas Mason spoke briefly about the Manhattan Short celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. After the last movie, Mason said, “What started on Mulberry Street in Little Italy 25 years ago now has 500 venues across the world.”

He hoped for another 25 years. One of those venues was Redlands.

Audiences filled two theaters at LOOK in Redlands for both days of the film festival.

After the movies, everyone got a voting card and voted for their favorite film and favorite actor. More than 100,000 movie-goers at this festival globally got to cast their votes. These movies also qualify for the 2023 Academy Awards.

The movies ranged between nine to almost 20 minutes in length. The subjects covered deeply personal stories, the funny, the grotesque, 9/11 and the winter war in Finland in 1939. There was something for everyone. After the showing there was lively chatter in the lobby by patrons with voting cards in hand.

“Based on the reviews we got last night, they were all very much appreciative and [the movies] generated a lot of discussion,” said Weis.

“Interestingly, some of those who voted for the best film did not vote for the actor for that film,” she said.

Weis will send the results to the organizer of the Manhattan Short. Result are available on their website, manhattanshort.com.

“I am delighted with the increasing attendance this fall and especially delighted with the return of so many of our patrons who have been attending since the series began,” said Weis.

She attended the Manhattan Short a few years ago in San Bernardino and thought Redlands would benefit from the experience.

There is still a chance to watch the last movie in the Redlands Cinema Classics series:  the Lebanese movie “Costa Brava” on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 26 and 27.