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International Sprockets

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Just because you can catch it in Kansas, don't assume that this year's Manhattan Film Festival has anything to do with the Flint Hills and Fort Riley. The name refers to that other Manhattan, celebrating its 11th festival of short films from around the world by screening them around the world — and giving audiences a voice in the judging. Which means that tonight, after catching a dozen shorts from Israel, Ireland, the Netherlands and elsewhere, the Free State film fans assembled at Liberty Hall each get to vote for their favorite short. Once the votes are in from the other 200 or so audiences in 20 countries, a winner will be declared, and Kansans will feel something rare: the sense that their red-state vote had consequence. This year's 12 films were culled from more than 400 entries. As such, they're mostly promising. The animated Teat Beat of Sex, a U.S. entry from Signe Baumane, depicts a girl's first kiss, first love and first going-all-the-way in honest, amusing episodes. Stephanie Green's The New Boy, an Irish film based on a short story by Roddy Doyle, tackles one of the toughest first days of school imaginable: an African boy's debut in an Irish middle school. In The Golden Thread, Spanish director Diego Sanchidrián Rubio crafts a fable which explores hard choices and the hidden connections between people. Starting at 8 p.m., you can judge the world from Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1972). Admission costs $8. The winners will be announced Sunday evening at msfilmfest.com.
Thu., Sept. 25, 8 p.m., 2008

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