LEWISTON — The Public Theatre will close its stage curtain for three days — Sept. 28, 29 and 30 — to once again show movies.
The event is the Manhattan Short Film Festival, a kind of around-the-world movie jam where audiences in 300 cities each watch the same 10 short films and pick a winner.
"These are really world-class films," said Thomas Platz, who attended the festival last year in Portland and was impressed by the movies' quality. "I thought, 'Lewiston should be doing this.'"
Platz, a member of The Public Theatre's board, called festival director Nicholas Mason.
"He really liked our theater," Platz said. "He approved us as a venue."
This year, Portland is out. And Lewiston, Orono, Waterville and Brunswick are in. So are Juneau, Glasgow, Moscow, Mumbai, Tel Aviv and Sydney.
To Platz, the screenings are a way of adding some culture to the community.
"I'd really like word to catch on that this is in Lewiston-Auburn," Platz said. "We want it to be something that happens every year."
Attendees to any of the screenings will see 10 movies in all. Each is 18 minutes or shorter and originates from a different county.
They include an almost 10-minute short from Spain called "Voice Over," a child's story from Romania called, "Superman, Spiderman or Batman" and an American drama titled "92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card."
Audiences will be given ballots as they enter. On the way out, they'll make their choice for the best film. Those votes will then go to New York, where they'll be counted with all of the others.
The festival plans to announce its winner on Oct. 7 in Manhattan.
Platz said he had not seen this year's lineup. However, he expects that they will be appropriate for most members of the family.
"Last year, I saw nothing objectionable," he said.
Admission to the festival is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and students.
Platz believes audiences will re-experience the theater, which spent the 1940s and 1950s as a B-movie cinema called the Ritz Theatre.
In April, the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival screened several movies there, including "You Can't Kill Stephen King."
"It's a fantastic venue," said Joshua Shea, who directs the local festival. "You get that old-style movie theater feel in there. They haven't revamped it to the point where you say, 'I'm watching movies where a stage show should be put on.'"
When the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival returns next April 5, 6 and 7, Shea plans to use The Public Theatre as a key venue, he said.