Manchester Film Festival’s third edition will explore three diverse themes across 90+ films
'BE what you are, say what you feel (because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind).’ While Theodor ‘Dr’ Seuss Geissel coined several popular phrases in his time, this is arguably the Cat in the Hat author’s most renowned - its message one that strikes a chord in an increasingly self-conscious society.
The quote forms one of Manchester Film Festival 2017’s key themes, championing the vast selection of films that portray acceptance and freedom. Highlights include Public Intimacy, a Brazilian production which interweaves four tales spanning sexuality to forbidden trysts, and UK premiere The Black Prince; the tragic yet fascinating true story about the last King of the mighty Kingdom of Punjab.
Stanley a Man of Variety, meanwhile, is the moving yet amusing story of a middle-aged protagonist who consults past comedy heroes in a bid to remember just why he’s prison, while Das Wassup follows three God-fearing lesbian rappers as they embark on their first international tour. Also premiering is Cardbaord Gangsters, an unflinching glimpse into the drug-addled underworld of north Dublin.
New to 2017, the ‘Rising Stars’ strand will showcase emerging independent talent from behind and in front of the lens. A string of debuts include Josephine Doe - an acclaimed examination of family trauma, grief and mental health shot in luminous black and white - and UK micro budget feature Across the River, a tale of lost love that illustrates you don’t need a myriad of effects to create a cinematic success. Hunter Gatherer is the bittersweet story of one man trying to get his life on track, while When the Sun Shines explores love and friendship under the severest circumstances.
Once again, Manchester Film Festival will be dovetailing with the Wonder Women festival, showcasing a selection of over than 30 films by female directors across its third strand ‘Women in Film.’ Headliners include A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud, based on the short story by southern American writer Carson McCullers; The Journey is the Destination, about one man who chases his calling through war-torn Africa; and Creedmoria, a colourful US flick with a big heart and a hint of the Hollywood fantastical.
Films from this strand have also been chosen as the festival launch and finale. Lisa Edwards’ Alfie Boe - On the Wheels of a Dream will open MANIFF 2017 during an evening gala event on Thursday 2 March, while Wayne Roberts’ Katie Says Goodbye - featuring Oldham’s Olivia Cooke - will play at the closing night gala on Sunday 5.
Screenings aren’t the only element to MANIFF. Confirmed appearances and Q&As include BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall (Auf Wiedersehen Pet, The Last Samurai, The King’s Speech), Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones) and Stef Dawson (The Hunger Games) - all of whom appear in the MANIFF official selection. From narratives to animations, screenplays to shorts, docs to experimental and even a smattering of music videos, this eclectic mix spans four days: taking in both upcoming talent and household names, from Helen Mirren to Jonathan Pryce. Venues include the Odeon, AMC, Chambers of Commerce, various hotels and even Saul Hay Gallery.
Further appearances and trailblazer events are in the pipeline but, for now, we think that’s plenty to be going on with. The full line-up can be downloaded here.
Manchester Film Festival takes place 2-5 March citywide.