Manchester Film Festival 2017

2017 marked the third iteration of Manchester Film Festival, a fantastic selection of the finest Independent Films from the year. High praise must go to programme director Al Bailey and his team for encapsulating the spirit of Manchester and creating a brilliant community atmosphere. This is an event that has grown year on year and I whole-heartedly recommend this to all cinephiles and filmmakers alike. Below is a small selection of films and panel from this year.

Films:

Across the River (World Premiere)

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  • Directed by Warren Malone
  • Written by Kier Charles and Elizabeth Healey
  • Starring Kier Charles and Elizabeth Healey

Emma’s life would leave many jealous. She’s a successful lawyer, with a husband, kids and a lovely house in Chelsea. By contrast Ryan is broke with his only income from his sculpture work. The two seem to be polar opposites but many years ago they were each others first love. It ended disastrously and they pair never saw each other again. That is until they bump into each other during a rail strike in London. As they travel together across the river we see them laugh, argue and cry together.

For a review of the film click here, or for a Q&A with the director and writer click here

Watch if you enjoyed ‘Before Sunrise’ or ‘One Fine Day’

Creedmoria (UK Premiere)

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  • Directed by Alicia Slimmer
  • Written by Alicia Slimmer
  • Starring Stef Dawson, Ray Abruzzo, Rachel De Benedet and PJ Brown

Set in the 1980’s, we follow one of the most dysfunctional families seen on screen through the eyes of 17 year old Candy. With a drunk brother, a gay brother, an emotionally distant mother, a shockingly jealous boyfriend and a dickhead boss, drama is never very far away. Add a fantastic soundtrack and you have the makings of a great movie.

For a review of the film click here, for a Q&A with the director and lead actress click here

Watch if you enjoyed ‘Sixteen Candles’ or ‘The Royal Tenenbaums 

Hunter Gatherer (UK Premiere)

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  • Directed by Joshua Locy
  • Written by Joshua Locy
  • Starring Andre Royo, Kellee Stewart and George Sample III

Following three years in prison, the unnaturally optimistic Ashley tries to continue his life where it left off. Unfortunately everyone around him has moved on, including his sweetheart Linda. In order to move out of his mum’s house and win back Linda he ventures into the refrigerator disposal business where he crosses paths with Jeremy, a slightly slow but charming young adult. Together they form an unlikely friendship, one that will bring you tears of both laughter and sadness.

For a review of the film click here

Watch if you enjoyed ‘The Fisher King’ or ‘Cinema Paradiso’

Josephine Doe (UK Premiere)

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  • Directed by Ryan Michael
  • Written by Erin Cipolletti
  • Starring Erin Cipolletti and Emma Griffin

After her father’s death, Claire finds it difficult to find the motivation for anything. That is until she meets Jo. Vibrant and energetic, Jo helps Claire come to terms with her grief and begin to enjoy life once more. But a run-in with the law exposes a unnerving truth about their friendship.

For a review of the film click here, or for a Q&A with the director and writer click here

Watch if you enjoyed ‘Girl Interrupted’ or Thelma and Louise’ 

Panels:

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Jury Select Panel

On the last day of the film festival programme director Al Bailey, as well as film critic Tom Percival and others, gave the audience an in-depth look behind the curtain of a film festival. This hour long panel detailed the process of cutting down over 2000 films into the catalogue on display, the system of deciding the winners and their thoughts on the festival scene in general.

Click here for a selection of questions asked during the panel

Screenwriting Panel

Award-winning screenwriter Elan Mastai hosted an hour long panel to discuss his debut novel and the art of screenwriting, including both the writing and business sides. His charm and sharp wit made this an entertaining addition to this year’s programme.

Click here for a selection of questions asked during the panel