Manchester Lift-Off Film Festival 2017

In 2017 the Lift-Off Global Network moved its Liverpool Film Festival to Manchester after three successful years. The Festival, which has nine other iterations worldwide in cities such as Seoul, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Paris, prides itself on supporting grassroots filmmakers to make it in the film industry. Films that do not make the required entrance level are told specifically where they need to improve in order for the director to understand his/her mistakes. Unlike most film festivals, Lift-Off does not abandon the films after they are shown, instead directors can earn royalties through the Lift Off On-Demand service as well as becoming involved with projects within the company.

Our coverage of the festival was equally split between both of the critics, Eloise and James, with each covering half of the the films. We will also include our personal highlights from each session as well as a closing paragraph of our thoughts.

Monday 27th March:

Shorts Programme 1:

Opening the festival was Shorts Program One containing 9 short films. Whilst there was quite a range in quality from film to film the diversity made this an incredibly enjoyable session. Our personal highlights of the session were Hope for James and The Last Laugh for Eloise.

James’ coverage includes the films:

  • Man on Lay-by 52
  • Strongboy
  • Nan’s Army
  • Hope
  • Body Language Zone

The first interview in our coverage of the festival was with Adam A. Losurdo, director of Hope. To read the interview click here

Eloise’s coverage includes the films:

  • The Last Laugh
  • The Track
  • Faustine
  • The Wolves Beyond the Timber
Feature 1 and Shorts:

After short break to stretch our legs we came back to session number two, Feature One and Shorts. The three films on display were all of very high quality making this one of the best sessions of the entire festival. It is tough to choose a personal highlight but for James it was Busking Turf Wars and for Eloise it was Retriever.

James’ coverage includes:

Eloise’s coverage includes:


Tuesday 28th March:

Feature 2 and Shorts:

The second day of Lift-Off opened with another feature film accompanied by two more shorts. We were again impressed for the most part with the quality of films on display, the favourite of the session being Northern Lights for both James and Eloise.

James’ coverage includes:

More interviews now, this time both from my coverage of this section. For an interview with Maude Plante-Husaruk from The Botanist click here, or for a longer conversation with Nicholas Connor from Northern Lights click here

Eloise’s coverage includes:

Shorts Programme 2:

A brief moment of respite later and the films kept on coming with another 9 high quality shorts. In our opinion, the best shorts of the entire festival were shown during this programme, James’ being Found, and Eloise’ being Enemies Within.

James’ coverage includes:

  • Found
  • Wanderlust
  • Heathen
  • The Cyclops
  • A Battling Body

I had the opportunity to conduct yet another interview, this time with Richard Hughes, the director of Found. To read click here

Eloise’s coverage includes:

  • Enemies Within
  • Pazzo & Bella
  • Hipopotamy
  • Relentless

To read a fascinating interview with Selim Azzazi director of Enemies Within click here


Wednesday 29th March:

Feature 3

The third and final feature of the festival stood alone, with no short films to accompany it. As a result the film was by far the best in the session and we both agree that it is our favourite.

Eloise’s coverage includes:

Local Filmmaker’s Showcase

All good things must come to an end and sadly that includes Manchester Lift-Off. To round off this fantastic event we had a bumper selection of 10 short films. The favourite for this session was Ghosted equally for James and for Eloise.

James’ coverage includes:

  • Meat on Bones
  • Duke’s Pursuit
  • Ascension
  • Cabby
  • Return of the Hat

Our last two interview both come from this section. To read an interview with Ascension’s Rajnish Sharma click here, or to read an interview with Cabby’s Daniel Watts click here

Eloise’s Coverage includes:

  • Soldier Bee
  • Lost in Spring
  • The Sedate Escape
  • Ribbons
  • Ghosted