FOLLOWING a hugely successful inaugural year in 2015, Manchester International Film Festival is back from 3-6 March 2016 with a diverse selection of UK and global talent. Once again, worldwide filmmakers and fans in their thousands will descend on citywide venues to enjoy a strong slate of bold films, red carpet galas and stimulating discussion.
...despite being born without arms, Jessica Cox has gone onto become a licensed pilot
Sandwiched between two international premieres are over 90 films spanning dramas, documentaries and animated shorts; including the likes of James Franco, Charles Dance, Martin Freeman, Rebecca Ferguson, Sir John Hurt, Maxine Peake, Billy Zane and James Cosmo.
Read on for our top five must-sees...
DENNIS VIOLLET - A UNITED MAN: INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE
How better to kick off ManIFF 2016 than with the city’s celebrated football heritage? Thursday’s Opening Night Gala at HOME will centre on Dennis Viollet - A United Man, directed by his daughter Rachel Viollet and featuring commentary from legends such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Mike Summerbee. Fallowfield-born Viollet not only became United’s captain but the first British footballer to pioneer the sport worldwide and bring 'soccer' to the US.
This intimate portrait of the late Busby-babe will be accompanied by two similarly-evocative shorts. Ben Price, who plays Corrie’s Nick Tilsley, dons his director’s gloves with I’m Sorry To Tell You; the heart-wrenching tale of a doctor struggling to come to terms with his patient’s diagnosis. A Walk in Winter, meanwhile, sees protagonist Conrad (James Franco) forced to piece together the broken shards of his childhood after learning of his missing mother’s death.
Appealing to film and music fans alike, Music Saturday will showcase a diverse selection of themed shorts along with two world premieres. Vince Giordano - There’s a Future in the Past is a documentary about the Brooklyn jazz musician responsible for tracks featured in Boardwalk Empire and numerous Woody Allen films, whilst Lunar Orbit tells the story of ambient house band The Orb. Giordano himself will play live at the festival, alongside Manchester’s Mart Rodger’s Jazz band.
Dennis Viollet returns for Super Sports Sunday at the AMC, joined by fellow sports heavyweights like Paralympian Alex Zanardi in No Limits and basketball star Dennis Rodman in Big Big Bang in Pyongyang, directed by Manchester filmmaker Colin Offland. Also screening will be Northern Limits, a narrative feature set against the backdrop of the 2002 Japan/South Korea World Cup, and the UK Fiction premiere of Broke; about an Australian rugby league star who has fallen on hard times.
INSPIRING WOMEN IN FILM
Sport isn’t the only action that takes place on Sunday, as sister venue Odeon Printworks showcases some good old girl power through an array of films directed by and/or featuring inspiring women. The line up, designed to coincide with Manchester’s feminist Wonder Woman event, comprises several international premieres; including Cornelia Moore’s West of Redemption, a romantic-thriller with Billy Zane, and Daniela Amavia’s A Beautiful Now, starring Abigail Spencer. Also screening will be Despite the Falling Snow, a UK premiere from British director Shamim Sarif and starring Rebecca Ferguson, Sam Reid and Charles Dance.
Rounding off the exhilarating repertoire will be Right Footed: despite being born without arms, Jessica Cox has gone onto become a licensed pilot and leading disability advocate, smashing boundaries and putting paid to any limits we place on achievement.
Despite the Falling Snow
CLOSING NIGHT GALA
Women-in-film will also provide the wrap theme for the festival’s rousing Closing Night Gala. There Should be Rules, a Scandinavian coming-of-age drama directed by Linda Maria Birbeck, will be screened ahead of the symbolic Manchester Bee award ceremony. Films will compete over several categories including ‘Best Short Film’, won last year by ManIFF 2015’s UK premiere and 2016 Oscar nominee Everything will be Okay, and the coveted ‘Film of the Festival,’ previously seized by US indie feature Desert Cathedral.
There Should be Rules
Manchester International Film Festival takes place 3-6 March 2016. More info at maniff.com