|Documentary feature highlights include UK Premiere of UNRAVELING ATHENA, which chronicles the journey women’s tennis champions must take from small child to number one in the world. With contributions from tennis legends Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King.
Sports fans have further reason to be happy with the International Premiere of CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS, which follows three young people as they battle to change their lives through the three-month odyssey of the New York Daily News Golden Gloves tournament.
Also having its UK premiere is PUBLIC FIGURE (United States), with contributions from Denzel Washington, an exploration of our society’s increasing obsession with social media. The film follows the lives of established Instagram influencers around the globe as they question their addiction to the medium.
Other feature documentary highlights include LEONARD BERNSTEIN – A GENIUS DIVIDED having its UK premiere, BALLAD OF A RIGHTEOUS MERCHANT, a study of Werner Hertzog’s filmmaking process featuring Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe and Chloe Sevigny and the European premiere of THE PRETENDER, which tells the fly on the wall story of a professional Rocky impersonator whose obsession with Sylvester Stallone has taken over his life.
With 14 short film sessions programmed there is no shortage of premiering films in competition including the legendary Joan Collins giving an astounding performance in GERRY, about an old woman who uncovers a long-buried secret, Melissa Leo starring in THE VIEW FROM UP HERE, Chris Messina in TOO LONG AT THE FAIR and Game of Thrones favourite Aiden Gillen in comedy I DIDN’T… I WASN’T… I AMN’T… (AN UN-ROMANTIC COMEDY). World Premiere of THE SEA, with Anna Friel and Russel Tovey and HOW A KITE FLIES, featuring the voice of Sir Ian McKellen as an alcoholic kite will screen as part of North West Shorts, a selection that celebrates the best of North West filmmaking talent.
Documentary shorts include the powerful LIFEBOAT, which documents the crisis of refugees desperate enough to risk their lives in rubber boats leaving Libya in the middle of the night, THE FIREFIGHTER, which sees Ricky Nuttall performing his poem about what he experienced the night he went into Grenfell tower 3 times and THERE’S A HELL OF A RACKET COMING FROM YOUR HOUSE, MRS. WOOD, an in depth conversation with The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood about his contemporary art.