Now in its 5th year, The Manchester Film Festival played out from March 2nd – March 10th at the Odeon in Manchester’s historic Great Northern Warehouse.
Showcasing over 150 films in a line-up made up of narrative and documentary features, narrative and documentary shorts, experimental films, music videos, animations and VR, this truly is a festival where there is ‘something for everyone’. The mixture of films on show are also made even more inclusive by not confining the showings to one particular genre. An eclectic feast for the eyes is guaranteed no matter what time of the day(s) you attend.
Independent filmmaking is a treasure trove of creativity and risk taking; something so often lacking in multi-million dollar Hollywood projects where passion for the project is sadly far behind passion for a profit. If you want to see passion, determination and love for the subject pouring out of the screen, then the Manchester Film Festival is the place to be.
Post-screening Q&A’s, along with dedicated ‘filmmaker studio’ chats (which took place at Manchester Studios…the Old Granada Studios) with the directors, producers and actors, make for a highly informative and entertaining addition to what you’ve seen on screen. This is interactive special features at its best.
Playing out over a week for the very first time, it is testament to the quantity, and most definitely the quality, of the independent films on show, that there are a huge amount of very talented filmmakers out there whose work deserves to be showcased, and thankfully the Manchester Film Festival gives them the opportunity to show their work.
From the opening night gala premiere of ‘Hotel Mumbai’ (a true story which recounts the 2008 siege of the Taj Hotel by terrorists in Mumbai, India), to the closing night gala premiere of ‘Meeting Gorbachev’ (where Werner Herzog takes you through the life of Mikhail Gorbachev), the Manchester Film festival has a continuous flow of intriguing, thought provoking, interesting, heartwarming, and humorous content that will have you constantly checking your festival guide to make sure that you don’t miss the next showing that has caught your attention.
‘Short sessions’ conveniently put together 6-8 short films into 1 continuous showing lasting anywhere from 75 -100 minutes in total length. With no description of their content and only the titles to go by, these sessions play to one of the festivals strengths in not confining everything to one particular genre. These sessions are a cinematic ‘goody bag’, where one visual treat is closely followed by another. Genres and subjects matters that you may well have otherwise not engaged with, are suddenly drawing you into the screen and making mental notes to find out more.
The longer features are just as engaging too (make sure to read our review of The Pretender as an example of what is on show) and a well planned schedule by the festival organisers means that you can always find something highly entertaining to watch.
With cinema prices rising and multiplexes being filled with CGI superhero ‘candy floss for the eyes’ at an all too regular frequency, the Manchester Film Festival not only gives fantastic value for money, it is also a gateway to the wonderful world of independent filmmaking where your eyes will be opened to amazing new worlds.
To commemorate the 5th year of the Manchester Film Festival, there was also showings of cult films and classic films. These included Holes, 1984, Animal House and more. Even more value for your money.