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By George Haigh
The Manchester International Film Festival, or MANIFF2017, has revealed a spectacular line-up for this year, with the festival again showing the significant development of the film industry in the North West. The screenings will take place at the Odeon Printworks from 2nd to 5th March, showcasing a variety of diverse, independent and esoteric films across the busy weekend. MANIFF2017’s three highlights are Rising Stars, Be Who You Are Say What You Feel and also the festival’s signature Women in Film, which celebrate Manchester’s Wonder Women events.
There are over 30 films directed by women playing out over the weekend; a terrific step forward in an industry that is often male dominated. Karen Allen’s debut feature A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud is highly anticipated, as is Katie Says Goodbye, which stars Greater Manchester’s own Olivia Cooke (Me Earl and the Dying Girl). The film, which has drawn complimentary comparisons to the work of Terence Malick, will be the final film the festival, screening at the closing night gala on the Sunday.
Katie Says Goodbye is also part of the Rising Stars strand, which will screen a range of films from emerging talents, and also both UK and global premieres. There will also be a world premiere of Across the River, a film which utilises the shoestring budget of independent film-making to its full potential. Visitors to the festival can also catch a first glimpse of The Journey is the Destination, the highly acclaimed story of a photographer who dismisses traditional education for a life as a photojournalist in a war-torn Africa.
Another highlight of the weekend, Be Who You Are Say What You Feel, which eagle-eyed Dr Seuss fans might recognise, will celebrate acceptance and freedom in cinema. This is a terrific category which includes Stanley a Man of Variety, starring confirmed MANIFF guest Timothy Spall. Fans of world cinema might just find themselves drawn to this category, as Public Intimacy is a Brazilian feature that finds a fresh approach to the themes of love and sexuality.
MANIFF2017 will present everything from animation, documentaries, shorts, to full length features over the weekend. The festival organisers have also kindly considered that line-up clashes are inevitable, and therefore they will be repeating screenings of selected films at AMC Manchester. Tickets are available to purchase on their website, with great money-saving deals for students too. There’s something for everyone over the four-day weekend.
George Haigh is a third year film and media student. George contributes freelance film features, and also edits content for Humanity Hallows.