Entertainment, Lifestyle, Manchester, News, Review

Manchester Met hosts 2017 Telling Tales Festival

0 184

Humanity Hallows Issue 6 Out Now
Pick up your copy on campus or read online

By Bridget Taylor

Last week, Manchester Met launched the 2017 Telling Tales festival, an international film and audio documentary festival organised by the university and sponsored by Torrside Brewery and Hindenburg software. The three day long festival featured an eclectic mix of films on show, ranging from a ten minute ode to the city of Manchester to an exploration of a team of international scientists working to protect Siberian salmon in Mongolia. External Partnerships Manager for Arts & Humanities at Manchester Met Lisa Vincent described documentary-making as “a practice that is growing globally”, and said how proud the team were to be showcasing documentaries from around the world, including Ecuador, Peru and Australia.

The evening began with the pilot episode of Sporting Bloodlines, the brainchild of genealogist Michaela Hulme, which takes an in depth look at the backgrounds of famous sports people to attempt to discover where they get their drive and determination to succeed. This episode focused on Anthony Crolla, boxer and world lightweight champion. Michaela traced Anthony’s family tree back to the late 19th century, when his Italian ancestors first settled in Manchester. The documentary painted a vivid portrait of the difficulties of surviving in the Ancoats slums of the time, when rival Italian ice-cream sellers would fight each other over pitches.

Urbis, by Nathan Starr, was a beautiful and fascinating look at the city itself, and how it transforms across the course of a day. The footage was a mix of 16mm and digital film, and the result was a dream-like portrait that, at one point, captured only light, reminiscent of a Turner painting. It portrayed the faceless bustle of the city, but also focussed on certain individuals – a policeman, a homeless man, and a group of teenagers – forcing us to notice them. It also drew out small details – the shadow of railings for example – again giving these everyday observations a significance. The music also blended well with the imagery, moving from a more chaotic, dreamy melody in the day, to a fast-paced regular beat in the night.

Protesting Trump was a very different look at the politics and dynamics of Manchester. An audio documentary, it combined speeches from the anti-Trump demos, which took place earlier this year, with interviews: one from a participant, and one from an American living here. The film-maker, James Skipper, was interested in the fact that there were protests here – 4,500 miles from America – and presented arguments both for the protests trying to ban his state visit, and against.

Dogs of Democracy by Mary Zounzari, was another political documentary that took a different perspective. It was an hour-long look at the dire economic situation in Greece, but with a focus on the stray dogs that roam around Athens, and the way the inhabitants of the city relate to them. The fate of the dogs is intimately tied to the fate of the people, as homelessness has grown, so has the number of stray dogs. One dog in particular stood out for accompanying the protests that took place in Syntagma square, becoming a ‘symbol of revolt and purity’, especially because as one protestor commented, “in Greece, we feel like the stray dogs of Europe.” The dogs also rely on the kindness of strangers – like the refugees who are currently migrating to Greece in large numbers – but they also are a kindness to strangers – recognising their humanity, when other people at times do not.

Ganzorig & the River Wolf by Rob Taylor, explored the fate of taimen, huge carnivorous salmon, locally known as river wolves, in the river Eg in Mongolia. Ganzorig is a local fisherman working with a team of international scientists to track and learn about the taimen, in order to protect them for future generations. It was a beautiful documentary – giving us an intimate portrait of the fish and their surroundings – and also a protest, as there are plans to build a hydro-electric dam which would destroy the fishes’ habitat, and the local community that depends on them.

Overall, this was a fascinating group of films, giving an insight into a wide array of different subject matters. Festival director and Manchester Met Lecturer in Documentary-Making Lisa Gold said, “What was important when choosing the films was that they were good quality documentaries, rather than basing them around any particular theme or genre.”

She added, “Documentaries are the fastest growing genre in film, which is happening because people’s stories need to be told, it can make a real difference to them, and we are all story-tellers – people are awakening to that fact.”

For more information about Telling Tales, visit the festival Facebook page.




About the author / 

Bridget Taylor

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Interview: The Super Late Night on His Latest Track, Working as a One-Man Band/Producer and Keeping His Music Unashamedly Personal

    Manchester-based artist, The Super Late Night, is quickly taking the alt-pop world by storm. Boasting a tendency for dramatic hooks and powerful melodies dripping with synth – it’s little wonder why.  The self-described “emo but charismatic” artist, released his debut single, ‘Honey’, around two months ago. It is an emo-pop masterpiece, perfectly encompassing the extreme feelings…

  • ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’: The Legacy of AIDS PSAs in a World of Coronavirus

    In the years before James Cameron’s Titanic, an eerie iceberg appearing on their television screens carried a very different connotations for Britons living in the 1980s. The ominous block of ice had hidden dangers – as icebergs tend to – namely, the word ‘AIDS’ etched out in large letters, hidden beneath the surface of the…

  • Crystal Tides Return With Indie-Pop Anthem ‘Monday’

    Featured Image: Rhona Murphy Portsmouth-based band Crystal Tides are back, with their latest indie-pop anthem ‘Monday’. Since their formation in 2018, the band have built up a strong following, resulting in many memorable sold-out shows in their hometown. However, with their penchant for catchy melodies and relatable lyrics, it surely won’t be long until they’re playing packed…

  • What More Do We Know About Shukri Abdi?

    Last July, aAh! Magazine reported on the tragic death of Shukri Abdi, a 12-year-old schoolgirl from Bury who was found dead in the River Irwell. A group of children were with her in the run up to her death. At the time of her death, it was widely speculated that her death was not an…