Festival season hits Manchester!

Well I was going to start off with saying leave your wellies in the wardrobe, but given the weather this week, maybe give that directive a moment’s pause.

But no matter the weather; wind, sleet or shine, today sees two fantastic festivals kick off in Manchester, namely Manchester Film Festival (MANIFF)and ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival at HOME Mcr.

And I’m going to give it my best stab to attend as much of both as I can.

Manchester Film Festival 2023 (MANIFF)

Tonight sees the return of one of the jewels in the Mancunian culture calendar. MANIFF takes place at Odeon Great Northern, and can you believe it’s the 9th edition of this popular event?

On until 19 March, MFF sees 6 feature film world premieres and 17 feature film UK Premieres, with all films screening in Manchester for the first time.

Opening the festival will be British film Rye Lane – a romantic comedy about two twenty-somethings both reeling from bad break-ups, who connect over the course of an eventful day.

Stockport actress Kelly Wenham stars in Dan Clarke’s A Kind of Kidnapping, about a young, broke couple who kidnap a sleazy politician who decides he can spin the story to his own advantage.

Manchester based production company Old Hall Films present Wait For Me, about a young woman dragged into a life of crime after arriving in England from Ireland.

Bolan’s Shoes, starring MANIFF alumni Timothy Spall and the directorial debut of Ian Puleston-Davies (Coronation Street, Tin Star), captures glam rock mania through the experiences of a group of kids before a road accident changes their lives.

Over 140 short films will screen at the festival including 32 world premieres. Local talent will be on show with three sessions of North West Shorts (most ever screened at the festival.) Also included is short, A Moral Man, which stars Toby Young, and centres on a right-to-die evangelist who wrestles with his faith and morality when a routine visit goes off course.

In the documentary section there will be the world premiere of The Road of Excess, which follows the stars of early noughties cult TV show DIRTY SANCHEZ and examines the consequences the show had on their lives.

Also screening is the ‘found footage’ documentary, A Life On The Farm, which revives a unique, inspiring, sometimes morbid (sounds like my cup of vimto) portrait of rural English life that is in danger of being forgotten.

Manchester premieres include the Nicolas Cage starring western Butcher’s Crossing, about a young Harvard dropout seeks his destiny out West by tying his fate to a team of buffalo hunters.

A great many films are fresh from Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto, but I’m sure you’ll agree that they’re finally hitting their pinnacle as they arrive on the hallowed turf of Manchester.

The full truly fabulous line-up can be found here , the schedule here and film passes can be purchased here.

¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival

Incredibly in its 29th year, ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival at HOME Mcr, is an annual celebration of Spanish and Latin American culture, bringing a programme of the most exciting cinema from across the Spanish-speaking world.

From tonight until 30 March, 22 new feature films will be screened, including multiple UK cinema premieres, along with filmmaker Q&As, film introductions and other opportunities to get involved.

This evening’s opening hosts the UK premiere of a joyous coming-of-age comedy from Spain, Llenos de gracia (Full of Grace), followed by three weeks of engaging drama, fascinating documentary and thrilling tension, as ¡Viva! 2023 serves up slices of life and flights of fancy from all corners of Spain and Latin America.

Also included are cinematic treats from the archives – a classic from Juan Antonio Bardem, the UK premiere of 1970s hidden gems by fellow Spaniard Cecilia Bartolomé, and a programme of shorts from a Mexican feminist film collective.

In addition, there are three post-screening Q&As with Spanish film makers, all taking place in the first week of the festival – returning guest Nely Reguera with La Voluntaria (The Volunteer) on Sat 11 Mar, Carlota González-Adrio with the UK Premiere of La Casa entre los cactus (The House Among the Cactuses) on Wed 15 Mar, and Luc Knowles with the UK Premiere of Libélulas (Dragonflies) on Thu 16 Mar.

You can find the eclectic and fantastic full line-up of events here and tickets can be purchased here.

See you there!

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