Kinofilm Festival Manchester: Catch it while you can

Polly Checkland Harding

Kinofilm Festival only comes around every few years – here’s why you’ll not want to miss what it brings to the screen.

Depending who you ask, the word “kino” has two different meanings. Question a German, and they’ll tell you that it means “cinema”. Ask the internet, on the other hand, and you’ll get quite a different response: kino, in slang terms, stands for “physical flirting, touching” (oh-er). Obviously, in this context one is far more appropriate than the other – when it comes to Manchester’s Kinofilm, we’re talking a seven-day festival of international short films. Sorry folks, no kissing in the back rows. Instead, be seduced by some of the very best bite-sized movies the planet has to offer, including the decorously award-laden The Voorman Problem.

Be seduced by some of the very best bite-sized movies the planet has to offer

Starring Elisabeth Gray, Martin Freeman and Tom Hollander, this enigmatic and Oscar nominated short will be screened at Central Library under the banner of British New Wave cinema (29 May, 4.30pm-5pm, free). Part of the new Library Live programme, the film tells the story of a prisoner (Hollander) who believes he is God: when his psychiatrist (Freeman) asks “So you created the universe?”, the straight-jacketed patient replies “Exactly. Nine days ago.” The Voorman Problem will be shown alongside The Caravan Trilogy, a genre-morphing blend of black feelings and dystopian science fiction, and Cowboy Ben, which charts the incendiary results of two childhood friends being reunited. Also as part of the Library Live programme are Bafta Shorts Nominees 2014 (31 May 2.30pm-4.35pm), Kino Comedy (29 May, 6pm-7.30pm), which includes the awkwardly humourous I’ll be here all night, and Animation (31 May, 12.30pm-2pm), featuring award-winner Luminaris. Luminaris – which uses pixilation, a technique whereby film footage of real actors is animated in a stop motion manner – imagines the world as controlled by light.

This is also a festival that’s about enjoying film in unusual settings. Affleck’s Three Minute Theatre is one such venue, an esoteric, chaotic kind of place with plush seating raked back from a small stage. The programme here includes Redhead Shorts and Made in Manchester (both 28 May: 6pm; 8.30pm), Women in Film (30 May, 6pm) and the Best of the Fest (2 Jun, 8.30pm) to round off the festival. Further afield, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation has four screenings on its calendar, while Islington Mill is hosting a Literary-Film Fusion (29 May, 8.30pm) between film and photography initiative Bokeh Yeah! and Comma Film, an offshoot of Comma Press – it’s an evening of short poem films, which sounds both lyrical and mysterious. Finally, if you’re after a more European flavour, the Cervantes Institute on Deansgate is rolling out an evening of Cuentos de Amor (28 May, 6.30pm) – that’s Romantic Tales to you and me. Perhaps more of kino’s second meaning, there.

Kinofilm Festival happens roughly every three years: it’s had no funding since 2010 and is run entirely by film enthusiasts and volunteers. This small, intimate event celebrates the compact beauty of short films, and celebrates it in diverting, unexpected venues. The quality is high and the time commitment is low – it might be a few years until the festival is back, so catch it while you can.

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