Manchester Film Festival 2016, preview: Sporting lives and wonder women

Suzy Prince

Following a successful inauguration last year, Manchester Film Festival returns – extending across the city to venues including HOME.

The Manchester Film Festival will open with the international premiere of Dennis Viollet – A United Man, screening as the Opening Night Gala feature at HOME. This portrait of the Busby Babe footballer, who was born in Fallowfield, and went on to survive the Munich air crash in which many of his Manchester United team mates were killed, is especially intimate as it is directed by Viollet’s daughter, Rachel. The film will also screen as part of the ‘Sports Sunday Super line-up’, which features a selection of sports-related films, including Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang from Manchester filmmaker Colin Offland. This brings you the true story of what happened when retired basketball player Dennis Rodman took a team of former-NBA players to North Korea and staged the most controversial game of basketball the world has never seen. Fascinating stuff…

Running alongside Wonder Women, MANIFF includes a selection of international films featuring inspirational women

Running alongside Wonder Women festival, which celebrates women, innovation and creativity in all forms, Manchester Film Festival includes a selection of international films directed by or featuring inspirational women, will screen at the Odeon Printworks. The line-up includes several international premieres, including Cordelia Moore’s romantic thriller West of Redemption,  and the documentary Right Footed, about Jessica Cox: a woman born without arms who has gone on to become a licensed pilot and leading advocate for disabled people.

Then there’s Music Saturday, concentrating on music in film, and including the world premiere of Vince Giordano – There’s a Future in the Past, a documentary about the Brooklyn-born jazz musician who wrote the music to Boardwalk Empire and numerous Woody Allen films. Also screening is Lunar Orbit, a documentary about the British electronic group the Orb.

The festival closes with There Should be Rules, a Scandinavian coming-of-age drama directed by Linda Maria Birbeck. The closing night also includes an award ceremony celebration where the Manchester Bee awards return for a second year, with films competing over several categories, including the coveted ‘Film of the Festival.’

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