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Art & Culture

Manchester Film Festival Will Go Virtual This Year Due To The Pandemic

By Laura Rogan

The festival will still go ahead in March.

Manchester Film Festival will go ahead this year, with organisers confirming that the much-loved festival will take place virtually as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

Announcing the news in a statement, it was confirmed that fans could still explore shortlisted independent films via the Filmocracy platform, broadening the festival’s scope and showcasing talent to a much wider audience. The organisers also confirmed there’d be over 130 films and four world premieres screened across the weekend, meaning fans won’t be missing out on too much while MANIFF temporarily showcases online.

Continuing with their usual diverse selection, this year’s line-up will span shorts, features, documentaries and more – with an eclectic mix of sport, technology, art and social issues promised. As usual, film fans will be able to access exclusive screenings, as well as tune into virtual Q&A’s with filmmakers.

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Last Spring’s festival – which took place at the ODEON cinema in the Great Northern Warehouse – saw Simon Pegg’s Lost Transmissions showcased, as well as a number of projects starring Maxine Peake. The year before saw Little Miss Sumo screen, which went on to be snapped up by Netflix and is still streaming today.

Manchester Film Festival 2021 will take place between 11th and 14th March, with tickets for individual screenings costing just £3.50, and weekend passes costing £19.50. Here are some of the screening highlights: 

  • Country of Hotels directed by Julio Maria Martino, a film that tells the story of the desperate souls who pass through the doors of 508, a room on the fifth floor of an anonymous, decaying hotel.
  • The Catch, starring Dexter’s Katia Winter, which is set in a rural fishing community fighting to hold tight to its traditions as the world shifts around it.
  • The Winter Lake, starring Sex Education‘s Emma Mackey. The film follows a teenager who is forced to uproot his life with his mother, before stumbling upon the remains of an infant in the nearby lake.
  • iGilbert, directed by a starring Adrian Martinez, follows troubled 39-year-old Gilbert – who feels isolated from the world and is an ‘obese virgin’ who still lives with his mother. Dascha Polanco (Orange Is The New Black) also stars.
  • Misha, a documentary about the greatest football player you’ve never heard of. The documentary tells the story of Mikhail ‘Misha’, who played for the Soviets and was dubbed the greatest player in the history of Georgian football.
  • YES I AM, a documentary that chronicles the life of Ric Weiland – the second employee of Microsoft. Bill Gates and Zachary Quinto feature.
  • Lest We Forget, a North West made short narrated by Christopher Eccleston, filmed in just one single take and following an interpretive dance piece created in an expression of thanks, towards all the key workers who’ve supported our nation through the pandemic.
  • Seed of the Enemy, a short film which explores the effects of racism from inside the mind of a black man.
  • Manchester Pride Parade, a short documentary which goes right back to the founding years of Pride in Manchester, exploring the darkness the LGBT+ community has fought against over the last 50 years.

Read more: Netflix To Release A New Movie Every Week In 2021, Including One Starring Leonardo DiCaprio