Manchester Film Festival 2021: The online line-up and how it works
James R | On 11, Mar 2021
The Manchester Film Festival is going online this weekend, with a four-day virtual event that will showcase more than 130 films, including shorts, music videos and experimental works as well as narrative and documentary features.
The line-up is led by the late addition of Infinitum: Subject Unknown, an indie sci-fi shot during the first UK lockdown in 2020. Starring Ian McKellen and Conleth Hill, it tells the story of a woman trapped in an unknown world with endless possibilities, destined to repeat the same test over and over again.
Also having its world premiere is Dead in October, about dysfunctional friends who spend their final days isolated in a large country house as the end of the world approaches, The Battle of Shangri-La, which follows a man searching for his biological mother in the deepest parts of Brazil, and Vultures, about a graffiti tagger and an art graduate student whose worlds collide with dangerous consequences.
Making its European premiere will be Julio Maria Martino’s Country of Hotels, while UK premieres will include IGILBERT, Trouble Will Find Us, Fugitive Dream and The Catch. Rounding out the narrative selection is French drama The Other.
Documentary world premieres include The Great Circus, about the building of the Chimelong Theatre, The Trousers Issue, from MANIFF alumni Guillaume Levil, and Paperman. UK premieres will include this evening’s opening night footballing feature Misha, F1 documentary Brabham, Where Is Nancy, Origin of the Species, Yes I Am – The Ric Weiland Story, and Italian documentary Don’t Be Afraid If I Hug You.
Along with the feature documentaries there will be two documentary short sessions while 12 narrative short sessions will take place over the weekend.
Films will screen on a set date and time just as they would if the festival were taking place in cinema, with the whole event taking place through Filmocracy, a virtual film and festival platform.
A pass for the whole festival costs £19.95, with individual tickets priced at £3.50 each. Ticket sales close 30 minutes before each film’s scheduled start time. To book tickets go to maniff.com/tickets.
Misha – 8pm
The tragic story about the greatest football player that most have never heard of. Mikhail “Misha” An was the descendants of the Koryo Saram, Koreans living in the Russian Far East, who were forcible removed by Joseph Stalin and persecuted during war times.
Country of Hotels – 6pm
Country of Hotels tells the stories of the desperate souls who pass through the doors of 508, a room on the fifth floor of an anonymous, decaying hotel. We are taken on a surreal and blackly comic journey down its lonely corridors and behind its out-dated furnishings and stained surfaces. The
Don’t Be Afraid If I Hug You – 6pm
Franco has an autistic son, Andrea. When Andrea turned 18, father and son decided to cross the United States with a motorbike. From that adventure, the writer Fulvio Ervas wrote the book Don’t be afraid if I hug you, that in 2019 became a movie directed by Academy Award Winner Gabriele Salvatores.
Origin Of The Species – 8pm
An experimental feature documentary that explores current realities of android development with a focus on human/machine relations, gender & the ethical implications of this research. The film records cutting edge laboratories in Japan & the USA where scientists attempt to make robots move, speak & look human. These scientists & their discoveries are contextualized with cinematic & pop culture references, to underline the mythic, comic & uncanny aspects of our aspirations.
The Catch – 8pm
Set in a rural fishing community fighting to hold tight to its traditions as the world shifts around it, THE CATCH follows a troubled woman’s return to her estranged family in coastal Maine.
The Battle of Shangri-lá – 1pm
João searches for his biological mother who abandoned him almost over 40 years ago. In a physical and emotional journey, through a deep Brazil, little by little, this woman’s past comes to light and João’s convictions and prejudices break taboos.
Brabham – 1pm
An impressionistic account of a racing dynasty and the price of immortality, Brabham reveals the forgotten godfather of modern Formula One – Jack Brabham, and one son’s quest to defy the odds in the competitive world of international motor-sport once more.
The Other – 3.15pm
An intimate portrait of a woman’s mental confrontation and drifting between dream and reality after experiencing loss.
Infinitum: Subject Unknown – 5.30pm
Jane is trapped in an unknown world with endless possibilities. She has to discover a way to access them and alter her reality before she is destined to repeat the same test over and over again, Ad Infinitum.
The Trousers Issue – 5.30pm
Quentin, William and David are in their thirties, enjoying their ordinary lives with family and friends. One doesn’t want children and is about to have a vasectomy, the other uses a reversible method and the last one is still looking for the right process for him. These men each have different characters and aspirations, but for all three, contraception is also the boy’s issue.
Trouble Will Find Us – 7.45pm
A couple’s relationship threatens to collapse under the pressures of life.
Paperman – 7.45pm
When James was 17 he lost his leg due to bone cancer. Closed in his bedroom, unable to move, he found in cardboard the ideal material to express his everyday life and pain. Cheap, light and easy to obtain, cardboard was for James the only material he decided to work with since then. Today James is 44, his cardboard sculptures continue to talk about human fragility and pain, but something has interrupted his routine: James has been invited to The International Biennial of paper art in Lucca, Italy, and he will travel abroad for the first time.
Vultures – 1pm
São Paulo. In the fourth largest city in the world, where street art covers more walls and buildings than anywhere else on earth, Trinchas commands a gang of “pichadores” (graffiti taggers) that climbs very tall buildings only to sign their names up there.
Fugitive Dreams – 3.15pm
Mary, a homeless drifter, is filled with anger and deep depression. When another drifter, John, inadvertently thwarts her suicide attempt, the two form an unlikely partnership across the American Midwest.
Yes I Am – The Ric Weiland Story – 5.30pm
Yes I Am chronicles the life of Ric Weiland. The unsung hero of Microsoft and trailblazer for the LGBTQ community, Ric’s bequeathed $65 million dollars to the Pride Foundation to support gay rights and HIV research. Only available to Greater Manchester viewers.
Dead in October – 5.30pm
As October and the end of the world approaches, two dysfunctional friends spend their final days isolated in a large country house. As they do their best to enjoy these apparent last moments together, they are left desperately trying to come to terms with this new reality.
iGilbert – 7.45pm
Gilbert Gonzalez (Adrian Martinez), feels isolated from the world. He is 39, a virgin, obese and lives with his sarcastic, overprotective mother, who owns the Manhattan brownstone. Fearful of life and people, yet starving for human connection, Gilbert takes photos of women secretly, wherever and whenever he can.
Where Is Nancy – 7.45pm
On Oct15, 2016, a brilliant aerospace engineer and entrepreneur, top of her class at Davis and highly respected across the industry, Nancy Paulikas, 55, tragically diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, wandered away from the LACMA (Los Angeles Museum of Art), never to be seen again. Her husband Kirk Moody, led a relentless search that lasted years and resulted in systemic change across L.A. County.