Updated: Wednesday, 8th April 2020 @ 11:22pm

Viva Film Festival alive and kicking in Manchester

Viva Film Festival alive and kicking in Manchester

By Joshua Powling

Viva Film Festival opened last week at Oxford Street’s Cornerhouse for its 17th appearance, despite having their funding decreased by Manchester City Council.

Faced with the need to cut £170m in two years of savings, the Spanish and Latin American film extravaganza was one of the events listed in Council budget cuts.

Despite these difficulties Rachel Hayward, Cornerhouse and Viva Festival Programme Manager, was keen to stress the importance of events such as theirs to Manchester.

“The festival adds to the tapestry of cultural events taking place in the city. And most importantly, without the festival all but one or two of the films in the festival wouldn’t ever screen in the UK,” she said.

“We seek out the very best Spanish and Latin American films from across a variety of festivals such as San Sebastian, Berlinale and Cannes.”  

The organisers have to put a lot of effort into selecting their programme of events, taking great pains to scrutinise the films and exhibitions under consideration.

The festival, which runs until 27th March, will feature an exhibition from Columbian artist Oscar Munoz and Sins of My Father, a documentary on the life of drug lord Pablo Escobar, told through the eyes of his son.

Asked what she was most proud of from this year’s lineup she told MM: “We have a number of high profile films in the festival, the Spanish comedy Gordos was a huge hit in Spain and is set to be really popular in Viva.

“The three Colombian films in the festival are excellent films, and Los Viajes del Viento and Los Colores de la Montana are two of my favourite films of the whole festival. 

“We are particularly pleased to have an exhibition of work from Oscar Munoz, Colombia’s leading visual artist.” 

Around 8,000 people will visit the festival and other Viva events in March, attending films or turning up for the Q&A sessions.

The festival has three main target audiences: adults and students learning Spanish, fans of world and independent cinema and natural Spanish speakers living in Manchester and the North West.

She added: “We changed the format of the festival from nine days to throughout the month last year as audience members wanted to be able to see more of the films.  Now it’s possible to see all the films if you’d like to.”

Tickets can be booked by ringing 0161 200 1500 or visiting their website at vwww.cornerhouse.org.