Arts and Culture
Wait For Me Manchester Film Festival

Manchester-based production company is selected in film festival line-up

Manchester Film Festival has announced the line-up for the launch of its ninth edition of the festival with some exciting talent set to take the screen – including one filmmaker from Sale.

More than 100 British films and six feature-film world premieres will be showcased at the Deansgate event this spring.

And Old Hall Films, based in Sale, will have its first feature film Wait For Me premier at Maniff, which runs from March 10 to 19. 

The film tells the story of Alison, an Irish girl dragged into a life of crime after moving to England. Alison has close encounters with both prison and death, but a damaged stranger called Sam opens her eyes to life’s beautiful possibilities.

For Dublin-born director Keith Farrell, the film’s release is the culmination of four years work on the project. 

After sourcing the script from Bernard O’Toole in 2019 – a red planet fiction prize winner and former BBC room writer – the team secured funding from Screen Yorkshire, powered through casting and were ready to get stuck into filming by the next year.

“We were ready to go in April 2020,” said Farrell, a four-time nominated IFTA director. “That was the plan and then Covid happened. So everything got postponed.”

By the time they could actually start filming, Wait For Me had lost two of its stars due to Covid restrictions.

The casting team were left with relatively little time to find replacements for the roles of Alison and Sam –two of the film’s major protagonists. 

But fortunately, Karen Hassan and Aaron Cobham stepped up at the last minute. 

For Old Hall Films, its Mancunian identity is at the heart of its production  – even for Dublin-born Farrell, who considers Manchester his adopted home.

So having Wait For Me selected by Maniff as its first debut felt particularly special. 

“Even though the film was shot in Yorkshire, we are very much proud of being a Manchester-based filmmaker,” Farrell said. “It’s nice to have our film premier in Manchester. It’s really lovely, a kind of nice synergy and beginning story to our journey.”

But most importantly, Farrell is keen to celebrate the arrival of Wait For Me on the big screen with his fellow film crew.

“Filmmaking is a collaborative process and people don’t realise how much goes into filmmaking and every person involved in that crew has a really important role to play,” said Farrell, who has a list of short films and TV credits to his name.

“Without that person and that role, whether it’s the cinematographer, sound designer, the on-set sound recordist, the production design, the person who makes sure the props are in the right place each take, you can’t make a film.

“I really feel delighted that we got into Maniff so that we can show this film to not just the general public, but also show it off to the people who helped make it because without them, there is no film.”

Wait For Me premiers at Odeon Great Northern for Manchester Film Festival on March 11.

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