‘Be who you are, say what you feel’: Manchester Film Festival preview

The Manchester Film Festival gears up for its third edition next week, as stars from television and cinema mix with fresh artistic talent from around the world.

New to 2017, the festival’s ‘Rising Stars’ strand will showcase upcoming names from behind and in front of the independent camera, with closing-night film Katie Says Goodbye starring Oldham-born actress Olivia Cook.

Best known for playing Emma Decody in the Psycho television prequel Bates Motel, Cook takes the title role in this feature, portraying a San Francisco 17-year-old forced to turn to prostitution in order to overcome her abject poverty.

The festival is also running a ‘Be Who You Are, Say What You Feel’ strand, hoping to champion the vast selection of films that portray themes of acceptance and freedom in often challenging circumstances.

Highlights include Stanley A Man of Variety, an incarceration-induced hallucination comedy starring legendary British actor Timothy Spall.

Meanwhile Lightningface is a claustrophobic and uncomfortable short that focuses on a man who, after an inexplicable incident, decides to sequester himself inside his apartment, thus setting the stage for a profound transformation.

The film stars Hollywood A-lister and all-round fan-favourite Oscar Isaac, clearly taking a break from filming the latest Star Wars to explore his more introspective side.

Lightningface will be playing as part of the Festival’s first set of short film screenings, taking place at 6:00pm on Friday March 3 at the Odeon Printworks, Manchester.

Also included in the selection is The Silent Man, starring ex-Never Mind the Buzzcocks presenter Simon Amstell.

The film marks the fourth short project by director Charlotte Colbert and it bases itself loosely on the legendary grieving process of early 20th century painter Oskar Kokoschka for his love Alma Malher, expressed through his unsettling devotion towards a home-made doll.

Colbert has reinterpreted the story in a contemporary context, focusing on a female protagonist who is grieving a lost love through the figure of a life-sized male doll.

Other highlights include the UK premiere of Dublin-based violent drama Cardboard Gangsters and One Last Dance, starring Jonathon Pryce, a film about the texture of memory, and the haunting intimacy of lost love.

The Manchester Film Festival takes place from Thursday March 2-Sunday 5 at the Odeon Printworks.

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