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Manchester Film Festival reveals star-studded programme of premieres

The festival, returning to the city for its second year on March 3-6, has lined up 93 screenings of feature films, documentaries and shorts - starting with a documentary about Manchester United player and Busby Babe Dennis Viollet

Screen stars at this year's Manchester International Film Festival

This year’s bumper Manchester International Film Festival will kick off with the premiere of a sports documentary about a Man United Busby Babe - with tickets on sale from January 11.

Dennis Viollet: A United Man, directed by his daughter Rachel, will launch the festival on March 3 with a screening at HOME.

The film is billed as an intimate portrait of the Munich air disaster survivor and former striker in Sir Matt Bubsy's famous side, and includes commentary from Sir Alex Ferguson, Dennis Law, Nobby Stiles, and Brian Robson.

The festival, now in its second year, will screen 93 independent films during its four day run from March 3-6 - including several UK, European and world premieres of full length features, documentaries, shorts, music videos, and animations.

Screenings take place at arts complex HOME, AMC Great Northern Warehouse, Odeon Printworks, and the Greater Manchester Chambers of Commerce at Elliot House.

Joel Goodman
Cinema 1 at HOME

Among the movie stars on screen are Martin Sheen, Martin Freeman, Lolita Foster (Orange Is The New Black), Charles Dance, Stef Dawson (Hunger Games), Maxine Peake, Sir John Hurt, Ian Puleston-Davies, and Billy Zane.

The programme is divided up into themes to help people navigate the extensive schedule, with Sports Super Sunday on March 6, Music Saturday on March 5, and an Inspiring Women theme at the closing night gala and awards.

We’ve picked out 11 must see films to get you started, and tickets for all screening can now be reserved at the official Manchester International Film Festival website.

Dennis Viollet: A United Man (Director Rachel Viollet)

Great fame and then terrible tragedy keeps the story of the Busby Babes in our minds. Dennis, a working class kid who signed for the club age 15, was an MUFC great, and one of the architects of the modern professional league. More here.

Hulton Archive/Central Press/Getty Images
The Manchester United team in April 1957 with (front row, far left) Dennis Viollet

Audition (Director Matt Heron)

It took 15 years for Heron to make this powerful and award-winning examination of the real meaning of love. Lolita Foster (Orange Is The New Black) stars as one of 100 actors auditioning for a role. More here.

Martin Sheen Presents The World Is My Country (Director Arthur Kanegis)

A sneak preview of an epic story - that of World Citizen #1 Garry Davis, a former Broadway actor whose life choices influenced the shaping of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and got him on the cover of the New York Times. It’s a story you won’t believe. More here.

Strange Weather (A UK short directed by Tom Shrapnel)

Eighteen beautiful minutes in which two people are saved from their empty lives by a natural phenomenon. Maxine Peake and Matti Houghton (Luther) star. More here.

Joel Goodman
Maxine Peake

A Beautiful Now (Director Daniela Amavia)

Abigail Spencer is Romy, a dancer who has barricaded herself in her bathroom while her friends, outside, try to solve her confused life. More here.

Despite The Falling Snow (Director Shamim Sarif)

In 1950s Moscow, communist Katya secretly spies for the Americans in the Cold War arms race, but makes the mistake of falling for one of her targets. Rebecca Ferguson and Charles Dance star in this adaptation of the novel of the same name. More here.

Vince Giordano - There's A Future In The Past (Directors Dave Davidson and Amber Edwards)

Charlie Gross/vincegiordano.com
Vince Giordano

Giordano - the man behind the music on Boardwalk Empire, Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, and several Woody Allen movies - and his 11-piece band The Nighthawks are the subject of this documentary. The Brooklyn born jazz musician will bring a 1920s prohibition vibe to Music Saturday, playing live with Manchester’s Mart Rodger’s Jazz band. More here.

West Of Redemption (Director Cornelia Moore)

Billy Zane and Mariana Klaveno’s married life in a remote farmhouse takes a bizarre turn when a stranger turns up. More here.

Dennis Rodman's Big Bang In Pyongyang (Director Colin Offland)

This Manchester director follows the unlikely friendship forged by former-NBA player Dennis Rodman and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over the most controversial basketball game ever played. More here.

NBA player Dennis Rodman sings happy birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (pictured right)

Crash Testing (Director Yuting Hsueh)

Four spine tingling animated minutes in which a crash test dummy records his own aspirations via paintings of his expressions during a crash. More here.

Northern Limit Line (Director Kim Hak-Soon)

A gruesome and honest war movie about a battle in the yellow sea on June 29, 2002, against the backdrop of the 2002 World Cup finals, when two North-Korean vessels broached the Northern Limit Line and fired at South-Korean patrol boat Chamsuri 357. More here.



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