Manchester Film Festival announce 2017 gala films

Northwest talent such as on-the-rise Oldham-born actor Olivia Cooke feature in the opening and closing films for this year's Manchester Film Festival

Article by The Skinny | 10 Jan 2017
  • Kate Says Goodbye

The bookends for the third Manchester Film Festival (2-5 Mar) have been announced this morning. Events kick off on 2 March with the world premiere of Alfie Boe – On the Wheels of a Dream, a documentary following the opera singer of the title. We’re told the film follows Boe while “on tour in the US, UK and Canada as he attempts to find a broader audience without alienating the fans he already has.” Programming director Al Bailey said, “With Alfie’s roots being in the North West of England, it’s a great fit for our opening night film. Having the world premiere in Manchester is fantastic!”

The opening gala also features some short films with a Northwest flavour, including Luke Losey’s One Last Dance, starring Jonathan Pryce; Taubman, directed by Manchester-based filmmaker Ben Price; and Paul Hendy’s comedy The Last Laugh, which features a depiction of the legendary Eric Morecambe.

The festival closes with Kate Says Goodbye, from first-time filmmaker Wayne Roberts. The film follows the trials and tribulations of a waitress at a truck stop in a tiny Arizona town, who's played by rising talent Olivia Cooke. Having starred as “the dying girl” in indie hit Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, the Oldham-born actor is soon to feature in Stephen Spielberg’s return to the sci-fi gene, Ready Player One. Expect to see much more of Cooke in the future.

“Although MANIFF is very much an international film festival,” notes Bailey, “it’s massively important that we champion local filmmaking identity and our opening and closing night Galas do exactly that. Olivia Cooke is sensational in Kate Says Goodbye and it will be a great end to what will be a festival crammed full of exciting stories from the world of independent cinema.”

The theme of this year’s Manchester Film Festival is “The Rising Talent of Independent Cinema” and promises to showcase 90 plus films from 2 to 5 March.

The full lineup of films will be announced 17 Jan.