Manchester International Film Festival: July 12th 2015

A slightly altered schedule for the final day of ManIFF, my second. Originally I was meant to be on site late to see The Imago, but instead I got here early, just in time to walk straight into a screening of Sidewalk Traffic. The alternative was to discover some local eateries and turn this into the traditional 'gastronomic aside' post. I thought I'd spare you.

Sidewalk Traffic plays into a bit of an internal film blogger debate around how to cover festival films. The film has got some good ideas, that are partially or fully developed. It's a film from a film-maker heading in the right direction - and as such, another well-programmed addition here - but it does also have several spotty clich├ęs and 'things to build on' that could conceivably hold back its 'star rating'. Is it helpful to rate festival films that feature both good signs and bad, or better to just have a bit of a discussion around them, at least until they make it to having distribution? I'm not sure of the answer.

Any way, Sidewalk Traffic, despite its annoying forced riffs and slightly glib independent-film-world setting, will probably get the benefit of the doubt. I left the cinema feeling glad that I'd seen it and I'm a sucker for films that find new and interesting ways to cover the financial crisis of 2007 onwards (see also: Arbitrage, Margin Call and plenty of others). Both leads, Erin Darke and Johnny Hopkins, are good and have the look of people heading only upwards.

Another documentary to finish, to follow Personal Gold yesterday, in a schedule pleasantly peppered with them. American Native falls into yet another of my wheelhouses (I'm a sucker for hidden bits of American culture, and I wish I could have made time for Buskin' Blues), telling the story of The Ramapough Mountain Indians, who live just thirty miles from Manhattan.

American Native plays into another slightly 'inside baseball' internal film writing debate: interviews. I'm not a fan. I understand they generate traffic and some people like them, but they're also a way for the film industry to 'sell' to you face-to-face and you only need to look at how close some of the major film blogs are now to being solely industry sales tools to see the negative side. Distance is, I think, sometimes a benefit. But...

American Native is a film with a lot to say and a ripple effect out into culture, and director Steve Oritt spoke well at a post-screening Q&A he conducted himself. I grabbed some time with him afterwards and had a really good chat about his film, documentaries, film festivals and more. There will be pieces on the site for both the interview and the film later in the week.

Just before leaving I had a brief chat with Neil Jeram Croft, one of the two co-founders for ManIFF. He said all the right things about the reasons behind the festival, the aims going forward, the support for the film makers and the hopes he has for the festival's future support. I for one hope that he gets them. ManIFF had all the hallmarks and groundwork for a major professional festival, something which, as per the post yesterday, Manchester really needs and surely deserves. See you next year ManIFF.

Manchester International Film Festival runs from 10th - 12th July 2015 at the AMC Manchester Great Northern Warehouse. More details are available on the ManIFF website.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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