MANIFF: Shorts Screening Three

Out of the 41 short films shown over the course of last weekend, the shorts session three screening included six of the official 2017 selection. The films included Dunroamin, Taubman, The Backseat, Birth of a Leader, The Disposers and One Sunday.

Taubman was one of the films that particular stood out to me from the screening. Directed by Ben Price and featuring Coronation Street stars Ian Puleston-Davies and Jack P Shepherd, the film told the story of a piano tuner applying for a passport with an interesting twist. As it deals with the rejection of the application from the interviewer, it also explores the xenophobia of modern day despite its futuristic setting. Through Shepard’s outstanding performance it became a clear favourite of mine from across MANIFF’s weekend of screenings.

Oliver Milburn’s tale of what seems to be a simple house viewing with conflicting characters becomes so much more. Robert Emm’s terrifying performance in particular makes it a very satisfying watch and with a shocking twist at the end of the film, Dunroamin certainly deserved more praise than it received.

The Backseat
Directed by Miranda Howard-Williams, The Backseat is a tale of young girl ‘Shelly’, who always sits at the back of the bus whilst commenting on her journey and her life. She’s a loveable, funny yet vulnerable character, that you can’t help but feel protective and sympathetic for. While the pace of the film is arguably a little on the slow side, the film’s real draw is it’s key message that keeps its viewer engaged throughout.

Birth of a Leader
This story of independence directed by Antoine Bary, explains the humorous struggles of entering the ‘real world’ for the very first time. Despite the French films interesting points, it seems to lose itself in a multitude of seemingly random events that can be difficult to dissect for meaning. However, the lively and awkward characters add a spark to the film that makes a refreshing watch, yet complex watch.

The Disposers
The film directed by Eden Hadad tackles the themes of friendship and sacrifice by examing two men in their late 60s, who are undertakers for an Israeli organisation. It’s an interesting film with dark themes that run throughout, making it’s somewhat uplifting ending quite a triumph for Hadad.

One Sunday
Directed by Zack Spiger, One Sunday explores the importance of family and how betrayal can effect it. If the film had been paced slower and explained in more depth, it could have been a great watch, however, I spent the majority of the film just trying to keep up with the plot and feeling dissatisfied as it came to a somewhat rushed conclusion. While it may have been flawed, it’s protagonists development throughout the short and interestingly portrayed themes kept it an enjoyable watch.

The screening also included a Q&A at the end featuring director of The Backseat, Miranda Howard-Williams and its Producer Adam Gregory Smith. They discussed how their inspiration came from them hearing about homeless people often being told to ride on night buses if the shelters were too full, and how they wanted to make a monologue type film based on their experience. They also talked about the actress, Kate Lassman Long who played the protagonist, ‘Shelly’, with the audience commenting on how they enjoyed the vulnerability she portrayed through her lively and vibrant performance.

We teamed up with Humanity Hallows to bring you complete coverage of the Manchester International Film Festival. You can view the full list of reviews which is being updated as we post new content here.

Evelyn Sweeney

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