It is exciting when new film festivals begin to take root on our own doorstep, like the Greater Manchester Film Festival, which debuted last month. However, an equally promising festival in the North-West is already in its second year. Screen Stockport is an independent short-film and television festival that has aimed to bring together filmmakers of all ages, regardless of background or experience.
After a successful first year the Screen Stockport team came back in force last month with a diverse look at film-making in all forms. From features on music videos, to short films and international works, the festival’s events proved fascinating for those with a burning interest for independent cinema. Furthermore, the day’s screenings were broken up by stimulating discussion with speakers of notable calibre; such as IMDB Founder and CEO Col Needham, who was in fact born and bred in the North-West.
What perhaps is most impressive about this festival is that it was founded by 19 year-old Manchester student Joe Barratt.
With parents who had careers in film production, Festival Director Joe took the knowledge he had been exposed to from an early age and applied it, to give his hometown of Stockport a cultural event they could be proud of. Currently a second-year Drama student at the University of Manchester, Joe’s standing is certainly reflected in the festival’s events, with a whole day dedicated to students. Young people from universities, schools and colleges were given the opportunity to submit short films to be presented and judged on the silver screen of the Stockport Plaza Cinema.
This year’s events were rounded off with two hilarious screenings with quintessential ‘northern’ roots. The first was a short called Escape Plan C which followed a husband in a dreary northern suburbia desperately trying to build a spaceship in his shed to escape his incessant nagging wife. Imaginative and quirky we were told at the end that it has already been considered for a TV adaptation. Finally we were shown new Zombie comedy flick Harold’s Going Stiff. Set in the countryside of the North-West, groups of men start suffering from some kind of extreme arthritis which progresses to a mental deterioration and through to a zombie-like frenzy. We follow elderly Harold who is the first sufferer of this disease, but whose symptoms do not extend beyond this stiffness. It’s a wildly inventive and, at times, touching escapade, which was apparently all shot in less than week and entirely on a SLR Photographic camera – the first feature-length film to have been done so.
After a highly successful second year it’s clear the Stockport Screen festival is doing much to establish itself as a major hub for the celebration of filmmaking in the North-West.
Source: Nihal Tharoor-Menon