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  • Caity Koz

International Film Festival Coming To Manchester

Updated: Aug 24

At the heart of Manchester is the arts, and the heart is about to get even bigger. Manchester’s first International Film Festival is taking stage starting on August 12 at the Rex Theater.


The Rex Theater has a long history: it spent time as a printing press, a cinema, and a nightclub; it survived a fire, was closed, and sold. But the lights turned on again just a few years ago as it re-opened as part of the Palace Theater, restarting a journey to bring “the magic of movies back to downtown Manchester,” which is the tagline of the inaugural film festival.


The theater and festival are “celebrating that this used to be a place where people can come see movies,” according to Warren O'Reilly, the Festival Director.


While movies will always stay central, the Rex has become so much more: the “role of the Rex has been community from day one: fundraisers, chamber of commerce meetings, political events, midnight movies, kicking off ski season, live podcast tapings, [and] live comedy tapings” have all appeared at the Rex.


And while it boasts the international name, as well as some big names - John Lithgow will be speaking - the festival has the Manchester community at its heart.


“We want to stay as the ‘of the city, for the city film festival,” O’Reilly explains. “Our goal is to promote local Manchester voices and tell local stories.”


New Hampshire filmmakers were able to submit their work for consideration for free. “We have accepted and will continue to make space in the festival for local work. This is a commitment we will make every year.”


For those that enjoy film but aren’t filmmakers, the festival is making sure that the event is affordable: tickets are just $20 for an entire day of events (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) and $10 for students. The only event not covered by this pricing is Lithgow’s talk - but a ticket to that talk covers not just his event but the entire rest of the weekend.


The film festival will have traditional festival events - screenings of movies of all kinds along with in-person talks. A full schedule of events can be found here, but keep your eyes peeled here as well: we’ll be profiling some of the events over the next two weeks in our ‘Countdown to the Manchester International Film Festival” series.


As O’Reilly muses, “Every film has its festival, and every festival has its film. We hope to find stories that fit our festival,” and the Manchester International Film Festival is sure to do just that.





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