Festival season is well and truly upon us and the crown jewel of this summer’s film circuit in the UK is the inaugural MUBI FEST Manchester, which will take place at Aviva Studios.

Across two days on 12-13 July, MUBI FEST Manchester will play host to some of the best world cinema out there right now, as well as industry talks, DJ sets and art installations.

The celebration of global film and culture in Manchester will be the first of many across a number of other global destinations, including Mexico City, São Paulo, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Santiago and Bogota.

Opening the film programme for the UK’s first ever edition of MUBI FEST is award-winning LGBTQ+ film Crossing

Directed by Levan Akin (And Then We Danced), Crossing was recognised with the Teddy Award at this year’s Berlin International Festival, taking home the top prize for an LGBTQ+ film.

The opening night screening – presented in partnership with GAY TIMES – will be followed by a Q&A with Levan Akin before the film is released nationwide the following week on 19 July. After the film, dance til late at the afterparty with music from Fastlove.

See below for a round-up of the weekend’s most-anticipated film screenings as well as the full FREE programme:

CROSSING (with Director Q&A)
Date:19:00 12 July
Location: The Hall, Aviva Studios
Tickets: £5 – BUY HERE – (use code GAYTIMES to redeem special offer price for all GT Readers)
Director: Levan Akin
Cast: Deniz Dumanli, Mzia Arabuli, Lucas Kankava

Retired Georgian school teacher Lia crosses the Turkish border to reunite with her estranged niece Tekla in this powerful story of trans acceptance from director Levan Akin (And The We Danced). Lia is dedicated to fulfilling her sister’s dying wish to reconnect with her trans daughter, which sets the scene for a road trip that explores cultural shame, growth and transformation.

Accompanied by her young neighbour Achi, as they explore the depths of Istanbul through this tender tale of identity and acceptance, they enlist the help of trans rights lawyer Evrim to seek out Tekla for an emotional reunion.

GASOLINE RAINBOW (with Director Q&A)
Date: 15:00 13 July
Location: The Hall, Aviva Studios
Tickets: £8 – BUY HERE  (use code GAYTIMES to redeem special offer price for all GT Readers)
Director: Ross Brothers
Cast: Tony Aburto, Micah Bunch, Nichole Dukes, Nathaly Garcia, Makai Garza

In their first fiction feature-length film, director brothers Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross turn their hand towards the classic roadtrip, coming-of-age story. Five high school outsiders embark on one final adventure together following their graduation, but their trip takes an unexpected turn when their van breaks down in the middle of the desert.

There’s no specific plan for their adventure across Oregon, which allows the group to find the beauty in connection, conversation and compassion as they encounter strangers along the way. Gasoline Rainbow has been praised for painting a picture of Gen Z in modern-day America through its human-focused storytelling, presenting a fresh and modern perspective on the classic teen road trip genre.

IN CAMERA (with Director Q&A)
Date: 19:00 13 July
Location: The Hall, Aviva Studios
Tickets: £8 – BUY HERE  (use code GAYTIMES to redeem special offer price for all GT Readers)
Director: Naqqash Khalid
Cast: Nabhaan Rizwan, Amir El-Masry, Rory Fleck Byrne

Aden is a British-Asian twenty-something trying to create a name for himself as a successful actor in this sharp and witty debut feature from writer-director Naqqash Khalid. Shot in Manchester, the film is candid in spotlighting the inequity and prejudice within the entertainment industry, as well as modern British life at large.

Aden’s flatmate Bo is a stressed junior doctor driven to hallucinations, but it’s when confident newcomer Conrad moves in that sets the actor’s path on a new course. With a critically-lauded performance from Nabhaan Rizwan as Aden, the barriers faced by the character forces him to treat “success” as a role he needs to embody in everyday life to overcome the hypocrisy and tokenism at play. It results in an ambitious indie title that is funny, compelling and subverts convention.

Nabhaan Rizwan stars as Aden in In Camera (2023)

There’s a number of free access activities for festival attendees too, including the MUBI Screen where you can immerse yourself in a series of short and feature length films all weekend from the likes of Sofia Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, and one of the first screenings of Skepta’s directorial debut short film Tribal Mark. ;

There’s an opening night party on Friday from Manchester’s queer-run music collective High Hoops; Saturday music performances from artists including Chandé, Hannah O’Gorman, Bollibubbles and Tarzsa; and a special MUBI Poster Installation.

Other free-to-attend highlights include a line-up of talks including Life in the Creative Industries, a Director Roundtable on Casting, and a Behind the Scenes with Film Industry Professionals; and an Art Table with drop-in workshops where you can create some fun pieces of art inspired by film.

The festival will also have food and drink on offer from a number of partners, including Most Wanted Wines,  fresh pasta, tacos, Detroit-style pizzas, breakfast burritos and small plates on offer.

With surprises planned for across the weekend, there will be plenty more activities and chances to celebrate in store.

To find out more about MUBI FEST Manchester and see the full line-up of screenings and activities, you can visit their website here.

This article was produced in partnership with MUBI