Welcome to the 2023 festival sponsored by the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University and curated by staff from the university’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU).

Since 2019 we’ve remained true to our mission – screening great films which provoke debate and provide an alternative take on crime, justice and punishment in the 21st century.

In this year’s programme (see below) we’ve brought you an eclectic mix of crime classics and lesser-known gems chosen by crime experts and film enthusiasts.  They will be on hand to introduce their movie choices and to answer your questions at Q+A sessions after each screening.  This year we’re pleased to be partnering internationally with colleagues at City University Hong Kong and the University of Indonesia. In the UK, the festival is being supported by our partners: Novus – a provider of education in prisons; HMP/YOI Thorncross; HMP Humber; and Code 4000 workshop – a charity who teach software development skills in prison.

FREE: All events are free.  We will be hosting some events in-person only, at the cinema at 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH, next to Oxford Road Station.  Other events will be in-person and ONLINE.

We look forward to welcoming old friends and new audiences alike, from the UK and internationally.

See you at the movies!

Your festival team:

Kevin Wong, Gavin Bailey, Anton Roberts and Phil Edwards

1: American Psycho with Jenny Van Hooff and Mike Salinas –

Tuesday 25th April 17.30 – 20.00 FREE  

At 70, Oxford Street Manchester, M1 5NH

Directed by Mary Harron and co-written with Guinevere Turner, starring Christian Bale. Based on the 1991 Brett Easton-Ellis novel, this cult movie charts the life of Wall Street banker and serial killer Patrick Bateman and has been described as a neo-noir satirical psychological horror film.

Selected by Manchester Metropolitan’s Dr Jenny van Hooff and Dr Mike Salinas. In their introduction and Q+A, Jenny and Mike will explore themes of masculinity, consumer culture and crime and the eradication of emotion from contemporary dating.


2: True Crime: Making a killing with Dr David Holmes

Tuesday 2nd of May 17.30-19.00 FREE

At 70, Oxford Street Manchester, M1 5NH and ONLINE

In this talk, illustrated with clips from popular ‘True Crime’ TV programmes, Dr David Holmes will take a critical look at True Crime in the media and ask why it has become the fastest growing popular genre of TV programmes. Do these programmes help viewers protect themselves from dangerous individuals they may encounter in everyday life, or are they just superficial sensationalist entertainment?

David established and was Director of the Forensic Research Group at Manchester Metropolitan. He has been a forensic consultant on box office movies and UK TV programmes such as ‘Casualty’ (BBC 1).


3: Anatomy of Violence – by Anton Roberts & NorthRaven Film –

Wednesday 3rd May 17.30 – 19.30  FREE 

At 70, Oxford Street Manchester, M1 5NH and ONLINE

NorthRaven Film presents the exclusive premiere of a documentary film directed by Paul Northover & Jez Hawkes, and written and presented by Anton Roberts. Anatomy of Violence explores the complex world of violence. How should we as a society should respond to the apparent ‘epidemic’ of violence? Where does violence come from – is it something primitive and unthinking – and what is it actually for? Follow Anton as he speaks with a range of experts in the fields of video games, music, domestic violence/homicide and youth mentoring, and to those with first-hand experiences of the realities of imprisonment.

Anton will be joined at the Q+A by UK and USA contributors to the film.


4: Shoplifters with Dr Ho Wing Chung

Wednesday 10th May 17.30–20.10 FREE

At 70, Oxford Street Manchester, M1 5NH and ONLINE

Selected by Dr Ho Wing Chung and 2020 Student Choice competition winner Charlotte Gislam.

Wing Chung will join us from Hong Kong to introduce the film and host a Q&A after the screening. He is an Associate Professor at City University, Hong Kong and his research interests include the sociology of marginality in Chinese societies.

Directed, written and edited by Hirokazu Kore-eda (director of Broker), Shoplifters “gives audiences a different perspective on the crime families established by films such as The Godfather – the family’s crimes in Shoplifters are due to desperation and need. The film examines found family and the legal rights of birth parents, and asks what crimes are considered worse: those which affect a person’s physical and mental health or taking that which doesn’t ‘belong’ to yourself.” (Charlotte Gislam)


5: You and I – with Iqrak Sulhin and Gloria Truly Estrelita

Saturday 13th May 13.00 FREE

At 70, Oxford Street Manchester, M1 5NH and ONLINE

Fanny Chotimah’s film is “..a gracious documentation of female friendship between two political prisoners nearing the end of their days.” (Olivia Hird, Radical Art Review)

74-year-old Kusdalini and 70-year-old Kaminah first met in prison in 1965. Since being released they have lived and worked together in Surakarta, Central Java, making a modest living.

Fanny Chotimah – the director of “You and I” will be joining us to introduce the film. After the screening, Iqrak Sulhin and Gloria Truly Estrelita from the University of Indonesia, who selected this film will joining us for a discussion and Q+A.

6: Captain Phillips – HMP/YOI Thorncross – Learners’ Choice

Tuesday 16th May 17.30 – 19.45 FREE

At 70, Oxford Street Manchester, M1 5NH

Individuals undertaking education provision run by Novus (Leading Prison Education | Foundations For Change | Novus) in His Majesty’s Prison and Young Offender Institution (HMP/YOI)Thorn Cross were invited by the festival team to select a film for the festival.

As part of their Functional Skills English class learners discussed the brief, their own experiences of the Criminal Justice Sector and selected Captain Phillips as their film choice.

Directed by Paul Greengrass and based on the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, the film tells the story of the eponymous Captain Richard Phillips, an American merchant mariner who was taken hostage by Somali pirates. It stars Tom Hanks as Phillips, alongside Barkhad Abdi as pirate leader Abduwali Muse.

Novus staff will be attending to explain how the learners made their film selection and the discussion that they had.


7: Le Trou (The Hole) – with Mike Nellis

Tuesday 23rd May 18.00 – 20.45 (132 mins) FREE

At 70, Oxford Street Manchester, M1 5NH

This 1960 film, hailed as a masterpiece by Francois Truffaut, was directed by French legend Jacques Becker and scripted by Becker, Jose Giovanni and Jean Aurel. Le Trou is based on a novel by an ex-con, itself based on a real-life escape from Le Sante prison in Paris. Rarely seen and little known, it is one of the truly great prison movies, an unacknowledged influence on many others.

Selected by Mike Nellis Emeritus Professor at Strathclyde University, whose 2009 paper The aesthetics of redemption: Released prisoners in American film and literature is an ardent argument for the capability of fiction to shape the penal sensibilities of civil society. Mike will introduce the film and host a Q+A afterwards.


8: Time and Space – Short film created and produced by learners from HMP Humber supported by staff from Novus Graft Studio and Code 4000 workshop

Tuesday 6th June 17.30- 19.30 FREE

At 70, Oxford Street Manchester, M1 5NH and ONLINE

This animated film has been created by people undertaking education provision in His Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Humber.  The film responds to a brief from the festival team which asked the learners to explore the theme of public and private space in prisons (spaces that might be ‘yours’ at some times in the day but not others; spaces for staff and for people in prison; spaces divided by locked doors and gates…).

The film incorporates elements of video, 2D and 3D animation and is being created by learners from both the Graft Studio Art workshop (Novus) and Code 4000 (HMP Humber).

The Code 4000 workshop is run by the prison using a curriculum provided by the Code 4000 charity:

We hope to have contributions at this event from the learners who created the film and the staff who supported them.

Code 4000, is a charity whose mission is to reduce reoffending by teaching software development skills to prisoners and to find them work in the technology sector upon release. They are the first programme in the UK and Europe to teach computer programming to prisoners and take their inspiration from The Last Mile, an established prison coding programme that started in San Quentin, but now also runs in several prisons throughout the USA.

Staff who worked with the learners will be attending the event to talk about the challenges learners faced creating the film.