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By midlandsmovies, Aug 3 2019 04:48PM



Midlands Spotlight - Film Press Kits and Festival Planning


In August 2019 we spent an amazing day with filmmaker Daniel Alexander who invited us to Birmingham to talk local film, press, marketing and short film festivals to a group of future movie-makers participating in the 'Back In' film development programme.


The programme is aimed to support support BAME filmmakers in Birmingham who will be given the opportunity to develop industry knowledge and professional connections as part of a six-month artist development programme.


The programme is run by creative agency Punch as well as Daniel who will empower the new wave of filmmakers with project support, one-on-one mentoring, masterclasses and peer-to-peer sessions.


Midlands Movies was there to share our experience and knowledge of press kits and press releases. Receiving over a huge amount each year from local filmmakers, we put together a document to help filmmakers avoid the common pitfalls that can see their press releases being ignored.


In addition, from the Midlands Movies Awards to being on festival panels, we also created a handout around the planning and preparation short filmmakers should undertake as they get ready to showcase their work at movie events after their production has finished.


And we're sharing both of them here! (click on the links to open as printable WORD documents):


*** Midlands Movies Press Kit Handout ***


*** Midlands Movies Film Festival Handout ***



The programme has been running a number of years and culminates with a screening of the participants’ shorts which will be premiered later in 2019.


Supporting the next generation of young filmmakers will help them getting better connected amongst learning many other industry skills. Currently, the film industry workforce does not reflect the diversity of the UK. In production, only 3% of employees are from a minority ethnic background, compared to 12.5% nationally.


Check out more info about Daniel at https://www.danielalexanderfilms.com/


For more info about Punch Records, visit punch-records.co.uk


Michael Sales

Midlands Movies Editor




By midlandsmovies, Jul 30 2019 04:05PM



Framing John DeLorean (2019) Dir. Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce


As a huge fan of Back to the Future, I’ve always dreamed of driving the time machine car with its gull-winged doors and silver UFO-appearance – which fan hasn’t I guess? With my limited knowledge of its designer John DeLorean, the documentary actually avoids too much focus on its iconic place in the timeless 80s cinema classic and instead wisely focuses on the mysterious engineer of the auto industry behind the vehicle.


Funnily enough though, Back to the Future’s writer Bob Gale is one of the first people interviewed. And he questions why Hollywood hasn’t used DeLorean’s story for a biopic given his life full of women, cars, business and later on, criminal goings-on. The documentary follows DeLorean’s story from his huge success at General Motors in the 60s and 70s using standard talking head interviews, archive footage and contemporary opinions from DeLorean’s children.


However, and rather strangely, the film also has dramatic recreations of a number of important moments in his life starring Alec Baldwin as the auto expert. Again, it’s a little bizarre as we see are also shown the behind-the-scenes preparations for these sequences. Baldwin imparts his thoughts on the man as he sits in the make-up chair having massive fake eyebrows attached to look more like DeLorean.


The intention I guess seems to be an attempt to delve into DeLorean’s motivations and what “made him tick”. Although not entirely successful, or needed at all, it does add a creative flavour to the standard documentary format which was refreshing.


DeLorean doesn’t make his dream easy as he sets up a factory in Northern Ireland (during the violent Troubles no less) but his goal to be an independent car manufacturer is welcomed in a country torn apart by bombs and guns. Offering a chance of employment, the Catholic/Protestant production line workers find a place of safety and solidarity and are visibly upset when the it closes.


Unfortunately, his lack of genuine manufacturing experience and the dearth of funding takes its toll. And DeLorean is suddenly involved in two court cases - one involving a drug deal and another a case of embezzlement. But this is an excellent documentary with a unique, if a bit confused, splash of drama edited into it, with the film exploring the multifaceted aspects of his extraordinary life.


And it ends with his disappointed children acknowledging that if Back to the Future had been released just months earlier, the subsequent interest in the car may have saved the company. But like the mistakes he made himself you can’t go back in time, not even in a DeLorean.


★★★★


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Jul 29 2019 06:00PM


Poster courtesy of Adam Blakemore of Strelka Design
Poster courtesy of Adam Blakemore of Strelka Design


Growing Shadows


Directed by Sophie Black


Triskelle Pictures


2019


With her debut in 1966, Poison Ivy is one of Batman’s most enduring enemies yet has also been portrayed as a love interest of Bruce Wayne as well as a key part of Gotham’s rogues gallery.


Often depicted as a morally-ambiguous villain – who does wrong things for the right reasons – she is the central character in a new fan-film short from Derby filmmaker Sophie Black.


Black has become somewhat of an auteur in the region with her flowery gothic fantasy visions seen in both Songbird (our review) and Night Owls (review here). And her recurring themes of make-believe and creation sit nicely within this world where natural surroundings are corrupted by criminal goings-on.


We open at Arkham Asylum, the famous psychiatric ward in Batman’s Gotham City and we see Poison Ivy herself in a cramped cell. A suitably Danny Elfman-style score harking back to Tim Burton’s two Batman films is a nice touch, as well as setting the dark tone of the short.


Whilst Poison Ivy was played by Uma Thurman in the campy (and horrendous) Batman and Robin in 1997, the filmmaker’s nod to Burton is the first of many welcome nods to the caped crusader’s gothic origins.


The prison is lit with green light on Ivy’s green skin but her blood-red hair is a flash of stark crimson hinting upon her deadly deeds.


Poison Ivy is played excellently by Aislinn De’ath who delivers well-written cryptic dialogue in a perfect American accent and Black has done a great job of hiding the film’s Midlands “roots” to create a convincing American style scenario.


We discover that someone is using Ivy’s murderous methods to infect people who could destroy the environment. And she discusses her situation with a man who arrives at her cell to whom she later refers to as Bruce. Of course, Mr. Bruce Wayne (played by Robert Dukes).


As they spar back and forth through the bars of the cell, Bruce asks “Do you think this is a joke?” (well I know one character from Gotham who might) and we find Bruce is infected himself. Part of a larger scheme set in motion by Ivy perhaps? Well, you’ll have to watch for yourself to find out.


The production design has always been fantastic in Black’s films and the same goes here as well. Although for me a wider variety of camera angles would have been a bit more creative to keep it visually interesting given the limited locations in the short’s 10 minutes.


With talk of environmental disaster, Ivy’s frustration builds and we hear a ‘growing’ cacophony as she holds her head in her hands and, wait, was that a cackling laugh I heard in the sound mix? Possibly.


As the short concludes we get a flowering mind, body and spirit (more of Black’s familiar themes) and the film admirably explores a little-seen character of the Batman mythology. An interesting concept, Growing Shadows is another fan-film from the region that uses the superhero genre as their backdrop.


Joey Lever’s Spider-Man 2 - Another World is a very different feature-length playground but with so many Marvel and DC films released in the last 5 years, it’s great to see filmmakers deliver their own local versions of pre-established fan favourites.


And in the end, by stepping up to that challenge, Sophie Black has reinterpreted this classic DC villainess whilst also exploring her own dark obsessions in this greenhouse of horrors.


Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Jul 28 2019 10:22AM

Midlands Spotlight - New trailer for Jungleland


Jungleland is a new Birmingham-made film from local filmmaker/director Waheed Iqbal and after a busy summer in post production will soon to be released later in 2019.


Made on a very limited budget of just under £5,000 Iqbal wrote, directed, produced and acted in the film himself. As well as this the multi-faceted filmmaker took on the major role in post-production where he carried entirely carried out work on the film's picture & sound.


Not content to throw himself into every aspect of the filmmaking process, at the same time all of the work was done whilst he was a student during the last academic year.


Jungleland also features famous tracks from Bruce Springsteen and Chromatics (whose music was featured heavily in the film Drive),as well as Tangerine Dream, Alisha and Mazzy Star, all of which he has the complete rights to use.


The film itself was planned, shot and edited in just under a year and there was never any more than 4 of 5 crew members (including the director himself) working on the shoot at any given time.


"This was my first film, and the first film for the entire crew, which was made up of college students", says Iqbal.


And he hopes all the hard work will pay off as the entire producion team look forward to the upcoming release.


Watch the full teaser trailer below:






By midlandsmovies, Jul 28 2019 08:10AM



Thunder Road (2019) Dir. Jim Cummings


Written by Jim Cummings, based on Thunder Road by Jim Cummings, music by Jim Cummings, co-edited by Jim Cummings, visual effects by Jim Cummings and starring Jim Cummings playing a guy called Jim. A passion project you say?


Well, it’s been said that a single vision can be better than committee thinking and boy is that true in new indie drama Thunder Road. I say drama but there are lashings of dark comedy throughout this 90-minute movie extended from Cumming’s own short film of the same name.


Story wise, we get Cummings playing Jim Arnaud, a police officer and soon to be divorced father whose mother passes away which sets him on a downward spiral of frustration and rage.


We are introduced to his awkward – but incredibly sincere – persona at his mother’s funeral. In a 12-minute uncut shot, Jim forgets parts of his speech and embarrassingly dances at the front of a church in silence as a CD player he has brought fails to work. In a scene reminiscent of David Brent’s biggest gaffs, the one-shot forces the audience to share the experience in excruciating embarrassment.


Jim is then forced to take time off from his cop work after a disturbance and he tries, but fails, to bond with his daughter Rosalind (an excellent low-key role from Jocelyn DeBoer). Jim’s attempts to straighten his life fall flat and the film brilliantly mixes sympathy with his hot-headed reckless reactions as his life falls apart.


Through gritted teeth the audience will laugh at times but Cumming’s full break-down in front of his cop colleagues and is as powerful and passionate as anything I have seen in 2019. His friend Nate Lewis is played by Nican Robinson in a fantastic performance as a fellow officer, whose life is seemingly doing much better, desperately seeking ways in which to help his friend.


A scene at Rosalind’s school sees Jim again fly off the handle whilst a custody hearing again brings out our sympathies again when a misplaced word leads to disastrous consequences as he desperately tries to cling to the last remaining aspect of his once happy life.


Cummings explores areas of masculinity, loss, family and violence in a subtle and sensitive way that also never imposes on the film’s main narrative. Tackling these issues with a dark view, the audience won’t be able to stop themselves from slowing down to absorb every thoughtful detail of the fiery car wreck that is Jim’s life.


And so this self-destruction lies at the heart of the film. The discomfort we’d like to avoid is expressed as laughter at times and it's with relief Jim’s struggles build to a crescendo in a very satisfying pay-off.


Hooking the film on Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road, which is about a couple who have "one last chance to make it real”, is an apt metaphor but here the couple are no longer a romantic one but the twosomes around him: whether that be a close friend, his sister, ex-wife, and most influencing of all, his at rest mother from the past and the future bond with his daughter. And many of the scenes play out with just two people, framed with Jim desperately trying to make a connection in a rough world.


With a startling low micro-budget of just $200,000, Cummings has created a true masterpiece – with his talented self, rightly so, at the centre. Is it a dark comedy drama? Is it a reflection of contemporary American talking-points? Well, it’s all that and more but without doubt it comes hugely recommended as not just one of the best debut films of the year, but one of the best films period.


★★★★★


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Jul 26 2019 03:57PM



Midlands Review - Betrayal


Directed by French Director


NFX Films


2019


“I thought we were friends”.


A man awakens in a hotel room from an amnesiac slumber to call out the name “Jess” in this mysterious opening to a new drama film called Betrayal from local filmmaker ‘French Director’. An intriguing pseudonym to say the least!


However, it doesn’t take him too long to find who he was looking for as this missing girl is discovered dead in the main room. And from this small but significant incident, Betrayal sets up an intriguing enigma of what horrid things happened to get our characters to this moment.


Cutting to later that night, the man (Joshmaine Joseph) meets a friend (Mathias T André) in a dark underpass to discuss who could have possibly committed the act. But as these things often go, the man doesn’t want the authorities involved – in fact, he would prefer to take matters into his own hands. And what do we see in hands? A pistol. And it’s ready for action.


As the man enters a high-rise apartment (or what could pass as one on a limited budget), our vigilante incapacitates a burly security guard. He then confronts a well-dressed man (The Return of the Ring’s Dominic Thompson) by aiming the gun barrel to his head ready to enact some sort of murderous retribution. But is everything really as it seems? And doesn't this man seem a bit too keen to kill?


Well, the director moves us around the story with aplomb as a flashback takes us to the exact same characters in the same location. But this time the suited man shows our lead some very incriminating video evidence of his nearest and dearest.


On the technical side, the director deftly uses handheld camera to give the short gritty realism whilst the brief fight scene is well edited which provides it with a brutal edge.


The film also has all the strong elements of a thriller here too. A mystery set up. Criminals in dark alleys. A henchman fight. I suppose for me though there was nothing particularly new added to this mix of these often-seen genre staples. And although functional, the script could have been given one more pass to drop a few clichés (“we’re monsters”, “we had a deal”). However, given the run-time the lines may have been direct and to the point to keep its quick tempo.


The fast pace does keep the momentum up and we are pushed to a dramatic conclusion. The editing throughout is also strong so as to slowly reveal the layers of the secrets it sets up. Kudos should also go to the stark film noir lighting which can be difficult on a low budget but is more than successfully pulled off here.


Betrayal therefore ends up being a solid short crime story. The best thing for me was the dexterity of the director trying lots of cinematic techniques to further his skill. In just 8 minutes we get a well-constructed story, action, drama and sadness – all delivered with great technical capability from someone who knows the genre well.


So although this is the first film I’ve seen from “French Director” (actually West Midlands filmmaker Idi Assoumanou I believe), from the promising talent I’ve seen in Betrayal, I certainly don’t think it will be my last.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Jul 26 2019 02:00PM

Movies shot in the Midlands


The Midlands with its mix of industrial cities and town centres and its swathes of picturesque countryside and regal-like manors and houses can provide film-makers with a wide range of locations for their shoots.


We take a look at some of the films that were made in the region and recommend that you go and check them out as most of these places are open to visitors too!


“Morning film fans - We'll be tweeting Midlands movie locations you can visit over the sunny weekend around the region...”


Cult classic The Princess Bride (1987) was shot on location at Haddon Hall #Derby which represented Humperdinck's Florin Castle in the film


#Jadoo (2013) is a comedy starring Harish Patel (from Run Fatboy Run) and filmed entirely in #Leicester @JadooMovie


Tom Hooper directed The Damned United (2009) with Michael Sheen as Brian Clough & Chesterfield FC stood in for Wembley in the film #Derby


Another football movie Goal 3 was filmed around the #Midlands including in #Nottingham and at #Leicester's King Power stadium


I visited Snake Pass, Kedleston #Derby few years ago which is in 2007's "And When Did You Last See Your Father?" http://t.co/mOablgizfM


Snake Pass was on way to Hadfield #Derby where I visited locale of The League of Gentlemen (2005 film from TV series) http://t.co/oswgfuV7Wj


The coastal marshes from Atonement (2007) are at Gedney Drove End, a beach on the Wash in #Lincolnshire #Midlands


The Upper Derwent Valley in #Derbyshire (the test area for the real raids) doubled as the Ruhr valley for the film The Dam Busters (1955)


In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) when Snape arrives at ‘Malfoy Manor’ it is actually Hardwick Hall in #Derbyshire #Midlands


And last year, Midlands Movies visited @WollatonHall #Nottingham for @OutdoorFilm in this #DarkKnightRises get up http://t.co/7sjyMNNHQ8


Les Misérables (2013) depicted the family estate of Marius using Boughton House, Kettering in #Northampton #Midlands


The Italian Job (1969) - Although the entrance was filmed in Turin, the length of sewer used was a new pipe being installed in #Coventry


Jan De Bont's The Haunting (1999) was filmed both at Harlaxton Manor (Great Hall) in Grantham #Lincolnshire & at Belvoir Castle #Leicester


Felicia’s Journey (1999) - The rainy street scene and cinema exteriors in the Bob Hoskins movie were filmed in Station Street outside the Electric Cinema, where a plaque was later erected.


Thunderball (1965) used RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire for the film's Airforce base runway scene #Midlands #Lincolnshire


Bolsover's local pit fitting workshop and the Empire were used as locations for the film The Full Monty (1997) #Derby #Midlands


Four Feathers (2002) starring Heath Ledger was partly filmed at Burley House in Oakham #Leicestershire #Midlands


Goodbye Mr Chips (1939) had the exterior shots of Brookfield School filmed at Repton School near Burton #Derby #Midlands


Midlands director @ShadyMeadows 2002 Once Upon a Time in the Midlands starred Robert Carlyle and was set primarily in Carlton #Nottingham


The Old Bailey in Scandal (1989) is actually Shire Hall in High Pavement #Nottingham and stood in for the infamous courts during the movie


Nicholas Winding Refn filmed 2009's Bronson (Tom Hardy) around the St. Ann’s, Sherwood, Worksop & Welbeck Abbey areas of #Nottingham


Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) starred Albert Finney and was shot at the Raleigh Bicycle factory in Radford #Nottingham


Shadowlands (1993): Among the locations used in the Anthony Hopkins movie were Hole-in-the- Wall, Capler Woods and historic Goodrich Castle.


#Leicester's Great Central Railway is a pivotal location in Buster (1988), Phil Collins’ Great Train Robbery movie and The Hours (2002)


Control (2000) about the life/death of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis was partly filmed in #Nottingham around places Curtis was known to frequent


Belvoir Castle #Leicester is home to the Duke of Rutland & seen in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) + Ron Howard’s The Da Vinci Code #midlands

John Cleese 80s classic farce Clockwise had scenes filmed at Edward’s School, Edgbaston & Menzies High School in West Brom #midlands


Brassed Off (1996) actually saw the band play in #Birmingham Town Hall which stood in for the Royal Albert Hall in the movie #Midlands


Ralph and Cedric argue at "Windsor Castle" in King Ralph (1991) which starred John Goodman but it is actually great hall and state rooms of Warwick Castle, Warks.


#Derby hero Alan Bates starred in Women in Love ('69) which featured Kedleston Hall as his & Eleanor Bron’s house #midlands #film


#Derby's historic Chatsworth House was turned into Mr Darcy’s home “Pemberley” in Pride and Prejudice (2005) #midlands


Haddon Hall, Bakewell, was used as Hatfield House, Elizabeth (1997) & doubled as Thornfield Hall in Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre (1996) #Midlands


The Da Vinci Code was partly filmed in Lincolnshire including Burghley House, Stamford and "Westminster Abbey" was in fact Lincoln Cathedral


The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) by Justin Chadwick starred Scarlett Johansson & Natalie Portman as Mary Boleyn and sister Anne Boleyn. Parts of the film were shot in Dovedale, Cave Dale in Castleton and Haddon Hall, as well as at North Lees Hall.


"Thor's Cave, Manifold Valley, Staffordshire and the Peak District in Derby were both used for locations in The Lair of the White Worm (1988)


I've saved the best until last - Top Secret! (1984) - Fleurgendorf prison exterior filmed at Rockingham Castle, Corby #Northamptonshire


Movies in the Midlands, Films in the Midlands, Films shot in the Midlands, Film Locations in the Midlands, Movie Locations in the Midlands, Midlands Movies, Midllands Films

By midlandsmovies, Jul 24 2019 09:52PM



Midlands Spotlight - Singh: Number 7


We find out about upcoming Leicester based football film Singh: Number 7 which follows a young British-Asian player called Jasdeep Singh and his struggle to make it as a professional footballer.


From Leicester's West Knighton Films, this exciting new movie sees an aspiring sportsman chasing an unrelenting dream to become a professional footballer and make it to the highest level in the game.


With monumental pitfalls and obstacles standing in way, such as institutionalized racism, cultural stereotypes, and a skeptical family, Jas finds himself at a crossroads.


The story also sees Jas having an amazing opportunity to prove himself on the biggest stage of all after an unbelievable FA Cup run. Will he take this once in a lifetime chance or will he become just another statistic?


Well, filmmaker Pardeep Chera will hopefully be "on the ball" as he creates a film based around a contemporary underdog story that follows those whose talent eventually shines through despite major adversity.


"This could either be through poverty, abuse or physical disability", says Pardeep, with Singh: Number 7 painting a gritty setting indicative and reflective of the area the story is set, the outskirts of Leicester.


With vibrant suburban homes mixing with local businesses and a football field or park every few miles, the setting is perfect for this exicitng tale of drama and dreams.


Pardeep himself is also an actor with more than 7 years of experience in the industry. His career began as he took to the stage in various theatre productions but eventually he shifted his focus onto film.


Watch the newly released trailer below and get following on social media for the latest updates


Twitter: https://twitter.com/SinghNumber7








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