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By midlandsmovies, Apr 25 2020 11:17AM

The Hot List - Midlands Films to Look Out For in 2020

With the world on a hiatus, Midlands Movies spotlights a number of local projects due for completion in 2020 which have us excited for the region’s filmmaking as we head into the rest of the year. Please check out each of these individual films using the links provided as we highlight 12 of the most anticipated films coming up from the region in the following 12 months.

Ping Pong

Director Gemma Norton is currently in post-production on a new short called Ping Pong described as a “simple little Dramedy about two estranged friends who catch up over a game of ping pong”. Unravelling to reveal something much more serious, Norton is a Midlands Movies Awards winner for her previously successful shot Troubled Waters. Trying her hand at something different, the film stars Freddie Hill and Aaron J. Smith.



Arabesque is a new short film from Coalescent Films. The film involves “A writer without words, a photographer with issues, an agent without decency and dancer with anxiety”. These are just some of the characters than populate the world of Arabesque, where everyone has something they need from someone else. Coalescent Films are a Nottingham-based group of filmmakers including actors, writers, directors, producers and even special effects experts who are dedicated to creating short and feature films. They joined with other Midlands talent to both strengthen and increase the output of films into the local independent film community.



Asphyxiate is a powerful short drama about a young woman as she tries to gasp for air whilst she drowns in the memories of a tainted relationship. Directed by Nicole Pott, the film stars Anthony Quinlan and Michaela Longden who have come together to create a short film to highlight the sensitive issue of domestic abuse. Over her career, Nicole Pott has successfully directed and/or produced several films, including her award-winning shorts 'Charlie' and 'Rambling On'. Her current completed short film 'Kaleidoscope' has been recently selected at Swindon Independent Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Drama Short, Best Screenplay and Best Director.



Pennywort follows the journey of Freya a young girl with Aspergers Syndrome and is supported by the BFI Network, Lost Eye Films and Sea Horse Films. Combining both drama and animation, the Lincoln production has now been completed and the production team are planning to show the film around the UK and worldwide as part of the important need to spread disability awareness. In the short itself, we follow the journey of Freya, a young girl with Asperger’s Syndrome.


A Kidnap

A Kidnap is an upcoming British psychological thriller feature film by award-winning director Lee Greenhough. The film tells the story of an adopted brother and his younger sister who are kidnapped and must escape before their assailants’ twisted relationship implodes. An ambitious project which will be made on a low budget, director Lee Greenhough originally trained in method acting and he has also been mentored in creative writing by a former BAFTA winner and has been screenwriting and directing judge at the prestigious Top Shorts Film Festival. Lee has worked on various projects including pre-production on his new British thriller ‘On Our Own’ and is also looking for producers for his latest feature screenplay ‘Together Apart’.


Lord of the Free Range

Lord of the Free Range is the latest project from Kato Pictures - a Nottingham based production company specialising in short films, music videos and more. Kato Pictures is led by producer Lauren Parker who has produced a series of well received shorts including the award-winning Night Owls and the Creative England and BFI NETWORK funded Wash Club. She has also worked in TV production with the CBBC, BSLBT and Wellington Films and recently worked as line producer on the interactive project As Dead As It Gets. This film follows a proud, meat-eating father who learns his wife and child have turned vegan and pushes them away into the arms of a mysterious vegan cult who worship a chicken(!) Can he overcome his own stubborn nature and win them back, or is the changing tide too much to take? Produced by Parker, the film has been written by Joseph Willis and will be directed by Simon Dymond.



"Look up at the stars... and remember me". Lepidopterist is the new film from Sophie Black of Triskelle Pictures that tells the story of a young scientist who drives away from a lab with a large box in the back of her van. But the audience are asked to discover what it may contain. Originally shot and edited within two days (under the name 'FIFTY/FIFTY') the short was an entry into the Sci-Fi London 48hr Film Competition. However, Sophie and her team are currently in the process of editing an extended cut to enter into festivals - complete with extra scenes and more! The film stars Charlie Clarke, Sarah Lamesch and Chris Millross and was co-written with award-winning scriptwriter Tommy Draper.



Hello Darlin’

Birmingham filmmaker Patrick Carney Jr. is a relative newcomer to the film industry at the age of 71 but is keen to make his mark on British Cinema with his film Hello Darlin’. This independent film was originally based on a true story set in the 1960s but the filmmaker moved the story into the present and began to take the shape of a modern western. Shot in 3 weeks in 2019, the director praises the hard work and “collaboration of all the creative minds involved both behind and in front of the camera”. The story follows Les Dalton who is on parole after nine years in prison for armed robbery, and now everyone wants to know what happened to the missing gold.




Directed by award-winning British director and writer Adam Palmer Judas is a new drama starring Nick Preston and Lawrence Walker. Palmer is based in Wolverhampton and his new short tells the story of two members of opposing gangs. These two young men end up sharing a moment during a game of basketball. Palmer was part of the BFI Network and BAFTA Crew of 2019. Star Nick Preston has previously had a role in Netflix’s The Innocents, whilst co-star Lawrence Walker has been in BBC’s Our Girl. Rounding out the crew is director of photography Aram Atkinson, Elliott Weaver on Sound and composing the soundtrack is Thom Robson.



Day of the Stranger

Day of the Stranger is a new surreal Western comedy-drama that plays on the tropes of the acid western genre of the 1970's. Directed by Tom Lee Rutter of Carnie Films, the director also wrote the screenplay based on the original short story by Mark Twain. The psychedelic wild west film stars Gary Baxter, Gary Shail and Richard Rowbotham and follows a bounty retrieval gone wrong as our hero faces his toughest challenge yet - a mysterious stranger who holds the key to the truth of his fate. Billed as “The only British guerrilla-shot homage to the short-lived, acid-western sub-genre of the counter-cultural era ever made”, Rutter promises a kaleidoscope of blood, guns, satanic nymphs and psychedelic frenzy.


The Red Line

Set in the UK in the late 1990s, The Red Line follows Benedict, a retired blues singer who longs for the old days, before the rise of modern rock. One of the last remaining regulars at The Red Line, a music bar that has evolved its identity to reflect the interests of the youth, he is adamant that music has lost its way – until he hears The Strife, an up-and-coming rock and soul fusion band that piques his interest. A University of Derby short film organized by Will Townsend, the short has Jethro Randell as director of photography and along with the rest of the team are eager to bring The Red Line from script to screen.


The Methodists

Directed and written by Johnny Kinch, The Methodists is a new British feature film about two hitmen, featuring Mark Winks, Johnny Kinch and 74-year-old Dee Quemby. The story tells of two hitmen who although very different in appearance and style, are both described as “psychopaths” never the less. Leicester-based Kinch goes on to explain, “We must say that we are very excited to get this film made to the highest possible standard, whilst using mainly unknown actors and crew”.


By midlandsmovies, Apr 18 2020 09:28AM


Directed by Nicole Pott


Sonder Pictures

A woman slowly descends into a bathtub in the dark opening that starts new drama Asphyxiate from Midlands director Nicole Pott.

Followed by a violently physical sexual assault scene, the director pulls no punches to draw you into a world of deception, love and passions.

The opening sequence is one of the best I’ve seen in a local short. David Fincher style blue lighting from cinematographer Hamish Saks and an amazing transition from above to below the bath water line was a stunning introduction.

We then arrive at a dinner date between Katie (Michaela Longden, who is also the writer of the short) and Tom (Anthony Quinlan). But their loving meet-up is punctuated by edits cutting back to a darker part of their relationship.

The man stands over the woman in a dangerous home scenario of threatening words and intimidating physical contact before we’re whisked back in time to a bar as the two friendly discuss love and life.

The contrast between the two situations, past and present, is a powerful structure showing how a bond between two people can turn into a degrading spiral of harassment and torment.

Forced apologies and psychological attempts to gain sympathy sit alongside flashback scenes that slowly reveal how the seeds of this controlling behaviour were sown.

The film continues to capture the traits of male perpetrators as Katie is pushed further into isolation and her communication monitored. It also shows how an unsafe environment is created over time. Ultimatums to end the relationship soon build and build and end in threats, bullying and finally physical harm.

Pott uses juxtaposition of the actors’ proximity, dialogue and visuals brilliantly to highlight these issues. And it makes the short an excellent exploration of very serious themes about losing oneself and drowning in verbal and intimidating attacks.

Asphyxiate is uncompromising in its representation of domestic violence. However, this is crucial to sufficiently highlight the awful situation far too many women can find themselves in. With spectacular cinematic style, the short comes highly recommended, as it looks at the catastrophic outcomes of a toxic relationship in an exceptionally well-crafted film.

Michael Sales

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