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By midlandsmovies, Feb 21 2020 10:30AM

Quite simply, here is our ongoing and updated list of Film Festivals in the Midlands (2020 edition):

• THE SHORT CINEMA http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk info@theshortcinema.co.uk Phoenix, Leicester - August 2020 (TBC)

*CINE-EXCESS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - Birmingham School of Media Birmingham City 4th - 7th November 2020

• NOTTINGHAM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL http://www.nottiff.com/ 13th - 15th November 2020

• INDIE-LINCS - Feb 13th - 15th 2020 Based at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, and run in partnership with The School of Film and Media at the University of Lincoln http://www.indie-lincs.com

• BRINDLEY PLACE OUTDOOR FEST - http://www.brindleyplace.com/event/brindleyplace-film-festival-2018/ DATES TBC

• BORDERLINES FEST http://www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk UK's largest rural film festival. Herefordshire/Shropshire - 28th February to 15th March 2020

• BIRMINGHAM FILM FEST - 13th - 22nd November 2020 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/Birminghamfilmfestival

• BIFF FEST (Birmingham Black International Film Fest) https://www.biffestival.co.uk 2020 TBC

• SHOCK AND GORE FESTIVAL Electric Cinema in Birmingham https://twitter.com/shockgore 2020 TBC

• DEAFFEST http://www.deaffest.co.uk The UK's International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Wolverhampton. Contact info@light-house.co.uk 2020 date TBC

* BIRMINGHAM INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL http://birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk 2020 dates TBC

• THE UK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL LEICESTER - http://tonguesonfire.com/ 2020 dates TBC

• SHOUT FESTIVAL http://shoutfestival.co.uk Birmingham 2020 dates TBC

• DERBY FILM FESTIVAL http://www.derbyfilmfestival.co.uk 19th - 23rd November 2020

• FANTASTIQ FEST http://fantastiq.co.uk Fantasy/Horror Fest at Quad in Derby (part of Derby Film Fest)

• MAYHEM HORROR Film Fest - Halloween. Contact Broadway cinema in Nottingham http://www.broadway.org.uk/mayhem 15th - 18th October 2020

• FLATPACK FEST - Birmingham, UK. http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk 5th - 10th May 2020

• BEESTON FILM FESTIVAL - https://twitter.com/BeestonFilm 25th-29th March 2020

• SHROPSHIRE RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/midlands-zone on hiatus for 2019 - TBC 2020 dates

• GRINDHOUSE PLANET - www.grindhouseplanet.com 2020 dates TBC

* BOTTLESMOKE FILM FESTIVAL - https://www.facebook.com/BottleSmokeStoke Stoke on Trent - September 8th 2019

* WIRKSWORTH FILM FEST https://wirksworth3minfilmfest.co.uk Derbyshire 2th - 31st July 2020

* HEART OF ENGLAND FILM FEST - https://www.heartofenglandfilmfest.com Coventry 2020 Dates TBC

* HIGH PEAK INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL Derbyshire https://www.highpeakindie.com 6th - 9th August 2020

* NEXUS FILM FESTIVAL https://twitter.com/NexusEastMids Nottingham 17th - 21st May 2020

* NOTTZ FILM FESTIVAL Hothouse Theatre Nottingham https://twitter.com/NottmFilmFest 2020 Dates TBC

* THE SHORT STACK FILM FESTIVAL Nottingham Bi-monthly screening night at Broadway Cinema https://www.facebook.com/groups/841340665914084 (Various dates)

* 5 LAMPS FILMS - Bi-monthly short-film screenings at Derby Quad (various dates) + annual 24hr film challenge https://twitter.com/fivelampsfilms (Various dates)

* PARACINEMA - Derby https://twitter.com/ParacinemaDerby 7th - 10th May 2020

* THE BLACK COUNTRY HORROR SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL - Stourbridge https://www.weepingbankproductions.co.uk/horror-film-festival Saturday 27th February 2020

* CINEQ - Birmingham Queer Film Festival - https://www.cineqbirmingham.co.uk 26th - 29th March 2020

* LEAMINGTON FILM FESTIVAL - Temperance Bar, Leamington Spa http://www.temperance.bar/film-festival.html 10th - 12th January 2020

* NORTHAMPTON FILM FESTIVAL - various locations across Northampton http://www.northamptonfilmfestival.co.uk/ 13th – 20th May 2020

* WORCESTER FILM FESTIVAL - Royal Porcelain Works, Worcester https://filmfreeway.com/WorcesterFilmFestival 15th – 17th October 2020

Other useful Film Festival information can be found at these links:




By midlandsmovies, Sep 17 2017 10:54PM

Midlands Professional - Film Event Organiser John Currie

Midlands Movies speaks to event manager and festival organiser John Currie as part of our Midlands ‘Professional’ series. In this latest feature John talks to us about his experience and career arranging one of the best festivals in the Midlands film calendar - the Beeston Film Festival.

At age 53 and the father of 5, Beeston Film Festival director John Currie is originally from Liverpool but has lived in Beeston now for the best part of 20 years and (in his words) now very much regards it as his home. Firstly, alongside raising his children, John explains that far from being solely local, his festival is now both local AND global with entries from 37 different countries.

“At our last event we ended up screening films from 22 countries and we have an award panel from America, Africa, Asia and Europe! The point of the festival is to connect, to reach out and bring global stories to Beeston and in return celebrate filmmakers and honour them with B’Oscars”.

Inspired to set up the BFF when he attended the Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival, John was there for the screening of the first film he produced called ‘Go with God’.

“And guess what? It was an international short film festival held upstairs in a pub! A model we’ve replicated at the White Lion thanks to our awesome host Sergio”.

And what has been the most difficult hurdle John’s overcome as the organiser?

“We have overcome so many problems but the biggest problem was finding a venue. Unsurprisingly Beeston doesn’t have a cinema of the scale of Showcase, Cineworld or even Broadway (in Nottingham City centre). Luckily one of our friends mentioned that Sergio at The White Lion was interested on setting up a cinema in his upstairs function room. The room has a wonderful retro feel with lush red velvet chairs and benches surrounding the room. Getting the projector and sound to good standard was challenging on a low budget but proved to be successful. Not only has the festival been hosted their but many other events adding to the joy of Beeston”.

In the past John has hosted a number of other film events such as showcase nights, taking part in the D H Lawrence festival and Scarlarama as well but is more than happy to pass on his experiences with others.

“Clarity of vision and determination to succeed [are skills needed] plus the help of loads of talented filmmakers otherwise there would lots of people staring at a blank screen”.

“We are also blessed by finding some great partners such as the B’Oscar sponsors, who are local Beeston businesses; the fabulous review team of Beestonians who review entries and make selections; our awesome global award panel who decide B’Oscar winners; Sergio at The White Lion and of course the students from New College Nottingham who volunteer their hard work enthusiastically to make audience and filmmakers as welcome as possible. So appreciation of those who share your vision is vital”.

John goes on to explain that there are two keys challenges faced by film festival organisers:

“You need to appeal to filmmakers and appeal to the audience, without these people excited by what we are doing there would be no festival. For filmmakers we offer a platform, an audience to industry judges, and of course the chance to win a coveted B’Oscar. For the audience we need to provide an exciting programme, in a convivial atmosphere rubbing shoulders with as many filmmakers as we can attract”.

And how does John balance the financial aspects with the creative side?

“Well, we are self-funding, and get great support from local businesses, so each year to grow the scope of the festival to ensure that we are sustainable. We are also aware that festival audiences are looking for surprises! Short film festivals are the platform for filmmakers to take risks, develop their skills and surprise the audience! So far we have had plenty of surprises and that’s why our audience numbers keep on increasing year on year”.

And what advice would John give to like-minded people thinking of setting up their own festivals?

“Ensure you clarify your vision, be certain sort your festival should be, so once that is honed, work incredibly hard to make it happen because it is an amazingly rewarding process”.

“For us, in 2018 we are expanding by adding a section dedicated to Women’s Voices. This is a very open definition: films made by men but tell a woman's story in a good way, with a great leading female actor, can still be considered; as long as the film has a good mix of women and men working on the crew, and as long as they tell a good woman's story, it can be submitted”.

In the festival’s first year they screened 70 films over two days and in 2018 John plans to run the event over 4 days with hopes to screen 130 films making it the biggest international short film festival in the Midlands.

Finally, we ask John if he has any final words to give to fans/organisers of regional film festivals. “Well, a short film festival offers 2 hour programs that are constructed from a mosaic of cinematic genius rather than a single overarching storyline. This provides a platform to emerging filmmakers from Beeston to Bangkok and enriches the lives of everyone involved”.

Big thanks to John Currie for his time and check out the Official Festival website here and also our coverage of 2017’s event.

By midlandsmovies, Mar 12 2017 09:37AM

Midlands Movies at the Beeston Film Festival 2017

Midlands Movies headed just up the road from our base in Leicester to take our first ever look at the Beeston Festival which is now in its 3rd year and has become a popular entry into the ever-growing festival scene in the region. Editor Mike Sales jumped on the train for the Saturday session of the 4-day festival to catch up with the talent in the Midlands.

Since its inception in 2015 the Beeston Festival has grown from a small evening event to a multi-day extravaganza that showcases not only features, shorts and animations from the area but has also attracted the attention of national and international filmmakers as well.

Despite this growth, the festival has not lost its grass-roots feel taking place as it does upstairs at the White Lion Bar in the centre of the town. Films fans can catch the variety of skilled artists in the comfortable surroundings of the venue allowing the festival to grow yet still very much intimate and home-grown.

Some of the films screened at this year’s fest are Midlands Movies Awards winners and nominees Hinterland (Jess O’ Brien), Beige (written by Dan Weatherer), Dolls (Keith Allott) and Night Owls (from Sophie Black) and these are of course just a handful of many more being played at the festival. As an attendee I was lucky enough to catch even more great films from the region and beyond and the small relaxed atmosphere makes it easier – if not somewhat compulsory – to chat and network with the film’s makers themselves.

The full 4 day line up consisted of the Three Counties night focusing on local films (Thursday), the festival Horror night (Friday), drama (Saturday) and the final day on Sunday has animation, comedy and the prestigious Beeston Festival Awards.

Festival organiser John Currie made everyone feel welcome and a mix of filmmakers, writers and viewers were in the audience to enjoy both the local and the worldwide gems on offer.

Upstairs in the venue’s function room, a full capacity crowd enjoyed a number of films on Saturday for the drama category that was the focus. ‘The Buzzing of a Bumblebee’ was one of the first films I caught. A half-hour Russian film about a nursing home, the film had gorgeous cinematography whilst British film ‘Butterfly’ hit home with its story of an epileptic swimmer called Jane who has tough decisions to make in her life.

During the break I caught up with Sophie Black of Triskelle pictures (www.triskellepictures.co.uk) who gave an update on the post-production of her new project “Songbird” whilst introducing me to Adam Anwi, one of the many exciting Beeston Festival judges. Neil Oseman was also in attendance as director of photography on Night Owls which was shown earlier this week.

Another judge – who must have had very difficult decisions to select festival winners – was horror aficionado Gino Van Hecke from Zeno films (www.zenopictures.be). Having met festival organiser John Currie at an Indian film festival, the latter invited the former to the region cementing the truly international nature of this intimate festival. After the hustle and bustle of the chaotic Indian festival, Gino was impressed by the smaller but more personal tone of this event.

“The Indian festival we met at had to be moved inside because of weather and went on so long that people ran to the buffet when it was my turn to take to the stage”, he describes whilst laughing. “It was great fun though and I got to meet John and others and that’s how I’ve ended up here”.

Zeno films are a Belgium company who specialise in horror and Gino explained how his company are hoping to work towards producing a ‘Best of Beeston” DVD-anthology together to help give the films and filmmakers involved even more exposure. “I am a fan of horror having released Rubber (horror film about a killer tyre) in Belgium but I’ve enjoyed the whole fest so far and look forward to working with the team in future”.

Midlands Movies hometown of Leicester was also well represented on Saturday with Mike Yeoman from comedy film company FlipYou Productions whose film Parenthood was screened Thursday. www.flipyou.co.uk

Also in attendance was Melvyn Rawlinson, an actor as well as a filmmaker. Melvyn has created documentaries on the history of puppetry – especially Punch and Judy – as well as on the sensitive subject of dementia, an issue that is very personal to me. However, Toton based Melvyn was here in the main to support his appearance in “I am God, And Severely Underqualified” directed by Theo Gee.

As the second round of films began in the afternoon I got to see Just Words – a police investigation from Russia as well as solid dramas Squares and Transmission and others. Again each film demonstrated the high level of quality and it was credit to all of the organisers and volunteers as well as the venue’s staff that things ran smoothly.

Having to leave slightly earlier than planned, I was disappointed not to have been able to stay longer but it gave me a great excuse to return to this fantastic festival in 2018.

With a great sense of community, the Beeston Film Festival is a prize jewel and should be on every filmmaker’s list of events to submit films to each year. But much more than that, the festival has a great centre of attention on the ‘local’ that makes it all the more special for the Midlands.

For further information and much more, please check out the official Beeston Film Festival website at http://festival.beestonfilm.com/

Or follow at Twitter on @BeestonFilm

Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Oct 29 2016 09:05AM

Midlands Movies editor Mike Sales finds out more about the exciting Beeston Film Festival which heads into its third year of attracting the latest short films from around the globe.

The festival builds slowly each year but has become an essential festival date in the calendar for up and coming Mildands filmmakers in its home in Nottinghamshire.

The Beeston Film Festival is now a regular annual event and as the organisers still feed off the success of the highly praised 2016 awards earlier this year, they have not rested at all in their goal to bring a bigger and better event to the region in 2017.

Running from the 9th to the 12th March 2017, the festival has some fantastic new plans for their event in Spring next year. Firstly, the festival has introduced a new Three Counties category. This particular set up will allow dedicated filmmakers from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to showcase their work specifically.

The films can be of any genre and this category is also split into two distinct sections for longer films (up to 15 minutes) and an award for shorts (up to 5 minutes).

Secondly, although the Beeston Film Destival offers up the magnificent B’Oscar for award winners, this year the organisers are offering a range of prize money for winners in their competition too. This brilliant announcement will help filmmakers from the Midlands - especially given the struggles of small independent production companies in securing funding for their projects.

The organisers have teamed up with the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund (MMBF) which is a Nottingham based international charity that aims to support a whole generation of filmmakers, actors and creatives. Through varied schemes they attempt to raise raising as well as educate educating young people within the arts.

The MMBF are planning to award two financial prizes for the Three Counties category with the ‘Long’ entrants standing a chance of winning a £150 prize, professional mentoring, plus the physical award and other perks. In addition, the shorts section winner will see a £50 prize and a physical award.

Simon Phetter, Business Development Manager, MMBF Trust explains the background to this new partnership. "We are supporting the Three Counties Competition because we are Nottingham based firstly and we love encouraging local talent through such demographic driven competitions as they allow greater impact."

And it doesn’t stop there. For the very first time the festival will now be over multiple venues with The University of Nottingham’s Filmmaking Society hosting the opening night in their Student Union building. This will feature the Three Counties programme whilst the remainder of the festival will take place at The White Lion Bar and Kitchen as tradition from the festival’s earlier years.

The organisers hope one more perk will encourage filmakkers to submit and enjoy the festival by making their entry fee double up as their admission to the whole On-Line Festival too. Filmmakers will be able to watch the competition in their category of submission and enjoy the talent in all the others. The On-Line Festival presents films that are accepted into ALL the festival’s categories. This includes drama, comedy, horror, documentary, animation and the local Three Counties competition. The On-Line Festival will be available for 3 weeks after the festival in Beeston.

Further prizes will be awarded for Best Director, Best Script, Best Cinematography, Best Acting Performance, Best Soundtrack & Sound Design and an Audience award.

Phew! With a great new set of plans plus the expertise built up since the festival's launch, the 2017 Beeston Film Festival is definitely a date not to be missed.

For further information please visit their official festival site at http://festival.beestonfilm.com

Midlands Movies Mike

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