icons-02 icons-01 MM Logo

blog

Movie news, reviews, features and more thoughts coming soon...

By midlandsmovies, Aug 12 2018 08:31AM



Midlands Spotlight - Pocket Pictures


Midlands Movies Mike Sales checks out Pocket Pictures, a Birmingham based organisation helping filmmakers from across the UK with their projects, showreels, training and more. Read on to find out about this company and their wealth of local experience.


Pocket Pictures is a video, film and content creator and can take the words, pictures, idea or scripts of their clients and turn them into a visual reality. With a history of clients trusting their experience, every project they take on is unique and has its own special requirements.


Owner Mark Todd is a writer, director and filmmaker in his own right and prides himself on the quality of work he creates. “In an exciting time when cameras are everywhere it's important to remember that just because you have a spanner, you may not always be a mechanic”.


Being based in the Midlands, Pocket Pictures have worked with a number of local projects as well including the recent Suicide Blonde where they handled the post production. (See our coverage of that film here).


Their small studio in Aston, Birmingham covers a diverse workload ranging from training actors to corporate work. Mark himself is also developing his second feature The Crooked House whilst his first feature, Bad Reception, was shot in Hollywood!


Their current range of courses can help actors develop their skills. Acting ‘On Camera’ is an intensive course designed to give actors the industry knowledge needed to achieve their best performance in front of the camera. Courses accommodate 6 people and there is plenty of time to ask questions and work on individual needs.


In addition, Essential Voice Coaching for stage or screen is a one day course led by established voice coach Emily Lee who aims to give attendees more confidence in vocal performance using proven professional exercises.


The company’s Telsen Studio is a 500 square foot production space in a quiet area of Aston and can even help with creating showreels with interviews, talking heads, green screen and model shoots all in one full package.


With a whole range of support to the filmmakers and cast and crew of the Midlands area, Pocket Pictures offers a great opportunity to help support the local movie community. If you are interested in finding out more then please check out their full details below for further information.


http://www.pocketpicturesltd.com


Pocket Pictures, The Telsen Studio

Unit 313, The Telsen Industrial Centre, Birmingham, B6 4TN

Contact: projects@pocketpicturesltd.com or call 07447 592605



By midlandsmovies, Aug 5 2018 11:54AM



Midlands Spotlight – West Midlands filmmaker David Knight


With his new film Suicide Blonde selected for a prestigious new regional film festival, Birmingham filmmaker David Knight made a big change when younger to find a new career in the film and TV industry. Midlands Movies Mike caught up with his latest and future filmmaking plans.


David Knight started his journey to be a filmmaker at the age of 21. Walking away from a bar management career of 3 years, David took the big plunge to forge a new path in film and television.


With lofty ambitions and a love of all films he quickly enrolled at Solihull College on a Media and Production Course. And after just 6 months his first short film Rendezvous was already handpicked to be part of the official selection of the 2004 Stourbridge film festival.


As well as receiving favourable reviews, David used this acknowledgement to successfully complete his course and received a HND with distinction.


Moving to the University of Gloucestershire to study a degree in video production, David wrote and directed two short films in his final year. The first, 2’s Company was a romantic comedy and part of the official selection at the Viewfinder Film Festival in 2006.


After working on a separate project as editor to hone his skills, he then went on to make his final film Hit or Miss, a dark drama which won him the Screen Writers Festival Award for Best Writer / Director 2007.



And now his latest film, Suicide Blonde, tells the story of a young woman on a self-destructive path who tries to piece together the events of the previous night.


Cast members include the talented Kerry Sirrell, Joe Clarke and David Pritchard with Pocket Pictures taking responsibility for the post production and grading of the film while the audio soundtrack is being produced by Matt Shaw.


The Bottle Smoke Film Festival celebrates filmmakers from all budgets and comprises of wo days of industry talks with day one ending in a feature film with a Q & A, whilst day two will be ending with a short film award ceremony.


The event runs from Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th September 2018 at the Stoke Film Theatre, College Road, Stoke on Trent. For more information check out their Facebook page and to grab tickets click here at Eventbrite.


Check out some of David’s previous work on his Vimeo page here





By midlandsmovies, Jul 27 2018 07:24AM



The Return of the Ring (2018)


Directed and written by AR Ugas


“Enough teaching about our history. It’s time to fight for our future”.


High fantasy and enduring myth reach the Midlands in a brand new 22-minute short from AR Ugas who brings Tolkien’s tales and epic themes into a contemporary setting with his new film The Return of the Ring.


Described as a fan-film with a title that could elicit groans, don’t let that fool you as the short shouldn’t be dismissed as an amateur production but one which condenses the novel’s rich themes and ideas into a uniquely local idea.


The story follows a young female Elf (Rhi Hardman as Illyandra) who sets out to reclaim the ring after it is told that it was never originally destroyed. This was followed by The Race of Man eradicating Middle-earth which ensured any trace of its history was to become a fairy tale.


Opening with a foot chase involving a mysterious hooded-man in black, the film wears its love of not just the novel but of Peter Jackson’s infamous trilogy on its sleeve. Illyandra escapes from this Nazgûl – the immortal beings bound to the power of the One Ring – and director Ugas, who also writes, scatters some archaic Tolkien language to his script too.


The ring ends up with a barman (Sam Malley as John) and Illyandra makes contact with him at a nightclub. And despite using “orc magic” to get her hand on the powerful item, the Ring Wraith is soon back on their tail. The film balances its extreme fantasy ideas with a suburban realism and the use of potions and pointy ears is subtly ingrained in the film’s modern narrative.



Technically the short suitably aims for the epic with drone shots over the city giving a cinematic feel to the proceedings. Director of photography James Alexander Barnett excellently mixes lens flare with well-chosen locations that give a sly wink to the source material. A conversation in a park against a tree harks to fantasy forests whilst a neon lit water feature in a nightclub echoes a mythic waterfall of sorts.


Sadly, the apartment location– acting as the characters’ main sanctuary – feels a little ‘flat’ but its cramped space seems to represent their confinement – hiding from their enemy in a metaphorical dungeon. But again, its low-budget roots don’t affect the great creativity at work. A clever panning shot, some suitably intense music and well composed colour grading gives the ‘other-worldly’ illusion of the ring-bearer’s scary visions.


Dominic Thompson portrays Alatar the Young (also credited as “The Wizard”) and unfortunately I felt the actor went a bit too far with a slightly pantomime performance. However, his well-delivered monologue to fill in backstory was effectively utilised and the actor nicely incorporated hints of Brad Dourif’s Wormtongue from Jackson’s movie.




Woven into the film was also some excellent, but subtle, updating of ancient costumes. The leather jacket clad Nazgûl, a hooded advisor and the earthy tones of a wood Elf were fantastic and heck, even a white t-shirt embodied John’s naïve innocence to the events unfolding.


Nisaro Karim as Amdir arrives towards the end and the film moves swiftly between locations and characters and flashes of humour keep it light-hearted at times as well. With the power of the ring continuing to corrupt the heart of men, the film shows expert dexterity in technique and cinema skill with its innovative spin of the traditions of Middle-earth whilst still making it accessible and understandable to a modern Midlands audience.


A perfect ending that has a literary nod to Tolkien was a brilliant surprise that will leave you wanting more and the story’s present-day setting blends tones well. With great craftmanship, AR Ugas’ film therefore ends up being not just token Tolkien, but a fully-fledged and ambitious homage that throws in its own satisfying twist on legends with amazing precision. There are some good films in this world and shorts like The Return of the Ring are worth fighting for.


Mike Sales


Watch the full short here:






By midlandsmovies, Jul 11 2018 02:00AM

Quite simply, here is our ongoing and updated list of Film Festivals in the Midlands (2018 edition):


• THE SHORT CINEMA http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk info@theshortcinema.co.uk Phoenix, Leicester - August 20 – 25, 2018


• NOTTINGHAM MICRO FILM FESTIVAL Twitter @FilmNottingham http://www.nimfestival.com/ 8-10 March 2018


• INDIE-LINCS - March 15-18 2018 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/ July 16 -22 2018


• LEICESTER DOCFILM FEST https://twitter.com/docfilmfestival Contact John Coster November 2018


• BORDERLINES FEST http://www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk UK's largest rural film festival. Herefordshire/Shropshire - 23rd February - 11th March 2018


• BIRMINGHAM FILM FEST - November 22 – 25 2018 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/Birminghamfilmfestival


• BIFF FEST (Black International Film Fest) https://www.biffestival.co.uk 2018 dates TBC


• SHOCK AND GORE FESTIVAL http://www.shockandgore.co.uk The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, July. Contact david@theelectric.co.uk or https://twitter.com/shockgore July 27 to Aug 5 2018


• DEAFFEST http://www.deaffest.co.uk The UK's International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Wolverhampton. Contact info@light-house.co.uk Friday 17th to Sunday 19th May 2019


• THE UK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL LEICESTER - http://tonguesonfire.com/ 15 March - 31 March 2018


• SHOUT FESTIVAL http://shoutfestival.co.uk Birmingham Dates TBC for 2018


• DERBY FILM FESTIVAL http://www.derbyfilmfestival.co.uk 4th - 13th MAY 2018


• 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 11 October - 14 October 2018


• FLATPACK FEST - Birmingham, UK. http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk 13 - 22 April 2018


• EAST ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL http://www.eastwindsfilmfest.com May 2018


• BEESTON FILM FESTIVAL - https://twitter.com/BeestonFilm 8th - 11th March 2018


• SHROPSHIRE RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/midlands-zone 5th - 7th October 2018


• GRINDHOUSE PLANET - www.grindhouseplanet.com November 2018 TBC


* BOTTLESMOKE FILM FESTIVAL - https://www.facebook.com/BottleSmokeStoke Stoke on Trent, 8th - 9th September 2018


* POCKET FILM FESTIVAL (Unseen cinema) http://www.unseencinema.co.uk/pocket-film-festival-2018/ Stafford 12-17 March 2018


* BIRMINGHAM HORROR GROUP - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/birmingham-horror-group-mini-movie-marathon-25-march-2018-tickets-41683231668 Mini-Movie Marathon Mini-Movie 25 March 2018


* SHROPSHIRE'S FIRST WORLD WAR FILM FESTIVAL https://twitter.com/wilfredowen100 Oct/Nov TBC 2018


* THE BRAVE BLACK BIRD FILM FEST Wolverhampton https://ajayhackett2113.wixsite.com/bbff Wolverhampton 25th Feb 2019 (submissions until July 2018)


* HIGH PEAK INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL Derbyshire https://www.highpeakindie.com 12th to 16th June 2019. #HPIFF18


* NOTTINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL Hothouse Theatre Nottingham https://twitter.com/NottmFilmFest 8th July 2018


* THE VENUE LINCOLN FILM FESTIVAL Lincolnshire https://www.thevenuelincoln.co.uk 6th - 8th July 2018


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


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

http://www.festivalfocus.org/festival

http://film.britishcouncil.org/festivals-directory/festivals-map

http://www.thefilmfestivaldoctor.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, Jul 9 2018 09:30AM



The Second City Provides Instant Entertainment


Birmingham-based talent company Instant Entertainment has recently announced the signing of Bruce MacDonald of Boomtown Films. If you recognise MacDonald’s name, it’s no doubt down to his direction of The Perfect Wave, the 2017 true-life drama which gave Scott (Son of Clint) Eastwood his big break in Hollywood.


Also on MacDonald’s horizon is the September 2018 release of Samson, the religious/historical epic tale of lost love and vengeance, starring Jackson Rathbone (The Twilight Saga), Rutgar Hauer and Billy Zane.


As CEO Phillipe Ashfield told us, high on Instant Entertainment’s schedule is the focus on #Womeninfilm, where projects are being prioritised to promote equal pay and opportunities across the industry. The next such project is the Julie Paupe-penned Exordium a Peplum-esque film, which focuses on the parents of the foretold heroes of the Trojan War.


Altogether, this is yet more exciting news for Birmingham. The region has recently seen the #WMGeneration movement showcase the creative talent in the West Midlands, tempting Channel 4 to consider moving their production offices to Birmingham and Coventry in the process.


This is alongside the strides that Film Birmingham have been making in developing FilmApp, which has allowed high profile filming requests for the Second City to be fast-tracked. This, of course, follows in the footsteps of Spielberg’s Ready Player One using Digbeth as a dystopian location and internationally acclaimed series The Game doubling Brum for London.


You can keep up with Instant Entertainment’s developments via their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/instantEntertainment


via Red Bezzle https://twitter.com/redbezzle


By midlandsmovies, Jul 7 2018 08:16AM



New West Midlands horror short Monsters gets underway


Hot on the heels of their short giallo thriller 'All Bad Things...', which had its premiere at the 2018 Grindhouse Planet Film Festival, Midlands-based Vamporama Films is in pre-production on a new project, 'Monsters'.


This dark tale stars William Hayes and will be directed by Chrissie Harper, whose screenplay was based on a storyline by producer Steve Green.


With pre-production beginning in November 2017 the story is set in the “shadows of a ruined world, where a lone individual addresses an unknown audience”.


Are they his accusers? His judges? His acolytes? Well, Vampora Films hopes to draw the viewer into their dark universe asking whether he might be a madman or a messiah.


With All Bad Things (see Midlands Movies coverage here) complete, and the new production now well underway, the extraordinarily talented William Hayes is attached to what they describe as “a one-man tour de force”.


Previously William has appeared at the company’s regular film nights and in October 2017 he mesmerised an appreciative audience with a gripping rendition of Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’.


With location scouting complete, Chrissie Harper is currently storyboarding the film’s key elements (see her promo piece above). Chrissie herself is a Solihull based filmmaker from the West Midlands who is influenced by Orson Welles and has previous experience in editing, design, film-making & video editing.


Having additional experience in illustration this has become crucial in the development of each of her projects including this latest one, Monsters.


Producer Steve Green is known throughout the Midlands with his film work for Made in Birmingham as well as the very successful Birmingham Horror Group nights in the region.


To follow the progress of the film please check out their official sites below:


http://chezchrissie.co.uk/

http://www.ghostwords.co.uk

Twitter: @SteveGhostwords & @VamporamaFilms




By midlandsmovies, Jun 28 2018 09:22AM



Midlands Spotlight - New scriptwriting competition launched


A brand new competition offering anyone with a creative short film idea has been launched with an opportunity for new and upcoming writers to have their work professionally produced for FREE by Daniel Alexander Films.


Daniel Alexander is a multi award winning director and recently directed a film for the Commonwealth Games, which made history after it was televised by the BBC to over 1 billion people around the world.


Daniel has worked with an impressive calibre of clients including the Commonwealth Games, BBC, Nike, Apple, Channel 4, MTV and many more and the competition is a new event to encourage more writers to get their ideas on screen.


But how does it work? Entrants are asked to submit a treatment for their short film idea using their free template (click here)


With a deadline of 12pm on 13th July 2018, if your treatment is selected, Daniel will request a properly formatted script for your short film idea.


The scripts will be judged by a panel of industry professional judges, who will declare one overall winner. Then the winner will have their film professional made and also be invited to be involved in the entire filmmaking process.


The winning film will be shot on a RED DRAGON CINEMA rental package worth over £1000, provided by official sponsors for the competition PANNY HIRE, Birmingham's leading camera rental house.


To be eligible, you must be living in the UK and have an original short film idea that runs for no longer than 10 minutes.

So if you have an idea for film then please send all entires to submissions@danielalexanderfilms.com


The judges are below:





By midlandsmovies, Jun 22 2018 10:51AM


Presented by the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, the Birmingham Indian Film Festival is the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian film festival and returns for a fourth year with an entertaining and thought provoking line-up of independent films.


With one of the most diverse film offerings in the UK film calender, BIFF is proudly supported by the BFI’s National Lottery Audience Fund and runs from 22nd June to 1st July 2018.


This year’s highlights include a sparkling opening night red carpet Midlands premiere of Love Sonia – a compelling story of two teenagers’ fight for freedom starring Freida Pinto, Demi Moore, Rajkummar Rao and Richa Chadda amongst others. The closing night Gala features must-see Canadian family comedy Venus.


Their themed strands kick off with Female Eye, premiering the work of women directors. British filmmaker Sangeeta Datta’s gorgeous film Bird of Dusk is followed by a panel discussion looking at independent Indian cinema.


In collaboration with Birmingham City University, director Rima Das gives a Q&A with her uplifting mother daughter hit Village Rockstars and the innovative style of debut filmmaker Dar Gai’s Teen Aur Aadha breaks new ground.


Another strong festival theme is Fathers & Sons, premiering dramas exploring masculinity and the enduring complexity of father and son relationships, including In The Shadows, a dark secret story, helmed by virtuoso actor Manoj Bajpayee.


Meanwhile raucous British comedy Eaten By Lions has an Asian boy searching for his dad.


True to the festival’s mission to screen films about real people’s journeys, dive into their Extra-Ordinary Lives strand with amazing documentaries, dramas and shorts from across India’s far-flung regions.


From the South is Tamil drama My Son is Gay while Doob (No Bed of Roses) is a co-production between India and Bangladesh.


For full details and tickets head to the main festival website below and for the full line-up check out their online programme brochure (click here)


Official Festival Website: http://birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk/


Twitter: https://twitter.com/weLoveBIFF





RSS Feed twitter