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By midlandsmovies, Feb 4 2019 04:26PM



Midlands Spotlight - Cosmos


Midlands Movies Mike Sales looks to the stars to find out about new Birmingham-made sci-film Cosmos which is coming soon in 2019.


Cosmos is a new local feature from directing brothers Elliot Weaver & Zander Weaver who not only self-produced the project but actually took on all major crew roles throughout production.


With the only exception being the writing of the score, the brothers have made a film that mixes local flavour with a story that looks out to the universe for its inspiration.


Making movies since they were children, the brothers have been concocting and creating shorts films throughout their education including music videos and short documentaries and when they finished school decided to set up an online film school themselves.


"We wanted to share with other young filmmakers some of the tips and tricks we’d already picked up on professional projects and hopefully inspire others to have a go themselves. We managed to establish a small following and continue to enjoy interacting with those who benefit from our content".


But with production on Cosmos now finished, the filmmakers are about to embark on a festival and screening tour for a film which cost less than £5000 to make.


Cosmos itself tells the story of three amateur astronomers who accidentally intercept what they believe is a signal from an alien civilisation. Realising they may have just stumbled across Mankind's greatest discovery, they race to document their finding, prove its authenticity and share it with the world before it is lost forever.


But as the filmmakers say, the truth they uncover is even more incredible than any of them could have imagined. Inspired by Amblin-era adventures and set over just one night against the backdrop of a world-changing discovery, Cosmos is promising to offer spectacle and thrills when its released later in the year.


For more information following the film on Twitter or at the official website: https://ellianderpictures.co.uk/films/cosmos


And you can watch the trailer for the film below:





By midlandsmovies, Jan 14 2019 08:09PM



Midlands Spotlight - CineQ Queer Film Festival in Birmingham in March


Working with the BFI FAN Film Hub Midlands, Centrala Art Gallery, Midlands Arts Centre and Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen the CineQ Film Festival runs from the 22nd until the 24th of March covering a range of Queer AF screenings, parties and workshops.


CineQ Queer Film Festival will put the focus on new stories, and QTIPOC (Queer Trans and Intersex People of Colour) perspectives, while introducing ‘New Queer Cinema’ a type of queer cinema often overlooked and showcase some of the best underrepresented LGBTQ film both past and present.


After the film festival, CineQ will specially curate a selection of queer films representative of the LGBTQ community which will tour cinemas, film festivals and film societies in the region in order to grow the appetites of LGBTQ cinema lovers in the Midlands.


CineQ founder Rico Johnson-Sinclair says, “Queer cinema has often been a blind spot in the region’s best independent and multiplex cinemas. Not to say that there isn’t an offer. LOVE, SIMON, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME and GOD’S OWN COUNTRY were notable successes in recent years, but there’s a plethora of films from a variety of perspectives that are being made, but just not shown in cinemas”.


“Often the only places to watch queer films are streaming services, we want to change that by bringing audiences across Birmingham and the Midlands, more opportunities to see these brilliant titles on the big screen”.



CineQ was previously operating as a community cinema supported by Flatpack Projects. They’ve screened many titles such as THE WOUND, CLOSET MONSTER, and CHECK IT as well as short film programmes at Centrala Art Gallery and Cafe, Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen, and Flatpack Film Festival.


CineQ has also worked with cinemas outside of Birmingham such as Phoenix Cinema in Leicester and was recently awarded a commendation by Cinema for All, Britain’s leading authority for community cinemas and film societies.


Further programme announcements will be made available via social media and the CineQ website from 22nd January 2019.


Facebook @CineQBrum

Twitter: @CineQBrum

Instagram: @CineQBrum


By midlandsmovies, Dec 6 2018 08:25PM



Midlands Review - Climbing Trees (2018)


Directed by Matthew R. Ford


Midlands Movies writer Sam Kurd takes a look at a new 33-minute short "Climbing Trees".


Climbing Trees is a short drama film written and directed by Birmingham-based writer/director Matthew M. Ford. It’s the story of a guilt-ridden father, tormented by dreams 12 years on from the murder of an 8-year old girl, who is trying to come to terms with the event and his inability to move on.


It starts slowly, almost lazily, as Kris meets 8-year-old Eliza at the scene of her murder. The mood quickly turns dark as he slips from dream into nightmare, though, and it’s immediately clear that this isn’t going to be a happy tale. Kris is a man divorced from society, seemingly living on the fringes even while passing among the crowds around him.


People know him, know his story, know his 12-year-long tragedy, but no one can bring themselves to speak to him. He drinks hard and grieves hard, living in a blur of drugs and tears. Things come to a head when the news reports that Eliza’s killer is due to be released under an alias, leading him to his presumably-ex-wife Sarah for a spot of soul-searching on how things could have gone differently.


Lead actor Tee Morris does a fantastic job playing Kris, a man torn apart by the depression and guilt that’s wrecked his life for over a decade. It’s all in the eyes, the pain and the despair, all on show but never over the top. When he’s attacked outside a pub and challenging his assailant to kill him, it’s clear what depths this poor man has sunk to. Caroline Frewin is also great as Sarah, putting in a performance that does a lot of heavy emotional lifting with relatively few lines.


The film is shot well, with a good balance between the beautiful bright park where the dreams take place and the dinginess of places like Kris’ rundown apartment. The only real problem is that the pacing is quite slow, and as a result the film tends to drag in places. A few of the scenes would benefit from tighter editing to keep the story flowing smoothly; 30 minutes is quite long for this film, and the story could easily be effectively told in half that time. The dream sequences get a little repetitive towards the end too.


On the whole, though, the film is certainly excellent. The ending was a great resolution to the story, tragic and bittersweet in equal measure, and more than made up for the slow time it took to get there. It’s technically accomplished, wonderfully acted and very moving indeed.


Check it out as soon as you can!


Sam Kurd

Twitter @Splend


Find out more about the film over on IMDB by clicking here

By midlandsmovies, Nov 26 2018 02:38PM

Birmingham Cathedral hosts Christmas screenings this festive season


On Saturday 8th December, Birmingham Cathedral is hosting a festive film double-header with two classic films on the same day.




First up is The Shop Around the Corner (Dir: Ernst Lubitsch, USA 1940, 99 mins) starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.


Stewart and Sullavan play two gift shop employees that simply cannot stand each other. But over the course of the Christmas season however, they accidentally fall in love through letters they exchange as each other's anonymous pen pal.


Sound familiar? Well, the film actually served as the inspiration for the 1998 Hanks and Ryan schmaltz-fest You've Got Mail. Doors open at 4.00pm with the film starting at 4.30pm.




The second film will be this year's edition of Flatpack’s popular Silent Night series. This year, they are celebrating the career of original Hollywood starlet Mabel Normand, with four of her best short films (USA 1913 - 1927, 78 mins) featuring contemporaries such as Chaplin and Arbuckle and a live score performed by The Meg Morley Trio.


This screening takes place later the same day with doors opening at 8.00pm with the film starting at 8.30pm.


For more info on both films please click these links for tickets and more:


The Shop Around the Corner

https://2018.flatpackfestival.org.uk/event/the-shop-around-the-corner?perf_no=1491


Silent Night

https://2018.flatpackfestival.org.uk/event/silent-night-the-marvellous-mabel-normand?perf_no=1490





By midlandsmovies, Oct 31 2018 03:03PM



Local filmmaker Rebekah Fortune hosting two events at the Birmingham Film Festival


Tamworth set film “Just Charlie” was directed by Rebekah Fortune of Seahorse Films and the talented filmmaker is passing on her world of experience during a number of fantastic upcoming Midlands events in 2018.


First up, Rebekah will be hosting a panel sponsored by BFI NETWORK and The Producers Forum which is aimed at those wanting to make their first – or even trickier second – feature. The event will include a wide range of experts including Jack Tarling whose feature Gods Own Country won awards across the globe as well as being nominated for a BAFTA.


Clare Peace who has produced many independent features that have secured world-wide distribution and Alison Solomon, a respected Midlands casting director will also be in attendance.


Rebekah adds, “I will also be talking about my experiences of making my first feature ‘Just Charlie’ which has won awards across the globe including at The Edinburgh International Film Festival”.


The event will include both a Q & A session as well as networking opportunities and runs from 4pm to 6pm on Sunday 25th November 2018.


Click here to purchase tickets via Eventbrite



The second event involving Rebekah is a screening of her first feature ‘Just Charlie’. Midlands Movies reviewed the film here but this screening will be the first time the film will have been shown in Birmingham.


Having won the prestigious Audience Award at last year’s Edinburgh Film Festival, numerous awards internationally and plenty of critical acclaim, the film tells the story of football star, Charlie, who has the world at his feet.


With a top club desperate to sign him, his future is seemingly mapped out but the teenager sees only a nightmare. Trapped in the body of a boy, Charlie is torn between wanting to live up to her father’s expectations and shedding this ill-fitting skin.


The film itself was shot entirely in and around Tamworth and Lichfield and involves local cast and crew and the evening will also be followed by a Q & A from the filmmaker.


Click here to purchase tickets via Eventbrite



But that’s not all! Rebekah is part of Cinesisters Midlands which is a group set up for female directors and producers in the East and West Midlands to come together as a peer mentoring opportunity.


Midlands Movies has covered the group on our blog here and the group has helped nurture female directing and producing talent in the region. With meetings held on the second Monday of each month at venues across the Midlands, the next dates in their diary if you wish to join are:


* Broadway Nottingham 12th November

* The Light Wolverhampton 11th December

* Phoenix Leicester 14th January

* BOM Birmingham 11th February

* QUAD Derby 11th March

* The Albert Tamworth 8th April


And those interested can contact the group at wearecinesistersmidlands@gmail.com


For more information on Rebekah’s current and upcoming work check out her production company website at www.seahorsefilms


By midlandsmovies, Oct 18 2018 07:58PM



Midlands Review - Breakdown


Directed by Michael Ellis


“You just spent last night in a police station”.


And so says one of two male characters in a car as they drive through the countryside and come across a stranded woman attempting to get a phone signal as she stands next to a broken-down vehicle.


This is the set up of new Midlands film Breakdown from Michael Ellis and from the outset we get the impression that something very dark could be on the horizon involving this naughty duo.


Despite these shady themes the film is shot in stark daylight – throwing a bit of oddness into what could have been a potentially clichéd picking up a stranger on the road dynamic – but the quirky performances help to sell the unpleasant awkwardness as it plays out.


As the men stop to "help", they explain how their phones cannot be used to call for assistance (battery’s dead, left at home) and how they also know nothing of how to fix cars. This sets a tone of jet black comedy amongst what started as a seedy set up to the film.


Whilst the man who spent the night in the cells (Paul Findlay as “Passenger”) spins a yarn about his kindly offer of a lift, the second man’s worried brow (Dominic Thompson) is shown in close-up – hinting upon a repulsive inevitability he may have seen before. Offering to take her to a nearby garage, she reluctantly agrees to get into their car and the men and their new passenger drive off down the road together as we await their fate.


But director Ellis jumps 6 minutes before the story starts in an ingenious flashback which turns the tale upon its head. Without spoiling too much, the lady in distress (admirably played by Tenisha White) may not be as unaware as the first half of the short makes her out to be. We also get to see her character become less victim and more intimidator with an hilarious delivery of “piss off” which had me laughing despite the more pressing serious matters.


A fantastic short that handles its different tones with expertise, the twist in narrative during the middle section completely changes the direction of the story. As we are given new information we are suddenly thrust into a more complex dilemma which is surprising yet satisfying. Paul Findlay in particular as a man with obnoxious intentions gives a believable yet frightening turn, with his staring eyes and superb deadpan delivery of the lies his character spins.


With the right balance of story and plot twists and a trio of great acting turns in the film's brief 7-minutes, Michael Ellis has delivered a great short film that I hope not only does well on the festival circuit but brings more attention to this exciting filmmaker.


Mike Sales


Follow Michael and find out more about his film projects at his Twitter page: https://twitter.com/MEFilmsUK



By midlandsmovies, Sep 24 2018 11:23AM



“OCD: Can You Hear It Too?”


Directed by Laura Ray


A new short documentary surrounding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) comes from Birmingham-born director Laura Ray in “OCD: Can You Hear It Too?” which aims to spread the awareness of this mental illness in the hope to help others across the UK who are suffering in silence.


Laura Ray began directing plays and writing scripts from a very young age, until finally making it her ambition to make a full time career in the future as an aspiring screenwriter. But for nearly 4 years, she has also been trying to educate herself during her own battle with OCD.


Contemplating why she thought the way she did and why she acted in particular ways, Laura approached her film by trying to find other sufferers willing to speak about their experiences.


“I wasn’t there to be in control of it”, explains one sufferer as the film breaks down the various ways OCD can take hold of a person’s life. The film uses interviews to explore the multiple facets of people’s daily lives and even how the beginnings of OCD can start at a young age.


Another person, quoted only as Jess and silhouetted in the dark, shows how sufferers even want to hide what they perceive as a sometimes shameful issue, despite films like Laura’s which attempt to highlight that they need not suffer in silence.


The film also draws attention to the “completely insane” actions (as one person describes it) but the utter awful inability to be able to stop.


Panic. Poison. 24/7. Therapy. False memories. The complexity of OCD is explained by those experiencing the condition and Laura Ray simply lets those in the talking heads sections speak for themselves. With little intervention from the filmmaker, this makes their plight all the more relatable.


The film also depicts how managing to live with the day to day consequences is sometimes the best sufferers can expect. And despite therapy sessions, and even medication, those with OCD take small steps to alleviate their frustrations.


Going further, Laura Ray doesn’t plan for this to be her last OCD documentary either. By next year she aims to create an even deeper, honest account of OCD but this time through the eyes of the people surrounding the person suffering.


But by showing the options for support – friends, doctors, online forums – we see the strength of her current documentary. It provides a tangible plan of action and suggests that by joining a group to share experiences can be incredibly useful.


“Even at your lowest point. It does get easier”. A tender and sympathetic portrayal, Can You Hear It Too doesn’t break any documentary genre tropes but its simple delivery helps make the complex and sensitive issues understandable for any audience.


Mike Sales



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



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