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By midlandsmovies, Apr 13 2018 07:58AM

Flatpack Film Festival 2018


The 2018 Flatpack Film Festival kicks off on Friday 13th April so get ready to experience over 100 events and screenings across venues across Birmingham.


Running until 22nd April, there are plenty of options for all kinds of cinema fans and we take an overview look at some of the best the festival has to offer over the full 2 weeks of fun.




Colour Box

This is a fabulous film lucky dip with a focus on “doing” as much as on “viewing”. This year’s creative playground includes smartphone projectors, Moomin puppets, VR adventures and a massive zoetrope, while in the screening programme you can find the best new family shorts and features from around the world. Colour Box is suitable for all ages, although even more fun if you’re 11 and under!




Birmingham 68

A landmark year internationally, 1968 was also a turbulent time for Birmingham. This eye-opening, city-straddling programme will take you from Digbeth bikers to Erdington psychedelia, from black masses in Solihull to the lost streets of Balsall Heath. On 13-15 April a host of special guests will join us for a weekend of walks, talks and screenings tapping into a range of subjects that still resonate today. Flatpack welcome a range of guests including writer Dilip Hiro and Oscar-winning cinematographer Chris Menges and there's a very rare chance to see a psychedelic Cilla Black satire set in Ladywood.




Optical Sound

Optical Sound explores the love affair between sound and image through a packed weekend of live events and screenings. Expect AV artistry, music documentaries and ingenious gadgets.




Unpacked

A chance to poke around under the bonnet and explore the creative processes behind some of the work on show at Flatpack. At the heart of Unpacked is a day of talks and demonstrations with a fantastic line up of artists, inventors and filmmakers, while at Film Camp the focus shifts from making to showing. Film Camp is designed to gather together film exhibitors from across the Midlands to share their wealth of experience, and to explore fresh approaches to programming and audience development. The event is open to everyone from multi-screen venues and festivals to community cinema organisers and student film groups.




Special Events

Check out Flatpack’s full complement of theatre, performance, live soundtracks, daft parties and a quiz. Highlights include live animation troupe Paper Cinema and a night at the circus to remember.




Features, Shorts and Documentaries

based at the Electric and the Mockingbird, this year's survey of the best new films from around the world is a fantastic trip. For those who don’t know, Flatpack started life as a film night in a pub and the short films are an end in themselves, overflowing with great ideas and indelible images. In 2018 the competition expands to six programmes and will include a bumper crop of UK premieres. Flatpack’s international documentary selection is by turns playful, provocative and strange.


Short Film Competition Pass

The short film competition is the shining jewel in our crown each year and audiences can pick up a pass wo view Is This Some Kind Of Joke, Little Wonders, Signal To Noise, Artefacts, Memory Lane and Breaking Point for just £32.



To buy tickets and to check out the full programme go to the festival's official website - http://flatpackfestival.org.uk


By midlandsmovies, Mar 30 2018 11:06AM



Brokenhead (2018) Dir. Steve Rainbow

79 mins

The Birmingham Film company


This new Midlands feature from director Steve Rainbow tells the story of a solitary man who begins to experience some very strange occurrences during his final few days of his lonely job maintaining a working lighthouse.


Sean Connolly plays Stefan, the lighthouse keeper, who amongst his old radios and model sailboats, single-handedly preserves the upkeep of the coastal building but is increasingly disturbed by his isolated existence.


Caricature faces are drawn on Post-It notes which adorn the walls and give him company in the absence of any companions and the film gives the audience plenty of context and history up front. Opening with the sound of crashing waves we see this quirky owner maintain the old lighthouse but when things start to break down we question why. Is it a technical failure of something much more sinister?


Therefore, Stefan’s relaxing final days before returning to the mainland sees him investigating these spooky issues with the ocean building. His only interactions are via radio where he plays chess one move at a time and the weird sounds of the score from Andy Garbi work well to invoke the ethereal rolling melody of the sea. Building a sense of unease, sound plays a crucial role throughout as static and mysterious pleas for help come across the wirelss to Stefan, confusing and bewildering him.


A lot of attention to detail has been employed by the filmmakers as the lighthouse and all its antiquities link the past to the present which is a crucial aspect – especially as the film later explores historical legends and myths as well as personal memories and circumstances.


During his time, Stefan does voiceover work and we hear a radio drama where he plays out a multitude of fictional roles. But does the drama bleed into the real world? As he is told that burying an albatross on land is bad luck, a mix of sea-faring stories combine with the lighthouse blacking out.


And the discovery of voices on the airwaves and a life-jacket floating in the sea muddy the waters even further. Is his mental health suffering? Is he experiencing delusions? The film takes us through an emotional journey in the search for answers.


If there are a few minor improvements to be made I would have liked to see some quicker editing to build narrative tension. Although the long shots echo the extended periods alone, making time seem endless, as the story progresses we could have seen some shots cut shorter. That said, they give a great sense of time and place and are well composed and reflect the leisurely life of the keeper.


The great cinematography of Ian Brow captures the brilliant sunshine and glistening sea but again I think some more variety in the shot choices (most are mid-range shots) could have helped engross the audience more. The radio conversations, whilst no doubt accurate, are a little slow to engage with but with that said, the monotony could be part of delivering the themes of a solitary life and the boredom Stefan faces.


Exploring dark themes about the past and tormenting loneliness, the film doesn’t shy from difficult ideas and although an element of confusion did come across at times, the film keeps its shadowy revelations at its forefront and delivers a satisfying and eerie finale.


In conclusion, the film’s sole focus on one man is a difficult narrative to hold, yet the film does its best with a few lashings of comedy to lighten the mood. Moments of introspection are also littered amongst the increasingly haunting story as well. As the character writes his memoir, “The Last Lighthouse Keeper”, Brokenhead becomes a fine study of self-inflicted loneliness and confronting one's demons. With the deconstruction of fiction and reality and a solid central performance from Connolly the film is a melancholy marine thriller of personal-ghosts from the dark depths.


Midlands Movies Mike





By midlandsmovies, Mar 16 2018 11:00AM

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 20 – 26 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


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, Mar 13 2018 06:44PM




Ground-breaking new Midlands project 'Crushed Wings' being developed to tackle FGM


Based on true life events, the English-spoken drama film ‘Crushed Wings’ boldly challenges dangerously prevalent and out-dated ideas surrounding FGM (female genital mutilation), forced marriage and honour killing.


The story tells of brave Ria, an FGM-survivor who tries to find the strength through the impossible and is one of the first movies ever to be made on this subject.


“The shocking fact we wanted to show in our film is that this is not only happening in Africa and Europe – including the UK – but also in Asia and even in Russia. And many people are not aware of this”, says Amrita Tewari, the Managing Director of production company Cam Buddha Films who are behind the film.


FGM is officially classified as child abuse and the filmmakers have filmed both abroad and more locally in Birmingham to get their story across.


The film's director Lalit Bhusal explains, “We have huge aims - to release a powerful piece of film making and to push the pressure movement for a ban on FGM. By joining the Crushed Wings family you’ll be part of more than just a film; you'll be bringing us one step closer to a world free of FGM”.


The filmmakers have recently launched a crowd-funding campaign to assist in the production of their project and more info on can be found at Indiegogo here https://igg.me/at/crushed-wings


View the film’s first trailer below.





For more information on the film please visit the official site here: www.crushedwings.org


And follow on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Cam_buddha




By midlandsmovies, Jan 11 2018 07:09PM



Birmingham horror festival scares up international movie showcase


A macabre menu of dark delights from around the world will be served up on 28 January, when the Birmingham Horror Group hosts its second annual 'Mini-Movie Marathon'.


The event, in aid of the charity Diabetes UK, is being held at the Victoria pub on John Bright Street and has already attracted spinechilling submissions from film-makers as far afield as India, Brazil, Australia and the Russian Federation -- plus a "fear few" from the West Midlands!


"The horror genre embraces everything from psychological thrillers and bizarre monsters to supernatural terror and twisted comedy," said festival organiser Steve Green, "and we plan to reflect that full range in those films we'll be screening."


The event launches at 6pm and tickets are £3.00, bookable online via Eventbrite by clicking here.


Further details of the event are available via the group's website www.birmingham-horror.co.uk



By midlandsmovies, Dec 30 2017 10:12AM

The Hot List - Midlands Films to Look Out For in 2018


With 2017 nearly at an end Midlands Movies spotlights a number of local projects due for completion in 2018 which have us excited for the region’s filmmaking as we head into the new year. Please check out each of these individual films using the links provided as we highlight 7 of the most anticipated films coming up from the region in the following 12 months.




Songbird by Sophie Black

Described as a ‘modern fantasy for music lovers’ this new film from talented Nottingham director Sophie Black is an exciting new short starring musician Janet Devlin. Songbird comes from multi-award-winning screenwriter Tommy Draper (Stop/Eject, Wasteland) and tells the story of a shy open-mic-night singer called Jennifer, who has her voice stolen by a an ancient creature called The Collector. Also a film for music fans the short is set in the world of the underground music scene and features brand new songs by Janet Devlin herself. As a group of experienced, passionate, award-winning and slightly eccentric filmmakers based in the East Midlands, Songbird will be coming next year with high expectations from filmmakers who have consistently delivered. Catch their latest news at https://twitter.com/sophieblackfilm



The Return of the Ring by Abdulrahman Ugas

This unique take on the world of Tolkien is set right here in the Midlands as new fan-film ‘The Return of the Ring’ is a movie based on Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed film trilogy ‘The Lord of the Rings’. In a unique twist on the genre, the story has moved its fantasy world to modern day Britain where it will follow a resilient Elf who finds out the Ring has returned and sets out to re-claim its ownership. With the film planned to be released in early 2018, Abdulrahman hopes his exciting new project can bring the tales of Tolkien back to their roots in the West Midlands. Follow here for updates https://twitter.com/AbdulrahmanUgas




Patient Zero by Pathogen Films

After meeting up at a Business networking event, the 4 members of Stratford-upon-Avon’s Pathogen films have combined their talents to begin producing their own film web series. Their forthcoming set of zombie shorts follow a group of survivors who become involved in a deadly game of betrayal in an attempt to stop a maniacal group bent on turning what's left of humanity into mindless mutations. With their first film Patient Zero: Dead at the Gates premiering in Autumn 2017, the crew are now deep into production on the follow up titled “Semper Protegens”. Follow their updates and future crowd-funding campaigns at https://twitter.com/Pathogen_Films





UK Superhero by Rotunda Films

Rotunda Films is an experienced and creative film and video production company who have over fifteen years experience in production and who are now tackling an original superhero series in the region. The Birmingham filmmakers feel the UK deserves its own superheroes as they launch a new project to create a series of films featuring a unique range of characters. With a new selection of local superheroes in their own shared universe, they are starting this ambitious project with their film Mystic Highway, where they will be creating the first characters in this exciting new world. Follow the production here: https://twitter.com/rotundafilms




Brumville by Grant Murphy

Described as a film full of local people and local locations, Birmingham’s Grant Murphy hopes to utilise the West Midlands and Back Country’s pool of talent for his upcoming film Brumville. With filming recently concluded, Grant is not only writer director and producer on the film but will be playing the lead role of Connor as well. With a passion to give local actors more opportunities, the film will show just how bad it can be when friends are mixed up in drugs. The shooting of Brumville began in March 2017 after self-funding and crowd-funding campaigns and you can keep informed of their progress and release plans at https://twitter.com/brumville




The Law of Noir by Duaine Roberts

The Law of Noir started production in September and we cannot wait to see what's in store for this upcoming law-drama story. After the success of Graycon (review here) which saw Duaine Roberts branching out into sci-fi, the Birmingham filmmaker is getting back to basics with his this new drama short. Telling the story of a young law intern who is tasked with defending a client accused of human trafficking, the filmmaker is another trailblazer who is passionate in promoting Birmingham’s acting and production talent. Follow updates at https://twitter.com/CarmaFilmUK




Dead Quiet by Alex Withers

This forthcoming horror drama is another survival film where the last person on earth struggles to stay alive and attempts to hold onto his humanity. Produced in Nottingham the film is written by Dan McGrath who will explore the “importance of the sounds we create and experience as humans in order to connect with each other and the world around us”. Director Alex Withers and a team of talented filmmakers are bringing this unique world to the life on the big screen and wrapped production in August of 2017. Both a “disturbing horror and a bittersweet drama” follow the film here to get updates on its impending release https://www.facebook.com/DeadQuietFilm


Midlands Movies Mike


By midlandsmovies, Nov 20 2017 09:34AM



Sundance Film Festival award winning director comes to Birmingham


A Sundance Film Festival award winning director, who filmed her experience living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, has come to Birmingham to showcase her critically acclaimed documentary Unrest.


Jennifer Brea’s documentary Unrest which won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was shown at the Mac, as part of the third Screening Rights Film Festival.




Unrest follows her experience living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis which is more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, and she started documenting her life after showing her doctor a video she recorded on her phone of one of her symptoms.


“I had been trying for eighteen months to explain my experience in words, millions of people have been trying for decades to explain their experiences. Words fail because people translate them to what is familiar to them and there is something about the visual image that is different.”


The documentary also follows the online community of chronic fatigue syndrome patients, and the co-director believes that it was important to give an insight into the daily lives of people from around the world, by bringing a virtual reality experience to the festival.


“I thought if we could take people into our homes and bedrooms into these spaces and moments that they never get to witness, then maybe that would have to start to change the conversation."


“I chose to create a VR experience as I think the kind of internal experience that ME patients go through is very hard to convey.”




One of the Screening Rights Film Festival’s organisers Dr Michele Aaron, said that Unrest: “Tells a personal story that has not been told within mainstream culture before, and it tells of the power of activism in this process.”


Rebekah Smith


@rebekahsmithy


By midlandsmovies, Nov 20 2017 09:20AM



Interview with Screening Rights Film Festival organiser Michelle Aaron


Film festival organiser Dr Michele Aaron gives an insight to Rebekah Smith on what inspired her to set up The Screening Rights Festival and the process in selecting independent films for it.


Now in its third year the week long Screening Rights Film Festival, which was hosted at the Mac in Birmingham, was the most successful yet.


Warwick University lecturer and one of the festival organiser Dr Michele Aaron said she established the festival after spending."In many years writing about the inadequacies of the depiction of human adversity in mainstream film culture as an academic I wanted to do something more immediate and more concrete about it as well. I wanted to bring films to Birmingham that wouldn't normally come.”


This year’s festival was held between 26th October and the 1st November, with the Birmingham film festival priding itself in showcasing independent films from around the world and aims to create debate on the potential of film to affect personal, social and political change.


“The festival is all about creating a platform and space to engage with pressing issues of contemporary society in a different way to mass media, bringing films that 'come from' the people most affected by these issues themselves is crucial", adds Michelle.


This year’s festival featured international critically acclaimed documentaries about online censorship, Syrian refugees and the Aramean genocide, alongside guest panels. She hopes to incorporate British independent films into the programme during future festivals.


“There were some especially powerful events the films chosen are always important and moving but this year we were lucky to have special guests, panels and audiences that took the films' impact to another level.”


“These films do not usually make it to Birmingham but there is definitely an audience for them.”


Check out Screening Rights Festival here https://screeningrights.org/


Rebekah Smith


@rebekahsmithy



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