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By midlandsmovies, Jun 14 2018 11:05AM



"They sometimes say real life is scarier than horror movies. Those people just aren't watching the right movies!"


So say the organisers of Shock & Gore, a local festival that launched in July 2011 and looks to bring together audiences and film-makers who have a love of horror, science fiction and fantastic films at the oldest working cinema in the UK.


Returning this summer to The Electric Cinema in Birmingham from Friday 27th July to Sunday 5th August, a host of genre screenings make up the brunt of the festival but they also programme stand-up comedy, Q&As, live choirs and all-night events.


Classics like The Old Dark House and the original Cape Fear are accompanied by new films such as Under The Tree and A Prayer Before Dawn. Cult favourites like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Prisoner will also be shown, plus their annual party night marks 20 years of Blade and 50 years of Night Of The Living Dead.


Shock & Gore are also hosting a special screening of Ben Wheatley's anarchic High-Rise at the top of Birmingham's iconic Rotunda building and the popular Trash Film Night will be taking to the seas (or, more accurately, Birmingham's canals) for a floating screening of Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.


And on Thursday 2nd August, Conjurer's Kitchen will be presenting the classic movie The Silence Of The Lambs. Master food artist Annabel de Vetten will be cooking up some devilishly sweet treats to accompany a screening of one of the greatest thrillers of the last thirty years.


With a commitment to celebrating not only the work of established genre filmmakers, but also those looking to get their first break and national exposure, the focal point of the festival is always the official Shock & Gore competition. This is where entries from across the globe will be viewed and awards will be given for Best Feature Film and Best Short Film.


The Shock & Gore 2018 short film showcase takes place on Sunday 29th July at 2pm and offers opportunities for snappy jump scares, extreme set pieces and brief snippets of terror. Previous years have featured films from Japan, Dubai, Canada, the US, France and Italy, as well as a number of home-grown shorts.


And you still have time to enter via FilmFreeway at this link: https://filmfreeway.com/ShockGore


Full listings and the special events programme is online at www.shockandgore.co.uk


Plus you can find the festival on Twitter @ShockGore



By midlandsmovies, May 28 2018 07:59AM



Midlands Spotlight - Birmingham Creatives Ready for Hire


Midlands Movies finds out about Talent Connect which is a new initiative bringing twelve fresh faces to Birmingham’s creative industry. It is the first time a scheme like this has been piloted, with a drive to help enable new talent to enter into the film sector as freelancers.


A group of 18 to 25-year-olds with an array of talents are to become available for projects that need immediate hiring with each participant having an online profile.


Once registered on their website, employers can access these profiles where they can choose a participant which fits their requirements and contact them directly. The skills of this talent pool are camera operation, camera assisting, editing, hair and make-up, lighting assistant, graphic design, scriptwriting, locations, administration, social media, web development and more.


Contracts are set up between the company and the participant, who have all set up as self-employed and Talent Connect contacted Michael Ford of Infinite Wisdom for his thoughts. “I would definitely look at this platform if I needed new freelancers, having already recruited similar talent through the Producers’ Forum in recent months".


Much like the Creative England Crew Database, the difference between them is that this forum screens its members which is a huge selling point for Michael.


Talent Connect has been created by The Producers’ Forum and Creative Alliance with the support of Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds. Creative Skillset is the industry skills body for the Creative Industries.


The Producers’ Forum is an independent organisation serving the vibrant community of filmmakers and content producers region. Membership includes producers, writers, and directors and many others involved in other aspects of film & TV.


The Forum provides training, networking, and lobbying. In an industry currently undergoing profound changes, it provides a unified lobbying voice through developing strategic relationships with key partners such as Creative Skillset, Film Birmingham, Creative Alliance, and West Midlands Screen Bureau.


Creative Alliance, founded in 2005, was one of the first training providers in the UK to offer apprenticeships in the Creative and Cultural Industry, an industry with no previous history of apprenticeships.


For more information check out https://talentconnect.creativealliance.org.uk



Talent Connect member Fahima Khatun
Talent Connect member Fahima Khatun

By midlandsmovies, May 11 2018 07:30PM



Midlands Interview - Birmingham actress and filmmaker Hayley Davis


Midlands Movies Mike speaks to West Midlands creative Hayley Davis about her film work and new web series Random where the talented actress has created a series of exciting monologues to flex her acting work into new media.


Midlands Movies: Hiya Hayley. Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hayley Davis: Hello! I'm a Birmingham based actor and writer. I'm Birmingham born and raised but moved away to study and after university I moved to London for a few years before realising that I couldn't balance being a creative with being able to rent and buy food in one of the most expensive cities in the world! So I came back to Birmingham and really started concentrating on making my own work.


MM: And what attracted you to working in the film industry?

HD: It's strange to think of myself as being "in the film industry" as I'm still in the very early stages of my career. I actually started writing film purely because I wanted to be in a short film! I was trying to get acting work with only a little experience and everyone was telling me that unpaid work was the way forward. I just thought, well if I'm not getting paid anyway, I've got ideas so I may as well write something, get the crew together myself and then I can schedule it all around my paid work.


MM: That's great. So, what hurdles did that entail and how did you overcome them?

HD: Apart from the logistics of producing a film and getting a project up and on its feet, the biggest hurdle was to stop waiting for permission to create something. I waited for so long to start making my own work because, to be honest, I was scared shitless. Am I good enough? Can I do this? Am I "worthy"? Will people think it's shit? Once I thought, you know what, no-one is going to hand you a job so you either get over your anxiety or nothing will ever happen. I just got on with it. Even if people don't like my work, I'm not going to die.


MM: You also have a new series called Random on your site. Can you tell our readers a bit about that?

HD: I've been doing a lot of corporate roleplay acting over the last year, which isn't very creative and can get a bit boring. I wanted to make sure that I was keeping my creativity going. I ALWAYS feel like I should be making more work and I wanted to create something that was fairly quick to produce but also allowed me to challenge myself.


Random is a set of monologues that I write by going on Snopes.com which is a website that debunks or confirms various stories, urban legends, news articles etc. Some of the stuff on there is crazy. So, I select a random story and then write and perform a monologue based on the story. So far there's been a UFO fanatic, a murderous wife and a teacher who has a momentary loss of control. The idea was to post every two weeks or so, but my work schedule has been busy, so I try to do them as and when I can.



MM: The Get Out Clause brought you a lot of attention including a win at BFF. How did that project come about?

HD: That was so crazy. As I mentioned it was really something I did because I wanted some short film footage to help with acting work. I had already made a very small film / monologue called Would Like to Meet but wanted to do something a bit bigger. I wrote, produced and starred in the film and then it languished on my laptop for a year or two. I didn't do anything with it. Then last year on a whim, I entered it into the BFF and then forgot about it. When I was told it was nominated for Best Local Film, I thought, that's nice. It won't win, but I'll have a night out at the awards and that will be something. So, when it did win I nearly fell out of my chair. It was such a lovely feeling to have this thing that I had made from nothing, with no expectations, receive some recognition.




MM: You also both act and write. Do you have a preference of one over the other? What do you bring to each discipline?

HD: A few years ago I would have said that I wanted to be recognised as an actor more than anything. But now for me they go hand in hand. I find both challenging and rewarding in lots of ways and they inform each other. Writing makes me a better actor and vice versa.


MM: Can you give any advice can you give to other actors out there to get noticed?

HD: Please let me know if you find this out because I'd love to know! It's hard. I'm very much trying to be "noticed" myself. I'm working on the theory that if I do everything I can, make work, try to get that recognised, supported, enjoyed then the profile will come.


MM: And what has been your greatest achievement so far?

HD: I think one of the things that makes me most proud is changing from working in jobs I hated and made me unhappy (office, corporate) to be able to make money from acting and/or creative jobs. I think back to a couple of years ago when I was sat on my lunch break, in a badly fitting blouse crying because I hated what I was doing and I'm thankful that I haven't had to do that for a good while now. It could all change tomorrow but I still think that's an achievement.


MM: And who has inspired you in your work?

HD: Of course I'm in awe of brilliance like Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright. But I am also really inspired by women who have had success with creating their own work. Michaela Cole, Phoebe Waller-Bridges, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Lena Dunham and Ava Duvernay. I look to them for inspiration.


MM: Who are you favourite Midlands creatives out there you’d recommend our readers checking out?

HD: Elinor Coleman is a wonderful writer/performer who wrote a show called Baby Daddy which was on at the Birmingham Rep. Not film, but a lovely Birmingham based performer. [Editor: check it out at this link - click here].


MM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?

HD: I'll be continuing to create Random so keep an eye out for those. I'm also in the process of writing my next short film which I'm really excited about and will hopefully be a bigger project than The Get Out Clause. I'm also involved in a pilot which I am also co-writing and is being filmed in the Autumn which I'm hoping will lead to bigger things. Just keep an eye on my website. It will all be on there!


Check out Hayley Davis’s new blog series ‘Random’ on her website at www.mshayleydavis.com


And follow for her latest news on Twitter @mshayleydavis






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 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)


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



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