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By midlandsmovies, Apr 25 2020 11:17AM

The Hot List - Midlands Films to Look Out For in 2020

With the world on a hiatus, Midlands Movies spotlights a number of local projects due for completion in 2020 which have us excited for the region’s filmmaking as we head into the rest of the year. Please check out each of these individual films using the links provided as we highlight 12 of the most anticipated films coming up from the region in the following 12 months.

Ping Pong

Director Gemma Norton is currently in post-production on a new short called Ping Pong described as a “simple little Dramedy about two estranged friends who catch up over a game of ping pong”. Unravelling to reveal something much more serious, Norton is a Midlands Movies Awards winner for her previously successful shot Troubled Waters. Trying her hand at something different, the film stars Freddie Hill and Aaron J. Smith.



Arabesque is a new short film from Coalescent Films. The film involves “A writer without words, a photographer with issues, an agent without decency and dancer with anxiety”. These are just some of the characters than populate the world of Arabesque, where everyone has something they need from someone else. Coalescent Films are a Nottingham-based group of filmmakers including actors, writers, directors, producers and even special effects experts who are dedicated to creating short and feature films. They joined with other Midlands talent to both strengthen and increase the output of films into the local independent film community.



Asphyxiate is a powerful short drama about a young woman as she tries to gasp for air whilst she drowns in the memories of a tainted relationship. Directed by Nicole Pott, the film stars Anthony Quinlan and Michaela Longden who have come together to create a short film to highlight the sensitive issue of domestic abuse. Over her career, Nicole Pott has successfully directed and/or produced several films, including her award-winning shorts 'Charlie' and 'Rambling On'. Her current completed short film 'Kaleidoscope' has been recently selected at Swindon Independent Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Drama Short, Best Screenplay and Best Director.



Pennywort follows the journey of Freya a young girl with Aspergers Syndrome and is supported by the BFI Network, Lost Eye Films and Sea Horse Films. Combining both drama and animation, the Lincoln production has now been completed and the production team are planning to show the film around the UK and worldwide as part of the important need to spread disability awareness. In the short itself, we follow the journey of Freya, a young girl with Asperger’s Syndrome.


A Kidnap

A Kidnap is an upcoming British psychological thriller feature film by award-winning director Lee Greenhough. The film tells the story of an adopted brother and his younger sister who are kidnapped and must escape before their assailants’ twisted relationship implodes. An ambitious project which will be made on a low budget, director Lee Greenhough originally trained in method acting and he has also been mentored in creative writing by a former BAFTA winner and has been screenwriting and directing judge at the prestigious Top Shorts Film Festival. Lee has worked on various projects including pre-production on his new British thriller ‘On Our Own’ and is also looking for producers for his latest feature screenplay ‘Together Apart’.


Lord of the Free Range

Lord of the Free Range is the latest project from Kato Pictures - a Nottingham based production company specialising in short films, music videos and more. Kato Pictures is led by producer Lauren Parker who has produced a series of well received shorts including the award-winning Night Owls and the Creative England and BFI NETWORK funded Wash Club. She has also worked in TV production with the CBBC, BSLBT and Wellington Films and recently worked as line producer on the interactive project As Dead As It Gets. This film follows a proud, meat-eating father who learns his wife and child have turned vegan and pushes them away into the arms of a mysterious vegan cult who worship a chicken(!) Can he overcome his own stubborn nature and win them back, or is the changing tide too much to take? Produced by Parker, the film has been written by Joseph Willis and will be directed by Simon Dymond.



"Look up at the stars... and remember me". Lepidopterist is the new film from Sophie Black of Triskelle Pictures that tells the story of a young scientist who drives away from a lab with a large box in the back of her van. But the audience are asked to discover what it may contain. Originally shot and edited within two days (under the name 'FIFTY/FIFTY') the short was an entry into the Sci-Fi London 48hr Film Competition. However, Sophie and her team are currently in the process of editing an extended cut to enter into festivals - complete with extra scenes and more! The film stars Charlie Clarke, Sarah Lamesch and Chris Millross and was co-written with award-winning scriptwriter Tommy Draper.



Hello Darlin’

Birmingham filmmaker Patrick Carney Jr. is a relative newcomer to the film industry at the age of 71 but is keen to make his mark on British Cinema with his film Hello Darlin’. This independent film was originally based on a true story set in the 1960s but the filmmaker moved the story into the present and began to take the shape of a modern western. Shot in 3 weeks in 2019, the director praises the hard work and “collaboration of all the creative minds involved both behind and in front of the camera”. The story follows Les Dalton who is on parole after nine years in prison for armed robbery, and now everyone wants to know what happened to the missing gold.




Directed by award-winning British director and writer Adam Palmer Judas is a new drama starring Nick Preston and Lawrence Walker. Palmer is based in Wolverhampton and his new short tells the story of two members of opposing gangs. These two young men end up sharing a moment during a game of basketball. Palmer was part of the BFI Network and BAFTA Crew of 2019. Star Nick Preston has previously had a role in Netflix’s The Innocents, whilst co-star Lawrence Walker has been in BBC’s Our Girl. Rounding out the crew is director of photography Aram Atkinson, Elliott Weaver on Sound and composing the soundtrack is Thom Robson.



Day of the Stranger

Day of the Stranger is a new surreal Western comedy-drama that plays on the tropes of the acid western genre of the 1970's. Directed by Tom Lee Rutter of Carnie Films, the director also wrote the screenplay based on the original short story by Mark Twain. The psychedelic wild west film stars Gary Baxter, Gary Shail and Richard Rowbotham and follows a bounty retrieval gone wrong as our hero faces his toughest challenge yet - a mysterious stranger who holds the key to the truth of his fate. Billed as “The only British guerrilla-shot homage to the short-lived, acid-western sub-genre of the counter-cultural era ever made”, Rutter promises a kaleidoscope of blood, guns, satanic nymphs and psychedelic frenzy.


The Red Line

Set in the UK in the late 1990s, The Red Line follows Benedict, a retired blues singer who longs for the old days, before the rise of modern rock. One of the last remaining regulars at The Red Line, a music bar that has evolved its identity to reflect the interests of the youth, he is adamant that music has lost its way – until he hears The Strife, an up-and-coming rock and soul fusion band that piques his interest. A University of Derby short film organized by Will Townsend, the short has Jethro Randell as director of photography and along with the rest of the team are eager to bring The Red Line from script to screen.


The Methodists

Directed and written by Johnny Kinch, The Methodists is a new British feature film about two hitmen, featuring Mark Winks, Johnny Kinch and 74-year-old Dee Quemby. The story tells of two hitmen who although very different in appearance and style, are both described as “psychopaths” never the less. Leicester-based Kinch goes on to explain, “We must say that we are very excited to get this film made to the highest possible standard, whilst using mainly unknown actors and crew”.


By midlandsmovies, Mar 30 2020 08:25AM


Directed by L.J. 'Stark' Greenwood


What lurks in the forest at night is a question posed in the opening of new short horror film Snarl from L.J. Stark Greenwood.

Well we find out as the chirping of crickets dies down and we stumble upon a half-naked man (Jay Podmore as Elijah) chained and tortured in a cave-dwelling. The man conducting this horridness is called Clyde (Troy Dennison) and accuses him of being a “devil”.

Two local villagers (Charlie Clarke as Faye and Jack Knight as Benjamin) wait for the torturer to leave before ignoring the “no trespassing” sign. They sneak in and seek to comfort and release the abused man who by now is covered in cuts and bruises.

The film is well shot and the story beats easy to understand in Snarl. The script is clear but delivered in a slightly Hammer-inspired way. The archaic dialogue with its hints of Victorian prose harks back to classic gothic literature. I hope this is deliberate as no one speaks like these characters do in real life that's for sure.

With the villagers and their rescued man now on the run, Clyde returns to find his captive gone and a chase ensues in the woods. Stumbling through the undergrowth, they attempt to flee but the injuries are taking their toll on their progress.

Low budget films tend to film in places with easy access (i.e. the woods). And horror action tends to be “chasing”. When these two are overdone you can far too often see these being overused with huge swathes of a short’s time being eaten up by that action in that location. However, although it edges close for a moment, Snarl thankfully ends just the right side of this horror trope. But does veer that way for a moment.

What doesn’t work so well is day-for-night shooting. The appearance of a full moon at the start hints on the horrors about to take place after sunset, but a blue filter appears to stand in for proper night-time shooting. This makes the film feel like it’s taking place in the less-than-scary early evening. A small point granted, but one that could have been altered for some more darkly visceral scares.

However, things turn worse later when Elijah reveals his true self - SPOILER - in the form of a werewolf. The low budget has forced Snarl to show very little of the transformation but, as so often with horror, it’s about the fear of what you don’t see, not what you do.

But the influence of the classic wolf shapeshifting in An American Werewolf in London is clear to see and the effects and make-up used are very impressive and filmed well.

Snarl ends then by playing on the thrill and the fear of the unknown and the short’s bloody atmosphere is one of constant dread. If a little too long given its content and narrative for me personally, what is shown is the filmmaker’s passion for classic retro horror beats with a love for the genre - as well as some excellent artistry from the make-up department.

Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Jan 27 2019 08:05AM

Midlands Spotlight - Snarl

Lightbeam Productions is reuniting with Pat The Bull Films, Brumtown Films and 5cm/Sec Films to produce SNARL, a terrifying new horror short to be directed by L.J. Stark Greenwood.

Starring Jay Podmore (Sustain), and reuniting Charlie Clarke with Jack Knight fresh from You Are My Sunshine, the film will be directed by L.J. with special FX by Gary Hunt, Steve Bosworth, Troy Dennison and Alex Bourne while Will Bradshaw is back as Director of Photography.

Kaushy Patel and Paminder Bains are on executive producer duties while Dave Hastings is in the producing chair as well as writing the script.

The film is set in England in 1934 where a young man, Elijah (Jay Podmore) has been captured and accused of being a werewolf by Clyde, a self-famed bounty hunter from a nearby village.

As Elijah is brutally tortured in a vain attempt to get him to confess to his alleged shapeshifting, he suddenly finds himself covertly released by two villagers, Faye (Charlie Clarke) and her younger brother Benjamin (Jack Knight), who believe his cries of innocence.

As they attempt to help the young man flee through the woods, all the while pursued by the maniacal Clyde, the night time forest suddenly reveals that some legends are not myth at all.

Director L.J ‘Stark’ Greenwood explains, “I’ve always wanted to try my hand at directing but so far have never had the chance to fully immerse myself into it. So I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew to help me bring this story to life, one that I am very excited about, because it is so scary and really plays directly into what story elements I think helped make some of the best Werewolf films we’ve already got".

"It will also allow me to indulge in visuals that are inspired by my love of Guillermo del Toro as well as my love of the 1930s carnival atmospheres".

"We’ve already been working on shot lists and ideas for how to not only present the characters but also our elusive werewolf, as well as looking at locations and filming test footage, so it’s all becoming very real and exciting! This has always been my favourite sub-genre of horror, the Werewolf film, so I hope to really do it justice with what we’ve got to show the world", he adds

Writer and producer Dave Hastings continues, "Originally starting out as a small 2-3 minute film idea, L.J. approached me a few months ago, about her dream of making the ultimate werewolf short. She had been wanting to have a good go at directing for some time now as well, and we all really wanted to help give her the platform to do this and combine a project with her love of Wolfman folklores. It was also a way to say a massive thankyou to her, especially after all the work she has done to make House of Screaming, Sustain, You Are My Sunshine and countless other movies projects we’ve all worked on".

Jay Podmore who plays Elijah describes joining back up with the established team, "I'm really looking forward to working with LJ, Dave and the team again - and the challenges that we will face together working on such exciting, graphic material. I can’t wait to play around with Elijah’s character - he has endured a great deal of physical and spiritual strain so I will be delving into a deep part of my mind to bring to him a rawness and vulnerability. I just cannot wait to get started on this! Such lovely talented people involved and looking forward to morphing into Elijah in 2019.”

And Charlie Clarke who plays as Fayeis in a similar position: "I am most looking forward to being back with such a great team for my first werewolf film and being on board for LJ’s directorial debut! I’m also looking forward to the 1930s styling and seeing the werewolf make up".

SNARL starts filming in early 2019 with a release planned for later in the year. More updates and details will be coming soon and follow the latest production news at http://www.lightbeamproductions.co.uk/

A recent behind the scenes film has been released from the crew and watch the video below:

By midlandsmovies, Aug 24 2018 06:33AM

Midlands Spotlight - LGBT film You Are My Sunshine completes first part of production

After two weeks filming around various locations within the Walsall area, the first shooting block for the new upcoming Midlands feature film You Are My Sunshine has now ended with a deeply heart-breaking scene filmed in North Wales.

Actors Steve Salt and Jack Knight played out their final scenes together as the younger versions of Tom and Joe, the film's protagonists, which chronicles the tender story of how they first fell in love and the difficulties they face against a backdrop of 1970s Britain. Set during a time when gay rights were only just asserting themselves, the film also leads into the modern day where we find how their characters are continuing in the face of prejudice.

Writer/Director Dave Hastings has praised not only their performances but also those of actors and actress Charlie Clarke, Kiah Reeves, Dale Roberts as well as Hellraiser alumni Simon Bamford, all of whom he says brought great pathos and unique energy to the sometimes challenging and dramatic scenes.

"Everyone has been remarkable", continues Dave. "When I first wrote the script for Sunshine back in 2014, I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined these performances. They are heart-breaking, funny, sincere, emotional, as well as loving. I'm such a happy and humbled director because of each and every one of them".

Producer Troy Dennison, who supervised a shoot that saw the filmmakers and actors take to such iconic Walsall locations like Barr Beacon and the Park Lime Pits has equally praised the cast. Thanking them all for bringing some extremely powerful performances to the screen Troy added, "Absolutely astounding, all of them, every single time they were all on set"

"We have been so lucky to have them wanting to work with us, and we will do our very best to honour their work in the final film. That we will always promise".

WIth a very ambitious shoot, and working closely alongside Walsall Council, the director thanked the authorities assistance and advice which eased potential filming issues on location around the borough. "The council have been absolutely incredible and so very supportive, helping us work on the streets of Darlaston which doubled for 1970s British exteriors in one instance" says Hastings.

The production even had an element of nostalgia when it returned to Manor House in West Bromwich where the company had shot The House of Screaming Death. This time, it doubled as a 1970s bedsit. The crew of the film were equally up to challenge to help present and turn locations into those with a genuine 1970s vibe. Director of Photography Will Bradshaw studied the look of former British films made within the era, while set designer L.J. ‘Stark’ Greenwood researched various colour palettes as well as vintage props.

But while this phase of the shoot is over, the crew's attention and planning is now moving towards a secondary block of filming which sees the story of Joe and Tom continue into modern day & the repercussions of the past still haunting them.

And for now, Dave reflects on that final scene just filmed in North Wales. "It was the right one to finish on. We'd been on a rollercoaster of emotions, all of us, both in front of and behind the camera over the past two weeks with the differing scenes and charged content, so this last one, set on an isolated beach, where young Tom & Joe look to the future, just allowed us all to say goodbye sadly to them collectively".

Dennison agrees, stating "It was very difficult to say goodbye because we'd become a massive family again for two weeks".

You Are My Sunshine is a co-production between Lightbeam Productions, 5cm/Sec and Pat The Bull Films and is being executively produced by Kaush Patel. It will continue to be filmed in and around both Walsall and Sandwell areas in the West Midlands.

Find out more information here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YouAreMySunshineMovie/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MySunshineMovie

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