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By midlandsmovies, May 18 2018 07:40AM



Cappuccino


Directed by Luke Collins


“All the world’s a stage” – William Shakespeare.


Never has the Bard’s words rang so true in Cappuccino which features a man with a stammer who faces the challenge of a lifetime in a new film from Coventry filmmaker Luke Collins.


Shot in the area with a Midlands cast and crew, Luke is a media production graduate making short films and music videos while teaching filmmaking at Coventry University.


This film focuses on a man, Mike, with a speech impediment who we see in the backroom of a theatre. A variety of mirrors on the wall usher the audience towards the reflective nature of the condition and how sufferers could feel they project themselves to others as well as the frustration within.


The protagonist repeats a mantra to himself, “breathe and be confident”, as a stage manager enters saying the theatre is a full-house. His direct and disparaging comments pile the pressure on, ending with an appalling “don’t embarrass yourself” final sentence.


As we move to the wings of the theatre, a confident woman exits the stage but it’s her furtive and judgemental glance towards Mike as she walks past that speaks volumes.


Juxtaposing the intimate backstage with a theatre performance is a great metaphor for the private and public pressures stammerers face and the film builds to a crescendo as Mike finally hits the stage.


Technical wise the short is well filmed although a shot of the characters on stage with a stark black background could have been better lit to heighten the pressure and add realism. Understandably on a low-budget film, resources are limited but the filmmakers choice of great actors is the main, and more important, focus here. Ross Samuel as the lead Mike delivers a heartfelt and earnest performance that is sure to hit very emotionally with viewers.


As Mike struggles to say his first word, the coughs and mutters of an impatient audience begin to reverberate in the auditorium.


The obvious parallel here is The King’s Speech but stammering has been in a variety of films over the years from both a clinical standpoint but also as a passing character trait. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Brad Dourif is one of the best performances showing the frustration and everyday hinderances stutterers face.


However, this film’s best aspect is a final twist where we get to see the true pressures on Mike. A revelation shows all is not what it seems and lays bare the real daily difficulties of the condition.


As part of Channel 4’s Random Acts, the film is an expressive look of a condition that has huge ramifications in sufferer’s lives. Cappuccino delivers its metaphorical message with understanding and sympathy and its simple but clever premise is what short films should ultimately strive to be. A joy from start to finish.


Midlands Movies Mike


Watch the full short on YouTube below:




By midlandsmovies, Apr 27 2018 09:40PM



Midlands Spotlight - Finham Park Film Festival


Midlands Movies comes across new regional film festival based in Coventry that has big aspirations with a whole host of up and coming filmmakers.


The Finham Park Film Festival 2018 may be a small film festival but had its beginnings when Mike Gunn Head of Media Arts first started teaching Film Studies at Finham Park in Warwickshire. He encouraged students to have the highest expectations and with many of them entering their projects to local film competitions, it was of no surprise when the students soon started winning.


Later, talented students began entering national competitions and within just the last four years, Finham Park students have had five student films nominated for national prizes, including their first winner last year, Jack Brazil, now in Year 12.


Based in Coventry, thus originated their own film festival. Known for its outstanding film work, their media department have been hosting, serving and demonstrating the work produced. A fully catered, 3 meal, sit-down event is the icing on the movie cake where Andrew Hartshorn, the Head of Food Technology got students cooking Michelin-starred food to 72 guests at the festival.


The school use the festival to showcase fantastic films as well as show the wider community just how much potential they have. They want to inspire the next generation of students to even higher goals and make the school a centre of film-making excellence.


At last year’s festival, the festival helped ignite the Coventry 2021 bid for City of Culture and only eight months later, Coventry won, bringing even greater attention to the city’s young filmmakers.


This year’s festival prizes will be judged by a panel of judges from the film industry including ITV producer Anna Andrews and Ali Bannister, who worked on Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. Sean Hartofilis, an independent New York film-maker will be less known but Josic Cadoret’s work funding new talent at BFI Film London will become more prominent now he has been announced as one of the six regional talent executives by the BFI.


Students nominated for awards are looking forward to hearing from their heroes and getting tips on how to be at the forefront of Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture festivities.


If you’d like to know more about the school or the festival check out https://twitter.com/FinhamFilm



By midlandsmovies, Apr 20 2018 05:07PM



Atonement (2018)


Directed by Auzair Razak from Coventry


A Ribbontree Production


Atonement is a new 12-minute psychological thriller from Coventry writer-director Auzair Razak which tackles issues of bereavement, grief and blame.


Filmed in a Paul Greengrass handheld camera style we begin our journey with Daniel who we discover has lost his daughter and is battling to come to terms with her passing. Spiralling into alcohol-fused decline, he returns home one night and begins to see visions of a mysterious forest.


Daniel himself is played by actor George McCluskey (another Coventry talent whom we have spoken with before) and here he excellently conveys the awkward confusion and stress of this melancholic man as he attempts to deal with his demons.


Atonement sticks to its low-key realism with music that is kept to a minimum but when it does arrive it has an eerie elongated tonal quality which adds a touch of unexpectedness to the weird proceedings.


A piercing tinnitus inducing sound signals the arrival of his visions as his daughter Emily (Lamissah La-Shontae) appears then disappears into surrounding woods. The washed-out colour palette of these scenes help establish a dream-like quality whilst McCluskey manages to evoke a devasted father well with the few lines of dialogue he is given.


A date scene in a restaurant conveys Daniel’s frustrations and loneliness as he fails to engage with his guest and as he drifts in and out of his ghostly nightmares we are given hints upon what brought him to this state.


Deep within his trance, a shrine against a wooden log and a blood-red toy car leave clues as to the backstory and we’re soon within Daniel’s mindset as his fanciful dreams and miserable reality collide.


Atonement’s only real drawback is its slight unoriginality. The ghostly daughter and [SPOILERS] car crash denouement is one I’ve seen a lot of in local films. It may just be coincidence but as recent as last week I reviewed a film about a middle-aged bald man suffering nightmare visions that leave him “hanging” onto reality.


However, that’s not to say there isn’t plenty to recommend this short too. The film’s technical aspects are rock solid with sound mixing being of particular note. Dialogue, music and audio effects have been well produced and it’s so easy to ruin a good short with bad sound. But not here. The performances are rugged but consistent and deliver the slightly-seen-it-too-many times before materal with believability and sensitivity.


A great introduction to a young filmmaker I haven’t heard of, Auzair Razak’s Atonement is a fantastic welcome of another gifted filmmaker onto the Midlands scene. One who I very much look forward to seeing more of – with a splash more originality I hope – in the coming months.


Midlands Movies Mike


Follow the short on Twitter at @Atonement_Short

By midlandsmovies, Oct 6 2017 10:06AM



Lee Charlish is a filmmaker producing shorts under the Korky Films banner in Coventry and Midlands Movies uncovers more about his local take on all things animation.


From spending many a Saturday afternoon watching old VHS tapes of ‘video nasties’, Lee Charlish says that long forgotten B-Movies were his baptism into movies but got into animation because he became disillusioned with ‘live’ action filmmaking in the early noughties.


“I’d say I’m a bit of a frustrated director who just saw animation as more accessible way to produce the ‘vision’ I had for some projects”, explains Lee. “Animation appealed to me because I didn’t need to rely on anybody else. I was forever being let down on projects, which obviously happens when you’re creating films with no to low-budget and any wild and wonderful locations I required suddenly became possible by simply drawing it”.


Having such a wild imagination, Lee came to the conclusion his ideas couldn’t be fully realised with the limitations of budget and available resources and locations, so animation was the route he took to get his ideas onto the screen. However, despite his initial plans Lee says he was a bit naïve in his original thoughts. “It isn’t easier at all! It provides a whole different set of frustrations and headaches, but it’s strangely enjoyable and I’m still obsessed with filmmaking. If I’m not doing it, I’m thinking about it and I love watching films, of all genres, from all over the world. I think I live by the Charles Bukowski quote, ‘Find something you love and let it kill you’”.


After switching from ‘live’ filmmaking in 2004, Lee returned to it in 2014 by producing the satirical animation Snow which won the inaugural Macoproject Online Film festival accolade of Best Animation.




Lee goes on to say, “I’ve had no formal animation training and, to be honest, it probably shows; I’m not a purist by any stretch and the rudimentary animation is hopefully saved by strong stories and style. I take a lot of time manipulating photographic elements in Photoshop, compositing in After Effects and working in various animation software packages”.


“I think it’s a steep learning curve and is quite literally visible with my latest offerings, such as Trigger Happy Birthday which has just been completed and is currently being touted to festivals and Mother which is in the final stages of production”.



Lee’s film Pig Dream did very well and was picked up by festivals as well as being awarded the British Special Mention Award at the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival in Bristol in 2016. And Lee feels it was a good springboard and is still very proud of his work.


However, ninetofive is Lee’s latest and is a 17-minute animation so fraught with problems that he nearly gave up on several times. “Thankfully, the hard work has paid off and I learnt so much during the production. My advice to any animator and/or filmmaker is to persevere and to ensure you improve and learn from mistakes and criticism. Most negatives can usually be turned into a positive if your approach and attitude is right. The film is now enjoying worldwide screenings and it had a great local premiere and Q and A in Leicester as part of The Short Cinema film festival".




"I doubt I’ll make another animation that long though. It’s also harder to programme at festivals because of the length too, so again, it’s reassuring to see it shown at so many when the curators could easily have shown two or three other films instead”.


Whilst training as an actor at drama college, Lee says a firm piece of advice he follows was ‘If it can happen, it will,’ which he says was dispensed more as a cautionary observation to live by, rather than some positive, motivational mantra. “I use it to ensure that all possible things which can go wrong are sorted or signposted before production starts, so the workflow is as seamless as possible”


“The plus side is that the ‘magic happens’ during any production, kind of organically and I think the advice is keep all the technical things tethered and tight, so the creativity can wield its wonderful tentacles and go anywhere it pleases”.


Lee says he’s influenced by music and as a child he enjoyed traditional cartoons like Scooby Doo, He-Man and Warner Bros stuff. Whilst being less interested in 3D he cites Spielberg, Lynch, Polanski, Wes Anderson and horror favourites like John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper as his film influences.


And with such a busy slate, past and present, Lee explains there’s much more to come from Korky Films. Lee plans to produce a ‘Making of’ for Mother so people can see the processes he goes through go and he hopes for the same with Return from the Moon - another high-concept piece.


“I am never short of ideas and often, while I’m working on a project I’ll get another idea and I’ll be making feverish notes and honing scripts or outlines. It’s not uncommon for me to work on more than one film at a time. I have just finished Trigger Happy Birthday, which was inspired from a Facebook meme I saw and I’m finishing Mother, which has a story which was devised and conceived in little more than an hour one Friday evening”


Check out further information from Lee Charlish and Korky Films on the official site below:


http://www.korkyfilms.com/







By midlandsmovies, May 23 2017 09:43PM



Cult Screens heads to the Midlands region for Summer 2017 extravaganza


Cult Screens is a luxurious open air cinema experience heading to carefully selected unusual, spectacular locations throughout the country, which launches Thursday 25th May with the Oscar-winning ‘Moonlight' at Oxford Castle.


But it won’t be long until the Cult Screen experience hits the Midlands with a line-up of great movies for film fans to enjoy in the coming months.


Running until late September, the highly anticipated summer schedule includes films ranging from cool cult classics like Fight Club and Pretty Woman to modern masterpieces like La La Land and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.


As well as these there is a whole host of fan favourites like Top Gun and Dirty Dancing. Cult Screens hope to bring all the comforts of the ultimate cinematic experience to the great outdoors with deckchairs and beanbags scattered for the taking.


They also recommend bottles of chilled Prosecco and can offer a superb selection of crafted beers and classic cinema comforts like fresh popcorn to gourmet street food.


For the Midlands explicitly, locations confirmed for this year include Coventry Cathedral Ruins and The Arena, Lower Trinity Street in Birmingham. The full line-ups are below.


Perfect for a girls’ night out with a difference, a chilled Sunday or Saturday date night, tickets are priced from £13.95 - £45 with various seating options available from BYO blanket to deckchair and single or double beanbags.


For more information and tickets please visit www.cultscreens.co.uk


BIRMINGHAM




COVENTRY





By midlandsmovies, May 2 2017 08:27AM



Editor Mike Sales spotlights the latest feature from Midlands filmmaker George McCluskey who discusses his new drama-horror project called Impious.


Hailing from Coventry, George McCluskey is a writer, director and actor and with his new feature Impious, he is taking on a horror idea he’s had brewing for some years. Based around the theme of possession, George has mixed both horror elements with a more real-life drama focused around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


George has self-financed the project with a budget that has so far gone into five figures and he has a history in the horror genre where he also co-wrote, and was lead actor in, the British Independent comedy horror feature film "The Zombie King". This 2013 fright flick starred Hollywood actors Edward Furlong and Corey Feldman. He was also Executive Producer and acted in British Independent horror feature film "Jacobs Hammer" during in the same year.



This new story however is based around a suspected possession. George goes on to explain, “That it is suspected because a priest feels this to be the case whereas the psychiatrist in the film is having none of it”.


With both men friends of the family, the "possessed" man, Tim Baxter, is already suffering from PTSD which itself creates a difficulty as the audience does not know who to actually believe in the story.


George continues, “His long suffering wife Elaine, and step-daughter Mindy, have persevered with his behaviour for years, so when we join the story they are already a family in crisis, but this recent spate of erratic behaviour has taken their situation to a new level”.


“What we get then is a family in turmoil, a psychiatrist who refuses to see anything but what he is trained to see, and a priest who fears evil can be more powerful than good”, summarises George.


The project began on the very first day of 2016 with George saying that, “I wrote the script in January and had just over 16 days to shoot the film in Spring. And I hope to release the film in Summer 2017”.


As Tim refuses to eat, his health diminishing badly, and a spate of biazarre and horrific events happening in the house, all the protagonists end up in a race against time to banish whatever it is that has "gripped" Tim before the situation eventually destroys them all. "The theme for this story is demonic possession but the film is also a thriller and a drama. Inspirations for this film are definitely The Exorcist", Says George.


The film stars many great actors, most of whom are Midlands-based, including Greg Hobbs, Diane Ellis, Jade Callender, Nick Sheard, Ian Brooker and of course George McCluskey himself.


To find out more about the film, including its upcoming release date get following on their social media sites below:


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5626520/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1


https://www.facebook.com/ImpiousMovie/



By midlandsmovies, Jun 12 2016 02:30PM

Midlands Movies Spotlight - Cult Screens


Midlands Movies Mike finds out about a new open air cinema experience hitting the region this Summer. They will screen a host of retro classics and modern blockbusters for film fans from June to September in the West Midlands and please read below for more about these exciting events.


Cult Screens is a new pop-up cinema organisation and claim to be have one of the country’s most luxurious and comfortable open air cinema experiences in the UK with a range of unusual locations and unique film experiences for audiences.


They plan to screen movies from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s through to the best new releases and cinema of recent years in fully seated locations in the UK. For the Midlands, Cult Screens have secured the use of the ruins of the Cathedral in Coventry which not only provides a special one-off setting but the HD projection and giant screen will ensure the best technical set up for crowds.


Cult Screens' events have everything film fans will need including fully seated locations with a wide choice of comfy options including deckchairs, directors chairs, cushions or even bean bags to cuddle up on!


However, Cult Screens is not just about the film, there are also food and drink options available each night from pitcher cocktails and craft beers to fresh popcorn and street food stalls at each venue.


For the Coventry event head to Priory St in the city centre (CV1 5FB) but be aware it’s strongly recommend tickets are purchased in advance as most of their events sell out early. Any remaining tickets will be available on the door if still available on the night itself.


A range of ticket prices and concessions apply at all venues (from £9.50 to £16.50 depending on options) and audiences should note that each screening is fully licensed so no outside food or drink is permitted.


The list of films at Coventry Cathedral Ruins are below along with a link to the official Cult Screens page for Coventry to purchase tickets and check further FAQs:


Labyrinth 21 July 2016

Jaws 22 July 2016

The Goonies 18 August 2016

The Revenant 19 August 2016

Grease 20 August 2016

Back to the Future 15 September 2016

The Force Awakens 16 September 2016

ROMEO + JULIET 17 September 2016


Contact by email: info@cultscreens.co.uk

What’s On & Tickets: http://cultscreens.co.uk/whats-on-coventry/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cultscreens


By midlandsmovies, Feb 15 2015 09:33PM

The team behind new Leicester-set film Beverley have arranged a full-on weekend of screenings of the film along with a wonderful 'Behind The Scenes’ insight into the making of the movie.


The film will be shown in Nottingham Friday 6th March, Leicester Saturday 7th March and Coventry Sunday 8th March, with each event being very different with the White Lion Bar Beeston being a free private screening for all arranged by Nottingham Alternative Film Network. Stars Vicky and Jonny Owen will be there too.


In Leicester, the film will be shown at Phoenix Square, which will be a red carpet premiere and should serve as a great reunion with everyone - cast, crew and all the help the production had last Easter during filming. Then for the Sunday, the team are lucky to have Neville and Christine Staple who have helped arrange with the crew an event at the amazing 2-Tone Village in Coventry. This day-long event will involve music and DJs and the team hope that people who enjoy the ska scene to turnout for a screening of Beverley for this daytime event.


The 3 events are all in the Midlands with strong links to those involved in the making of Beverley and tickets are limited so but producer Cass Pennant is looking to share his pride in what they have all made.


Beverley is a Midlands-centric short with great performances staring Laya Lewis, Vicky McClure, Kieran Hardcastle and Winston Ellis. The local talent that were cast came from the Television Workshop and Young Urban Actors with local film extras also chosen after an appeal made in the Leicester Mercury Newspaper.

NOTTINGHAM

Nottingham Alternative Film Network screening Beverley at The White Lion Bar & Kitchen cinema evening of Friday 6th March in Beeston at 7.30pm.

Address: 24 Middle Street, Beeston, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG9 1FX


LEICESTER RED CARPET PREMIERE

Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre

Cinema Art house cinema showing indie, family-friendly and retro films, plus exhibitions, food and drink.

BEVERLEY plus Behind The Scenes – Screen 2 at 5pm, Cast arrive 4pm

Address: 4 Midland Street, Leicester LE1 1TG


COVENTRY

Come to the 2-Tone themed café, Caribbean restaurant, clothes and memorabilia shop and visit Coventry's wall of fame. Forth-coming events include exclusive screening of Beverley with a ska music party with Neville and Christine Staple on Sunday 8th March at 4pm - 9pm.

Address: Unit 7, The 2-Tone Village Courtyard, rear of 74-80 Walsgrave Road, Coventry CV2 4ED

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