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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:


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



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:



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 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


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


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

By midlandsmovies, Nov 24 2014 07:14PM

Black Hill

Directed by Jim Peakman

BlueRidge Films

“The sun sets to rise again”.

Midlands Movies Mike takes a look at this Western from the West Midlands...

From the opening twang of western guitar notes to the wide screen vistas, Jim Peakman’s 22 minute short film Black Hill follows the classic prairie formula of a hero rediscovering himself in the wild outback but given the film’s Midlands roots, it’s an altogether more impressive feat with great new ideas thrown in.

The film begins in the US when a worn and injured Southern soldier climbs tirelessly around an arid landscape before being found and rescued by a lady who brings the injured man to her nomadic home on the hillside.

Her attempts to nurse him are thrown back in her face for one main reason. This lady is black and after a barrage of foul language we realise this lady is also mute but finds solace in her Bible reading. This holds no sway with the soldier who torments her with “Ain’t no God gonna love you”. She however returns with a gun and with tension building, cocks the pistol only to reveal she has removed the bullets.

With great cinematography showing the shadowy cave-like home, the film uses thunderous sound effects of stormy rains outside juxtaposed with the soldier’s cough which throughout the night is his only company.

Awakening the next day to a burning stove he shares his name of Red (Patterson) and fills us in on his back-story as a Confederate soldier. He shares his fears but she explains how she has learnt to love her enemies whilst a well edited montage shows Red being comforted and helped back to health as she continuous with her religious reading.

The director uses an epic and sweeping score before we see a rebirth of the soldier’s smile and offers to name the mute slave Rose (after his mother) but a group of deserters arrive and Red promises to protect the runaway slave.

The short is a great homage to the classic Western myth and the film’s balance of themes such as rebirth (the tying of shoes and the soldier re-learning to walk) and death – are handled well with a noosed rope giving rise to the film’s own version of legendary tense stand-offs where pistols are at the ready. With gunshots ringing out, the ease with which the film gets over its issues based around fear and compassion was a joy to behold as well as continuing to challenge expectations by playing with the archaic tropes of white heroes and minority villains.

Filmed with the mute slave in a position of unique power instead of persecution – even “winding” the child-like soldier at one point – Black Hill shows what local filmmakers can create when they have a strong vision, great location and a new take on an established genre. From the blood red clothing to the dusty buildings, the film is an alternative look at Westerns with a few scenes paying homage to classic showdowns all finishing with a well executed frontier finale. 8/10 Midlands Movies Mike

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