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By midlandsmovies, Apr 8 2019 08:35AM



Midlands Spotlight - A Sort of Burial


A Sort of Burial is a new comedy, currently in pre-production, from Coventry based production company, Korky Films which was written by and will be directed by Midlands filmmaker Lee Charlish.


The film follows Alistair who is late for a funeral which annoys many including Carla who is there to say goodbye to her loyal family friend who is has now passed away. With the Vicar starting the service and Harry 'the fencer' having a job to do, the film is a funny look at a final send off.


Written by Midlands Movies Awards winner Lee Charlish, he again assumes directing and editing duties on this new film and he feels it’s a departure from his recent, more darker offerings.


Carla, the movie’s lead, will be played by Korky Films stalwart Marian ‘Mazzy’ Elizabeth who Lee describes as "solid, dependable and talented and she was the natural choice to assume the grief stricken and highly-agitated Carla".


Alistair, her hapless close friend will be played by Leicester-based actor, Martyn Luke. Lee adds, "Martyn is a well-established voice-actor who has provided voices on a few Korky Films animations previously. However, he is true talent in front of the screen too and is soon to appear in a few other local short films. His comic timing and expressive personality will bring the right level of credence to the often ‘put upon’ Alistair".


In addition, Leamington-based filmmaker Mark Hancock, who recently played The Psychopath in the last Korky Films ‘live-action’ release The Cold Caller, will assume a decidedly different role as Harry the Fencer.


And completing the cast is Stoke-based acting talent, Harrington Day as The Vicar, Gregory. "An accomplished, local actor, Harry is in constant demand by filmmakers for his professionalism and acting brilliance. He will compliment proceedings with a stoic and reverential turn in front of the cameras", says Lee.


As with The Cold Caller, the crew list for A Sort of Burial isdeliberately small as again, the production will be total self-funded. Like a lot of local filmmakers, Lee will use his house and garden, and minimal exterior locations as well, to keep costs deliberately down.


But Lee doesn't want to stop there. "More, larger scale scripts have been written, however, for the short-term, I have concentrated on preparing a slate of smaller-scale films, deliberately written so they can be filmed economically on a shoestring budget".


He adds, "To be clear, everyone gets paid; we fully support the needs of creatives, but we just cannot compete with projects who secure funding. For us, it just isn’t there, despite our output and successes. That said, our small-scale movies are no less ambitious and the level of professionalism we squeeze out of productions is a testament to the team’s talent".


Behind the camera is Damien Trent, another Coventry-based filmmaker (from Doktored Films) and Damien has previously worked as a sound recordist on the Korky Films/Jam-AV production, Scarecrow and operated camera on The Cold Caller. And finally, Ryan Clarke, a new member of the team will provide assistance to Lee as First AD.


Lee is currently looking for local musicians who may be able to assist in crafting a score and/or creating an original song to complement proceedings.


"The movie also requires a sound recordist and we're actively trying to recruit a competent professional before shooting begins on May 5th in Coventry, West Midlands".


For more information follow Korky Films on Twitter and Facebook




By midlandsmovies, Mar 6 2019 09:40AM

Scarecrow (2018)


Directed by Lee Charlish


Korky Films and Jam-AV Productions


Coventry filmmaker Lee Charlish of Korky films takes a leap from his dark animation films into a terrifying drama of a lost couple on the road in new chiller Scarecrow.


A nagging couple (Adrian Annis as Thomas and Georgina Mellor as Natalie) find themselves stranded after running out of petrol in a country lane.


As they argue over where they are and what to do, they blame each other as to the reason why the car has broken down but soon decide to go and search for help. However, in the wooded backroads, they have little luck in finding any assistance.


They soon stumble upon a clearing where an ominous looking Scarecrow is placed with a sign warning them – DO NOT TOUCH. As Natalie is entranced by its seemingly strange power, the film starts to dip a toe into more supernatural fare.


The bickering between the couple is one of the short’s highlights. The two leads trade barbs in well-written dialogue as well as unspoken looks and menacing stares between each other.


The quirky tweed suit and horn-rimmed glasses of Thomas, as well as Natlaie’s tree-green dress add class to the film’s costume design and it’s little touches like these that truly add flavour to local shorts looking to stand out.


A few touches of humour give it the dark comedy vibe of The League of Gentlemen and the hot sunny day contrasts nicely with the eerie horror score – again, making it rise above more traditional takes and clichés.


Director Charlish has taken a few horror tropes but wisely twists them to provide something new and the excellent production design, score and certainly the two leads help this film rise above the familiar genre beats.


Creepy and inventive and with plenty of 50’s infused jazz style, Scarecrow is as good as they come in the local film arena and with excellent work from all involved, it is a fashionably cool and suave horror that stands out in the crowd. Or should that be field. A stupendous short.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Jan 22 2019 07:04PM



Midlands Spotlight - The Cold Caller


Released in January 2019 just in time for festival consideration,The Cold Caller is a new horror from Coventry-based production company Korky Films.


The Cold Caller is a dark horror-drama which sees a woman awaken after being drugged only to find herself tied up in a dingy, decrepit room with a psychopath for company. Whilst trying to locate her belongings, she attempts to reach the outside world, but instead it reaches out to her.


The movie was written by Lee Charlish of Korky Films who also assumes directing and editing duties. Lee explains that It unashamedly pays homage to well-trodden horror tropes of the 70s and 80s.


“I hoped to create a sense of immediate unease and familiarity, but with a modern-day twist”.


“The Victim” is played by Marian Elizabeth or ‘Mazzy’ as Lee says she was affectionately known on set, and her diminutive stature helped create her character. With a distinct level unease and helplessness, the audience will be encouraged to sympathise with her plight as she tries to formulate an escape from a crazed madman who is seemingly responsible for the murders of many local women.


“The Psychopath” is played by local actor and filmmaker Mark Hancock and complete with a shocking hessian mask and oily, bloodied attire, Lee describes the movie’s villain as “suitably menacing”.


Completing the cast is Stuart Walker as The Cold Caller himself. “His voice work is amazing and really captures the mood required for the sensational denouement”, adds Lee.


As space was limited, the crew list was deliberately small as Lee used his own garage as The Psychopath’s Lair. Months of production design occurred to ensure the set looked suitably grim, during which time all manner of creepy items were curated and strategically placed.


Assuming camera duties, along with Lee, was Damien Trent, another Coventry based filmmaker (from Doktored Films) who had previously worked as a sound recordist on the Korky Films/Jam-AV production, Scarecrow.


The atmospheric musical score was provided by Chris Pemberton, a session musician who is currently on tour with renowned musician John Grant.


Make-up was designed and applied by Jessica Peck, a Warwickshire based make-up artist and actor, who has appeared in local productions and is beginning a career in make-up and design. She is currently studying a Production Arts course.


The Cold Caller is the first film from a slate of smaller-scale productions scheduled for 2019 and beyond, although larger scale projects are still concurrently being produced.


Lee concludes, “All the movies I’m working on, regardless of budget, crew size or scale have big ambitions and the same level of professionalism and style”.


To follow the production and to find out more check out Korky Films’ social media:


Twitter https://twitter.com/KorkyFilms


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



By midlandsmovies, Dec 28 2018 02:07PM



‘Lighten Up’ - Classic comedies screening in cathedrals


QUAD (Derby)’s programme of ‘BFI Comedy Genius’ film screenings tours UK cathedrals

QUAD in Derby has a programme of film screenings called ‘Lighten Up’ taking place in cathedrals across the country in January 2019. ‘Lighten Up’ has been programmed as a part of ‘BFI Comedy Genius’, a nationwide season celebrating the best in film and TV comedy, supported by funds from the National Lottery, led by Film Hub Midlands on behalf of the BFI UK Film Audience Network.


‘Lighten Up’ screenings will take place from November 2018 until January 2019, in cathedrals across the country, including at Southwark Cathedral, Portsmouth Cathedral and Coventry Cathedral. Further screenings at additional cathedrals are to be confirmed. The events will feature an extra special twist with live organ accompaniment or projection mapping on the buildings.


In January three films come to Coventry Cathedral Duck Soup, Sister Act and Monty Python's Life Of Brian. In Duck Soup, the small state of Freedonia is in a financial mess, borrowing a huge sum of cash from wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont). She insists on replacing the current president with crazy Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) and mayhem erupts. To make matters worse, the neighbouring state sends inept spies Chicolini (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx) to obtain top secret information, creating even more chaos! Duck Soup (U) screens at Coventry Cathedral on Friday 11th January, doors are open from 6:30pm, film starts 7:15pm. Tickets are £9 or £7 Concessions.


In Sister Act Whoopi Goldberg exchanges the sequins for a habit and the nightclub for the convent when lounge singer Deloris Van Carter witnesses her mobster boyfriend kill-ing someone. The police place her in a witness protection programme in the last place anyone would expect: a convent. Struggling with the change in lifestyle, Deloris is finally ordered to join the choir and turn the timid nuns into a choir of singin’ swingin’ sisters! Sister Act (PG) screens at Coventry Cathedral on Saturday 12th January, doors are open from 4:45pm, film starts 5:15pm. Tickets are £12 or £10 Concessions.


The Life Of Brian is Monty Python's satire which is as funny today as it was in 1979. Brian is a Jew born in a stable in Bethlehem who spends most of his life being mistaken for the Messiah. But as we all know "He's Not The Messiah, He's A Very Naughty Boy!". Arguably the best Python movie, the laughs come thick and fast with countless quotable one liners, routines and memorable characters. Fully endorsed by the People's Front Of Judea. Monty Python's Life Of Brian (15) screens at Coventry Cathedral on Saturday 12th January, doors are open from 7:15pm, film starts 7:45pm. Tickets are £12 or £10 Concessions.


For more information or to book tickets call QUAD on 01332 290606 or see: https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/whats-on/cinema/lighten-up



Full details of Comedy Genius screenings and events happening all over the country can be found at www.bficomedy.co.uk


By midlandsmovies, Sep 15 2018 04:28PM



Midlands Review - The Night They Crashed Here


Directed by Jack Veasey


“It was just another normal day” proclaims a voice at the start of new sci-fi drama The Night They Crashed Here, but this new short from Jack Veasey moves very quickly away from any sense of “normal” to much more sinister themes.


Filmed in early 2018 around Coventry and from the director of Tony, George Wills stars as Paul Jones who introduces himself via a Bogart-like voiceover. However his interviews are the product of his press reporter credentials rather than those of a private detective. The film is entirely shot in black and white and along with the voiceover, the noir influences can be seen from the start including the brick wall motifs and the low-key lighting.


As Jones exits his vehicle after a particularly strong storm, he stands against a cloudy sky and as great tension building noise reaches a crescendo he witnesses strange lightning which bolts to the earth. This eerie phenomenon is excellently realised and the filmmaker’s insistence on holding on the shot an agonisingly long time was just perfect to keep the viewer on edge.


The inventive and creative special effects compliment the very well-lit locations and the film echoes Sin City at times - but here the director has achieved his look without green screen. And the stark contrasting lighting lets the shadows do a lot of the work to create a sense of mystery and intrigue. As Jones arrives at the landing site, he spies a mysterious pod in the rubble and removes a strange device which appears to infect him when the deceased alien arm originally holding it shocks it back into life.


About half way through the music changes to a slightly odd glockenspiel style ditty which although evoked the Raymond Chandler-based flicks of the 40s seemed at odds with the sci-fi direction of the plot. Although no doubt intentional this clash between the old and new became a bit of a concern throughout.


The voice from Jones is sadly a little monotone too and could have used a bit more energy or verve in the delivery of the dialogue. The importance of one line is no different to any other which was unfortunately a little bland. Very soon after, a couple of fellow reporters arrive (Andre Pierre as Smith and Becki Lloyd as Williams) and they discuss the dead body. With the possibility of a high-paying scoop about an extra-terrestrial, they plan to claim the discovery as their own. Which will be to the detriment of Jones who they need out the way.


When Jones is approached from behind by Smith, he lashes out in surprise and we start to get hints that he may be succumbing to an alien infection as his ears bleed and his emotions drain. The tale twists again as another morally ambiguous deal is suggested between Smith and Jones to get rid of Williams. And whilst Smith plays a con on both sides to cover his intentions, Jones is hiding a lot more from them both.


The music changes once more at the film’s end – echoing a melodramatic silent film score of sorts – and the short again hints to its retro influences. Like a good noir, there are double crosses and dark realisations that materialise towards it conclusion. And on a technical level, the film uses noir traits like unbalanced compositions, dramatic shadows and skewed shots as well as, literally, an ‘alienated’ protagonist.


In conclusion, looking back with its music and style but forward with its fantastic effects and sci-fi approach, The Night They Crashed Here is an interesting experiment to mix two unlikely genres. And whilst not always delivering the cohesion needed to blend old and new influences, has enough going for it to make it an inventive hardboiled slice of noir and science fiction.


Mike Sales


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

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