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By midlandsmovies, Jun 28 2019 08:57AM



A showcase of high quality at the High Peak Film Festival 2019


For two years, Nicole Pott has run the High Peak Independent Film Festival. On the third year, this year, I was invited to experience it myself.


As far as first impressions go, I revelled in Nicole’s passion and unstoppable energy from minute one. You could clearly see she loved being in the heart of it all and I was quickly swept into what this film festival was about.


A four-day event covering all genres of film to movie quizzes, special guests, a 10 hour movie challenge, 50’s style black tie event, a Grease sing-along, countless networking opportunities – all of it centred around the most incredible art theatre I’ve ever laid my eyes upon.


New Mills Art Theatre has a rich history of hosting many stage performances throughout the years. Now, acting as a cinema for the High Peak Independent Film Festival, it was hard not to take your eyes off of the monumental décor. Intricately designed with royal gold and deep reds from the walls to the ceiling, the theatre recently had a renovation and wowed literally anyone who walked through the doors.


New Mills as a location is the epitome of quaint English town. I was delighted to arrive at such a modest place and experience the walks in and out of the winding streets, to discover the intriguing history of the place and its variation of mills throughout. It is steeped with local information and impressive landmarks with the river Goyt and Sett merging here. It’s very easy to love New Mills and the fact that an international film festival is held here annually adds to the unique experience.




I met Marcelo Briceno from Mexico; a filmmaker whose documentary was to be shown over the upcoming days. He casually stated that he was in Europe for Cannes where his documentary, Nostalgia, was also showing. Marcelo mentioned that he actually preferred this quiet town on the edge of the Peak District to Cannes. That made me realise why I loved being in the company of so many humble filmmakers – it was the undeniable sense of community.


As New Mills is Nicole’s hometown, she found pride and a new attendance record of creatives at the local pub after the success of the opening gala. It was great to have a few one to one chats with everyone, especially Lis Haywood, a filmmaker and actress who had flown from LA to attend her screening. Her film featured in the category of Women in Film, where I was happy to discover it was a strong topic of conversation in last year’s HPIFF too. I could only cover two days and wished to see Lis’s film! She’s awesome though and granted me a way to watch First Kill.




The audience got a lovely insight to the creative minds of the filmmakers as we got to ask them a few questions after the preview. It was a pleasant and polite practice and added a touch of warm approachability. Most were more than happy to divulge more information on how their films came to fruition, and the stories behind these movies were just as fascinating as their final piece.


I swear next year, I’m going for the whole event because two days is absolutely not enough time. The other categories shown across the event were Best of the North; films shot and based around cities such as York, Sheffield and Manchester. Further afield were films of Britain and Beyond, entries from the USA, Spain, Mexico, Iran and Switzerland featured here. There were Young Filmmaker Shorts and even a three-minute pop up theatre!


Looking at the brochure before the event began, I was like a kid in a candy shop, and I suggest any movie lover to check into this amazing saga of a film festival.


The sheer level of talent beaming from that screen was absolutely unbelievable. With every film I saw and enjoyed with the rest of the audience, there was true acknowledgement after each film finished. We might have had bloody hands from clapping too much, but it didn’t matter, we were all too captivated by the screenings. I laughed at Dave Goes West, cried at Winter Hill and my jaw dropped at Deadman’s Reach.


For the High Peak Independent Film Festival to flourish, a vast amount of volunteers stepped forward and brought it to life. The New Mills Art Theatre is run entirely by volunteers and those who are most passionate about its legacy. Many aspiring and established filmmakers, writers and producers were willing to help out where they could as well.




I saw community spirit everywhere and this is why the High Peak Independent Film Festival was a complete win for me. Kenneth James, the event’s official photographer may or may not have bribed me with chocolate cake to say some nice words. And yet, this was the very essence of the charm I was enchanted with. Nothing was cold or sterile about New Mills; I was welcomed with a warm heart, the same as many filmmakers and film lovers who had been personality invited to see their films on screen.


In the two days I was able to attend, the event was packed with all sorts of fascinating activities that could amaze, challenge and entertain anyone. So with that regard, I have already made my friends and colleagues attend 2020’s High Peak Independent Film Festival, they just don’t know it yet.


The festival was originally a three-day event, but the film entries were far too good, so an extra day was added - talk about proof in the pudding! Next year’s dates are already up so get this in your diary, 6th August – 9th August 2020 and I’ll be seeing you there!


Sam Franciso

Twitter @IsoElegant



http://www.highpeakindie.com










By midlandsmovies, Mar 13 2019 12:06PM



QUAD’s Summer Nights Outdoor Film Festival returns in 2019


Summer Nights Outdoor Film Festival has announced venues, dates and films for its 2019 festival which runs from 4th July to 22nd September. Back for a ninth year the festival has expanded to twenty locations across the country.


Presented by QUAD on an inflatable screen, Summer Nights is the chance to enjoy a unique open-air cinematic experience at stunning heritage venues. Brand new venues for 2019 include Bolsover Castle and Kenilworth Castle, Coughton Court, Witley Court, Ormesby Hall and Battle Abbey.


Screenings include recent blockbusters including The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and the Oscar winning Bohemian Rhapsody alongside the return of the ever-popular Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Grease and Pretty Woman. There are also one-off titles such as Terminator 2: Judgement Day Monty Python And The Holy Grail and Purple Rain, plus further screenings to be announced.


The start times of the films vary, the screenings will start just after sunset. Many screenings have English subtitles for the Deaf and hard of hearing. Tickets for the films are £15.50 for adults or £10.50 for those aged under 12, tickets for children aged under five years are free. Tickets for group bookings of eight or more people are £12.50 for adults or £8.50 for those aged under 12.


The venues dates and films that have been announced are as follows:


Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire

Friday 5th July Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Saturday 6th July Ghost (12A)


Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire

Friday 26th July Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Saturday 27th July The Greatest Showman (PG)


Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

Friday 26th July Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Thursday 1st August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Thursday 1st August Grease (PG)

Friday 2nd August The Lost Boys (15)

Saturday 3rd August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Belton House, Lincolnshire

Saturday 10th August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Coughton Court, Warwickshire

Friday 9th August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Saturday 10th August Dirty Dancing (12A)


Mickleover Sports, Derbyshire

Tuesday 13th August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A) Subtitled

Wednesday 14th August A Star Is Born (15)


Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

Friday 16th August Pretty Woman (15)

Saturday 17th August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Sunday 18th August The Rocky Horror Picture Show (15) Subtitled


Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire

Thursday 22nd August A Star Is Born (15) Subtitled

Friday 23rd August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Saturday 24th August Labyrinth (U)

Sunday 25th August Purple Rain (15)

Monday 26th August Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (PG)


Attingham Park, Shropshire

Saturday 7th September Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Witley Court, Worcestershire

Thursday 19th September Dirty Dancing (12A)

Friday 20th September Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


The Greatest Showman is the best-selling musical based on the true tale of the life of showman P.T. Barnum. Starring Hugh Jackman as the legendary figure alongside an all-star cast including Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in the latest version of A Star Is Born, the story of a musician helping a young singer find fame, but age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.


Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is packed full of more ABBA inspired song and dance numbers! When Sophie discovers she is pregnant, she delves into a quest of discovery into her mother Donna’s colourful past. Cher joins the cast as Grandmother. Rami Malek is Freddie Mercury in the foot stomping biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, following the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant 1985 Live Aid reunion.


“Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” in Dirty Dancing drama, music and romance are the order of the day for Frances “Baby” Houseman as she spends summer in a holiday camp and falls in love with dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). In Ghost Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) are madly in love, but when Sam is murdered he is left to roam the earth as a powerless spirit. Sam seeks the help of psychic Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) to set things right and protect Molly.


Grease is the ultimate High School Musical, set amid the 1950’s teenage social and peer prejudices of the tumultuous final year of high school. The story about love found on a summer beach, then lost and found again. Pretty Woman, the breakout hit for Julia Roberts, who plays a beautiful call girl who is hired by Richard Gere’s businessman for a social event. But then they begin to fall in love…


For more information or to buy tickets see www.summernightsfilm.co.uk




By midlandsmovies, Mar 11 2019 06:55PM



Midlands Review - Shining Tor


Directed by Andrew David Barker


When you Google Shining Tor, there are numerous things that pop up. Shining Tor is a hill in the Peak District; it’s also the name of Andrew David Barker’s short film. With its synopsis stated simply as “two hikers discover a doorway to another world”; even I was intrigued and tempted in by these 8 little words.


Set in the Peak District, with the elements of vast land, open air and rolling hills to set the scene, it was a perfectly remote location for two parallel storylines to mix.


A couple are hiking, with Amber, played by Laura Rollins, trying to take in the fresh countryside air and Dylan, played by Ashley Rice, the compliant but fed up boyfriend. You can tell there’s tension and both aren’t really enjoying the brisk hill climbing for different reasons. Dylan didn’t realise how much he had to walk and got himself a blister. Amber accuses Dylan of not listening and wants a change from the rut in her life – all relatable might I add.


The chemistry between the actors is natural from the very start and therefore their characters are highly believable. Laura Rollins and Ashley Rice both act on the daytime TV drama Doctors, where director Andrew David Barker is a researcher for the show. Knowing the cast very well had certainly paid off and the talent on and off screen is apparent in every aspect of Shining Tor.


As the story continues, Amber walks off after a heated discussion with Dylan and comes across something out of place. Their curiosity gets them digging a little deeper to unveil a window into another dimension. A third interesting character is revealed to be a bloodied up Barbarian.


This scene is what won Mick Walker, the creative director of Shining Tor the Midlands Movie Award for best visual effects. Without giving away too much, what were used to create the window were card, a blue cloth, a green cloth and a light stand. My one and only suggestion would have been to add bruises and scrapes to the Barbarian to add that extra ingredient of realism that blended so well within each reality. He was a little too clean for a murderous wild man.


Mick and Andrew have known each other for years and they were the only crew on set when they made Two Old Boys. It is a delightful film about two gentlemen talking of the days gone by. Shot in a single day at a pub in Derbyshire, these lads require minuscule components to produce that spark they’re so good at showing through their work.


Mick Walker owns a production company; Boxset Media based in Nottingham. Specialising in corporate films, their reputation and expertise in filmmaking is phenomenal.


In Andrew David Barker’s other short films, he uses few actors but boosts the story to its full potential; this is a huge strength of Andrew’s and common throughout his work. It’s the simplicity that I love, there is no overreaching the mark on the special effects of Shining Tor, they knew what worked and completely played with it. I’m a sucker for these types of effects - using very little to create the absolute maximum.


So far, the story has drama, action and fantasy. It’s no surprise really that Shining Tor had won the Best Fantasy Short at the Independent Short Awards in LA last year too. Andrew said he had the urge to shoot bigger with a fantasy element in his next story, especially after making Two Old Boys with Mick got him back in the filmmaking game, and so became Shining Tor.


I hope that it continues to get as much recognition as it deserves and maintains a huge following, and that Andrew keeps surprising us with his incredible stories.


Sammy S

Twitter @IsoElegant



By midlandsmovies, Dec 11 2018 09:21PM



Midlands Review – Starman


Directed by Stuart Connock Wheeldon


2018


MontsegurFilms / NineLadiesFilm


Starman is the new short from Midlands production company NineLadiesFilm and was directed by Stuart Wheeldon. Wheeldon also co-wrote the film with Nick John Whittle and the team have come up with a mysterious story about a homeless man in the woods whose origins may not quite be what those around him expect.


Shot on location in Wirksworth in Derbyshire the filmmakers open the story well with fantastically filmed aerial drone shots giving us a great sense of this remote location. The slow hovering camera reflects a UFO of sorts which is mighty handy when the story unfolds later.


We dissolve to a mysterious man (Nigel Barber as Mark) who seems at peace in his own world and is currently confined to a solitary tent in the woods. Looking up to the sky we soon cut to him attempting to “make contact” with unknown people through an old radio.


Living off the land we get the feeling this individual is at one with their surroundings but his idyllic camp is at odds with local couple Peter and Lisa. Whilst Peter (Elliott Rennie) believes he could be a dangerous ex-con, his partner Lisa (Mia Mills) is more sympathetic to his plight.


Nigel Barber is great as the lonesome man, Mark, portraying him with a blankness that hints upon an “alienated” individual. Mia Mills’ subtle kindness is also used to good effect with her caring personality and friendly demeanour acting as our guide.


However, these good performances are unfortunately undermined with some less-than-adequate sound mixing. Whilst the slightly strange music and staccato strings echo the weirdness of Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho score – it is placed in such random places that there is often no link between the sound, the score and what’s being shown going on screen.


And although maybe it is an intentional choice to give the project an ‘other-worldly’ vibe, it simply feels like the film hasn’t quite finished its work in the sound department – certainly with regards to syncing it all up. Alongside this, several scenes at night muffle the words of our protagonists when a ‘chirping crickets’ background hum overpowers the dialogue almost to the point of being unlistenable.


Later on Lisa asks “where was home before?” and the film does an admirable job of never explicitly playing its hand as to the man’s origin. I also enjoyed the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it nod to the filmmaker’s previous flick “In Limbo”. The film also earns points for its unique location. Other than the woods and the couple’s home, the film is mostly located a Wirksworth’s StarDisc – a suitably celestial stone sculpture showing constellations.


In the end though, despite positive performances from the cast, they are infuriatingly let down by the short’s sloppy technical issues and frustrating sound design. So whilst the location gives hints to a wonderful map of the stars, Starman is a slightly confused piece overall that could do with another run through in the studio.


Mike Sales


By midlandsmovies, Sep 24 2018 06:08PM



Derby QUAD celebrates 10-Year Anniversary


On Wednesday 26th September 2018, Derby QUAD will be turning 10 years old and we take a look back over the past decade of some of its highlights and why it plays a pivotal role in the region’s film community.


QUAD is a long-established creative hub that connects people and businesses to art and film and creates opportunities for entertainment, education and participation.


Originally Metro Cinema was Derby's only independent cinema with screenings at the Playhouse theatre until the cinema opened on Green Lane in January 1981, at the original site of the Derby Central School of Art.


Metro then moved at the end of 2006 to a temporary home in The Heap Lecture Theatre at the University of Derby on Kedleston Road before the projection equipment was then removed and prepared for installation in QUAD.


And QUAD has been booming ever since. As a registered independent charity, it also receives funding from a variety of sources including Derby City Council and Arts Council England to help create and support exhibitions and outreach work. And also provides creative opportunities for thousands of people every year.



A notable highlight at QUAD of course is the annual Derby Film Festival which we have covered a number of times since its inception. With amazing guests & fantastic film previews, the Derby Film Festival (DFF) has been running in QUAD since 2010. The festival’s prestigious patrons are actor David Morrissey and Anwen Hurt and it has seen many famous film faces arrive as guests over the years.


These include actor Simon Callow, actress Julie Peasgood, Sir Ben Kingsley, actor Jenny Agutter, directors Peter Sasdy and Jake West, director Mark Herman and historical consultant Dr. Jacqueline Riding, Puppeteer Marcus Clarke, directors John Hough, Waris Hussein and Michael Armstrong, actor Sir John Hurt, Monty Python’s Terry Jones, Brian Blessed and Paddy Considine.

https://derbyfilmfestival.co.uk/festival-history


In addition to that is QUAD’s Fright Club where a mix of brand new terrors from home and abroad are enjoyed alongside the pick of the archive classics. Every month, Cult Film Historian Darrell Buxton introduces some of the best horror films around for Midlands horror afficianados. Read more by clicking here.



There’s also 5 Lamps Film screenings which run every two months and showcase aspiring local filmmakers. As well as those regular events they also host their annual 24 hour film-making challenge at the end of the Derby Film Festival. It sees participants of any experience produce a short film of three minutes over the course of 24 hours before they are screened to the public with awards given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Click here for more




There’s also the Summer Nights outdoor film calendar to thank QUAD for as well. Starting in Derby but now spreading to stately homes and grand venues throughout the UK, they have given the chance for audiences to enjoy the great outdoors for a unique cinematic experience. Read our thoughts on The Forces Awakens screening in the Midlands here.




And to celebrate the last 10 years, QUAD also has two exciting events coming up before the end of 2018.


First up is a free outdoor screening of ‘The Greatest Showman’ at Derby Market Place starting at 8:15pm on 26th September 2018 and will include subtitles for those who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. Attenders are advised to bring their own camping-style chairs to sit on!


If the outside isn’t your cup of tea, then QUAD’s “The Best of 10” ten-film season includes ten titles chosen from each year that the venue has been open and takes place between August and December 2018. Alongside the ten films, QUAD asked the public to vote for their favourite film shown at the venue, which will be shown as the final, eleventh choice.


But we haven’t even mentioned the film clubs, education and quiz nights so please go to https://www.derbyquad.co.uk to get involved in many more creative events.


So Happy Birthday QUAD! With a comprehensive cinematic schedule running throughout the year with events catering for all tastes, ages and backgrounds, we wish all the staff, crew, films and filmmakers all the best for another decade of fantastic film feasts.


Mike Sales



By midlandsmovies, May 27 2018 09:44AM



Midlands Spotlight - Summer Nights Film 2018


Summer Nights festival as it is now in its eighth year and returns to its Midlands origins (as well as many more new venues throughout the country) with another spectacular line-up of outdoor cinema events in luxurious and fun locations in the region.

Highlights include a screening of IT (2017) at Calke Abbey on August 4th and Wollaton Hall on August 24th as well as Wayne’s World at Wollaton Hall on August 23rd. Party on!

Tickets can be purchased at the early bird price of £12.50 until the 1st June when they will increase to £15.50.


For the full line-up please see dates, films and venues below:


East Midlands


Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire – Fri 20th DUNKIRK & Sat 21st July MOULIN ROUGE


Bradgate Park, Leicester – new venue! Fri 20th THE GREATEST SHOWMAN & Sat 21st July DIRTY DANCING


Calke Abbey, Derbyshire – Thu 2nd PRETTY WOMAN & Fri 3rd THE GREATEST SHOWMAN & Sat 4th IT Sun 5th August THE GREATEST SHOWMAN


Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire – Fri 17th THE GREATEST SHOWMAN & Sat 18th August DIRTY DANCING


Wollaton Hall, Nottingham – Thu 23rd WAYNES WORLD Fri 24th IT Sat 25th THE GREATEST SHOWMAN Sun 26th THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - Mon 27th August BEAUTY & THE BEAST


Belton House, Lincolnshire – Fri 7th THE GREATEST SHOWMAN & Sat 8th September GHOSTBUSTERS



West Midlands:


Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire – Thu 26th BEAUTY & THE BEAST Fri 27th TOP GUN & Sat 28th July FOOTLOOSE


Attingham Park, Shropshire – Fri 31st August DIRTY DANCING & Sat 1st September DUNKIRK


There are further dates and venues throughout England includng Surrey, Yorkshire and Cheshire


More information about these screenings and the festival can be found online here: www.summernightsfilm.co.uk





By midlandsmovies, May 25 2018 08:03AM



Derby Film Festival 2018


Midlands Movies writer Guy Russell takes a look at one of the premiere film festivals in the region as he checks out the best of the fest!


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Now in its 5th year, Derby Film Festival is showing no signs of slowing down. Last week I had the pleasure of attending the festival again hosted by QUAD, this year it kicked off on the 4th May followed by ten days of screenings, talks, short films and competitions.


Similar to last year’s sub-festival Fantastiq, the first four days of the festival were dedicated to Paracinema, a celebration of films and genres outside the mainstream including new releases and cult classics. Here are a few of new and cult classics screened during the festival:


Attack of the Adult Babies



Amongst the various films shown during the Paracinema arm of the festival was Attack of the Adult Babies, the latest offering from filmmaker Dominic Brunt. Brunt has built up quite the resume in recent years, his great work within the horror genre alone has gained him the reputation as a director you should definitely look out for when any of his projects hit the shelves.


An ordinary family are forced to break into a country manor to steal top secret information, what they find however are powerful, obese, middle aged men dressed in nappies being tendered to and waited upon by overly sexualised nurses in PVC uniforms. This is not your typical horror film!


The humour comes as quick and thick as the gore which will please both horror and comedy fans. Lines such as “We’re gonna need a bigger nappy” and “I’m going to cut you worse than a state pension” prove how much of an aware, modern film Attack of the Adult Babies is.


Shot on location at Broughton Hall in West Yorkshire, Attack of the Adult Babies joins Brunt’s CV of making socially aware Northern genre films, something not many can boast of. Since the release of The Purge series and last year’s Get Out there has been a revived interest in social-political horror films and after having watched this film I’m of the opinion this deserves a place in the conversation too.


Beneath the absurdity and the gore is an expose of how lazy powerful and greedy men can become, their reliance on others to wash, clean and cook for them here is shown by a regression to infancy.


If you’re after a horror-comedy film with gore and gags in equal measure, then check out this bonkers and brilliant effort. Attack of the Adult Babies is destined to be a cult British film, whether it be this decade or the next.


Attack of the Adult Babies is out on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 11th.


Charismata



Again as part of the Paracinema part of the festival is Charismata, a psychological horror from filmmaking duo Andy Collier and Toor Mian.


Rebecca Faraway (Sarah Beck Mather) is a murder detective working on a series of gruesome killings. As she becomes more involved with the investigation she begins to experience haunting visions which lead her to question her own sanity and state of mind.


I normally enter any independent horror production with an open mind, some can be quite hokey whilst others can surprise you with what they can do with so little. Luckily Charismata falls within the latter category, the cinematography by Fernando Ruiz and the score by Chris Roe give the film a polished and carefully constructed vibe, almost as if millions were spent in producing the picture.


Similar to Attack of the Adult Babies, Charismata feels very socially aware, whether intentional or not. Rebecca lives in a very masculine environment and is constantly under siege with sexist comments and a chauvinistic attitude towards her career as she is the only female on her team.


Acting isn’t usually lauded within the genre however Sarah Beck Mather as Rebecca was sensational. An intriguing portrayal, Mather plays Rebecca as quite a cold person however the character feels pretty well balanced considering the enormous pressure she endures throughout the film.


Whilst the “gore” level is by no means ignored, it is the carefully planned build-up of tension that brings the chills to the audience. I’m unsure when this will be screened again or released widely on home media however I urge any horror fan to seek this one out as Charismata was one of the best surprises of this year’s festival.


Escape from New York



Whilst the festival primarily celebrates fresh talent and brilliant new films, there is always space in the schedule to revel in classic films from yesteryear. This year, the one to catch for me was John Carpenter's science-fiction flick Escape from New York, a quintessential 80’s actioner starring Kurt Russell.


1997, Manhattan, New York has been abandoned and transformed into the perfect maximum security prison but unfortunately, whilst routinely flying over, Air Force One crashes onto the island leaving the President of the United States alive albeit in grave danger from unpredictable and dangerous inmates.


A deal is struck between the Warden and convicted bank robber Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), to save the president and he will have earned his right to freedom.


Having only seen this film once before it was great to revisit this on the big screen. On the surface you might mistake this as a simple film but a great escapist movie, however knowing Carpenter's work and his love for using genre movies to explore certain themes you can see why critics are of the opinion that Escape from New York uses its dystopic environment to explore class and race issues.


Last year I caught the screening of Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, a film I had never heard of until I watched it. It is now one of my favourite films of its period. I hope this Escape from New York showing had the same effect on someone and long may the festival continue presenting classics.


Overall it has been another successful year for the Derby Film Festival and QUAD as they continue to show a vast range of films across all genres, languages and budgets. I can’t wait to see what the 6th Annual Derby Film Festival holds in 2019. See you there.


Thanks to Peter Munford & Kathy Frain


Guy Russell


Twitter @BudGuyer


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Take a read of Guy's thoughts of the 2018 Derby Film Festival's other events including local documentary Spondon: Portrait of a Village and Five Lamps 24 hour Film Challenge



By midlandsmovies, May 23 2018 03:12PM



Midlands Review - Spondon: Portrait of a Village


Directed by Mark Rivers


I didn’t know what to expect walking into the documentary Spondon: Portrait of a Village. I was anticipating a love letter to Spondon, that much I knew, but what could possibly be said about a village in Derby in 120 minutes of running time.


My experience and knowledge of Spondon is limited to the local ASDA and a visit to The Malt Shovel once for a poker tournament. What I didn’t know was that Spondon is a small village and a tight knit community built up of small businesses and passionate local residents who are keen to keep the village alive.


Screened to a sold out audience on a sunny Saturday afternoon, director Mark Rivers presents a warm portrait of Spondon making certain to include residents from all walks of life, ensuring every voice from every corner is heard.


Local business owners, natives old and young, parents, the unemployed and the retired all have something to say about the current condition Spondon is in, whether it be positive or negative. A fair portion of the film is spent examining the community’s participation and reaction to the referendum to leave the European Union which proves to be interesting viewing.


As I mentioned earlier, I was anticipating Spondon: Portrait of a Village to be a love letter of sorts, with nothing too vast and deep within the narrative. However, River’s takes the smooth with the rough, the blissful outlook on village life is combined with the worrying awareness that the village is constantly at risk of declining as big corporate chains and cultural shifts threaten their way of life.


A local butcher is losing business to the supermarkets, British Celanese has all but shut down due to the sourcing of its materials overseas. River’s shows us what we would be losing if we don’t support local business - a way of life. Professionally shot and edited, it was a pleasure to spend what didn’t feel like two hours at all due to the pacing of the film.


Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought this as the film received a rapture of an applause at the end of the screening, to my surprise from the very people who featured in the documentary.


I hope further screenings of Spondon: Portrait of a Village are planned so as to give more people the opportunity to watch this treasure of a documentary.


Guy Russell


Twitter @budguyer


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