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By midlandsmovies, Oct 26 2019 07:15AM



BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL IN ASSOCIATION WITH TREVOR BEATTIE FILMS RETURNS FOR ITS 4th ANNUAL FESTIVAL


The fourth annual Birmingham Film Festival, an international festival of screenings, events and awards for talented filmmakers from around the world, returns to the city from 1st - 10th November.


The international celebration of film craft is a platform for new filmmakers, helping them reach a wider audience and nurture their careers to the next level. The festival’s screenings and seminars are all free to attend, making the innovative festival accessible to all and allowing the filmmakers showcase their work to a huge audience.


Birmingham Film Festival, which takes place over the course of ten days at Millennium Point, featuring an array of shorts, features, documentaries, and music videos, aims to put Birmingham on the international map and will add to the rising popularity of the UK’s second city.


The festival’s home, Birmingham, has recently become a popular location choice for Hollywood filmmakers, most notably including Steven Speilberg’s Ready Player One and Kingsman: The Golden Circle.


Trevor Beattie Films is the 2019 headline sponsor for the upcoming event. Trevor Beattie, originally from Birmingham, is considered one of the leading figures in advertising in Britain and has been responsible for a number of high-profile advertising campaigns. He has since moved into the film industry, producing the BAFTA award-winning film Moon, directed by Duncan Jones in 2008.



“I am genuinely honoured and flattered to be associated with The Birmingham Film Festival. Birmingham is more than my home, it’s who I AM and film is most definitely my future. It’s a perfect fit for me. The Birmingham Film Festival is yet another example of how Birmingham is becoming the cultural heartbeat of the nation. Birmingham never rests. And now we’re punching our weight in film".


"It has not escaped my attention that Birmingham has a Hollywood district, and I’m sorely tempted to base the Birmingham branch of my film company in B47. I just think “TREVOR BEATTIE FILMS, HOLLYWOOD, B47” has a ring to it"


"I’m really looking forward to the festival week and seeing some of the extraordinary film making talent on display. I have a message for Birmingham from DUNCAN JONES (of that other Hollywood fame). Duncan promises that he will visit Birmingham when he next returns to the UK and create a little something for next year’s festival. Birmingham has ARRIVED in film! Birmingham Film Festival will ensure that news is shouted from the rooftops.” says Trevor Beattie.


Steven Knight, the Brummie creator of Peaky Blinders, who is planning on building a £100M state-of-the-art film and TV studio in the city, is the festival’s patron. Kevin McDonagh, President of Birmingham Film Festival said: “We are really excited for this year's festival. Our aim has always been to grow the event and reach larger audiences for the amazing work that we get to show and we've achieved that this year".



"Adding more seminars and workshops was also key as it not only brings more of the industry into the city but supports local talent and helps them to grow their own careers. Raising the profile of the festival also leads into that goal, bringing more focus onto the city and its talent. If we can create an exciting and respected platform for the films and filmmakers, then we hopefully we are contributing in a positive way to future of the regions industry".


"To be honest though, our growth and success is in no small part due to the amazing talent that generously allows us to showcase their efforts. Without the film makers, we are nothing.”


The festival will conclude with a fabulous Gala Awards Ceremony on 9th November at Macdonald Burlington Hotel, during which the Birmingham Film Festival Awards will be handed out to the winners of each of each category. Awards will be given out to everything from Best Feature Film to Best Young Actor, Best Local Film and Best Special Effects.


One of Birmingham’s most famous sons, Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, has also been announced as a judge for the music video category. "I was thrilled to be at the Birmingham Film Festival last year and wish everybody involved with this year's event the best. Though I won't be there on the night, I will be judging the music video category." says Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran.


Celebrities and special guests will be out in force on Friday 1st November at the Millennium Point to kick-start the festival at the glamorous VIP Launch Party.


The film festival invites talented and independent film makers from all over the globe to participate. To learn more about Birmingham Film Festival visit www.birminghamfilmfestival.com



By midlandsmovies, Sep 18 2019 12:11AM



The Black Country Horror Shorts Film Festival launches in the Midlands


A new film festival for short horror films is launching in the area and is inviting the region’s filmmakers to send in their movies for their event.


The Black Country Horror Shorts Film Festival will take place at Kinver High School in Stourbridge on 25th January 2020 and filmmakers will have the chance to show their films by submitting a short film under 5 minutes before 14th December.


Based in the Black Country, the festival is being organised by Weeping Bank Productions who are hoping to make this an annual event.


“We have quite an amazing panel of judges including Henrik Harms, Adam Neville and Steven Green”, says one of the founders Alan Birch.


Formed by two well-known Black Country ‘Alans’, Weeping Bank Productions is a small independent entertainment company dedicated to the art of scaring people by way of reading original ghost stories.


After many years of treading the boards with various theatre groups, actor Alan Birch starred in two full length indie comedy films as David Tristram’s creation Inspector Drake.


“I’ve always loved the horror genre and what excites me most about telling these stories is the fact that the audience has no preconceptions. They really will be unprepared for just how scary they are”, adds Alan.



Co-founder Alan Smith who writes under the name A.G.Smith has gained praise for his novels from best-selling authors Anthony Horowitz and G.P.Taylor. His work with prisoners has seen him appear on Channel Four’s ‘Secret Millionaire’ and on BBC Radio 4’s PM Programme.


The pair met on the set of ‘Inspector Drake The Movie’ and have remained friends ever since. Once they discovered that they both shared a passion for horror, the idea of forming Weeping Bank Productions was hatched.


And as they launch the festival, they are keen to encourage everyone with a horror story to tell to get involved. The 1st prize for the festival winner is £200 (plus a crate of Batham’s Best Bitter) and 3 runners up will win £50 (plus six bottles of Batham’s).


The full list of judges are Adam L.G. Nevill (author of the horror novels 'Banquet for the Damned', 'Apartment 16' & more), journalist/writer/filmmaker Steve Green, Birmingham radio journalist Nina Das Gupta, writer A. G. Smith and Worcester writer and director Hendrik Harms.


To enter is just £10 and click this link and check out further festival information and full terms and conditions on the official site here:

https://www.weepingbankproductions.co.uk/horror-film-festival







By midlandsmovies, Sep 13 2019 09:20AM



Midlands Spotlight - 3rd Annual Q-Film Weekender 8-10 November


The Q-Film Weekender returns to the Northampton Filmhouse from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 November 2019 for its third year.


Running across three days, the festival celebrates queer cinema from around the world, showcasing LGBTQIA+ talent and films with an exciting programme of features and shorts, exclusive previews and complementary events. Highlights of the festival are now on-sale with further films to be announced.


The programme includes award-winning films such as Céline Sciamma’s highly-acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire and the trans documentary Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth, followed by an exclusive Q&A with star Freddy McConnell.


Other events and Q&As include a selection of shorts and a special ‘In Conversation’ with trans filmmaker Jake Graf on Saturday 9t November. Tickets for these films and events can now be booked via the Filmhouse website www.northamptonfilmhouse.com or by calling 01604 624811.


The Q-Film Weekender is also proud to announce its Q-Film panellists: Q-Film’s Cat Nicholas, Co-Chair of Northampton Pride and Community Co-Chair of Northampton Borough Council’s LGBTQIA+ Forum Matthew Toresen, Screen Northants co-founder Becky Adams, Borough Councillor for Phippsville Anna King and Northampton Outlaw’s Simon Chapman.


The full programme is to be announced shortly on the Northampton Filmhouse website and the Weekender’s social media.


The Q-Film Weekender is presented in association with Q-Film and has been made possible by grant funding from Film Audience Network.


By midlandsmovies, Sep 6 2019 01:07PM



TELFORD FILM FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR ITS SECOND EDITION


TELFORD FILM FESTIVAL

6 SEPTEMBER – 20 OCTOBER 2019

#TFILMFEST19


Telford & Wrekin Council and Flatpack Projects have announced the programme for the 2nd edition of Telford Film Festival, taking place this autumn.


Launched last year as part of the celebrations for Telford’s 50th birthday, the festival will return from 6 September to 20 October 2019 and treat audiences to a host of special screenings and events all over Telford. From ghost trains, brass bands and sing-alongs to silver screen classics there promises to be something for everyone.


Highlights of Telford Film Festival 2019 include:


The festival kicks off in style with two outdoor Sunset Cinema screenings in Telford Town Park – the foot-stomping celebration of Queen, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (6 September) and a sing-along version of the dazzling feel-good musical, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (7 September).


The Dale End Park yurt will host two nights of ABBA-tastic fun with a screening of MAMMA MIA! (17 September), followed by the sequel MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (23 September) the following week. There will also be an hour-long kite making workshop ahead of Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS (22 September) and Tim Burton’s DUMBO (29 September) will round off the family screenings in the yurt.


Guests can enjoy an elegant New York style buffet at the Maws Craft Centre before an outdoor screening of the classic Hollywood romance BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (20 September).


RAF Museum Cosford will play host to two spectacular outdoor screenings - the seventh instalment of the epic Star Wars series STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS (20 September) and the Tom Cruise’s 80s blockbuster TOP GUN (21 September).


Discover how to make your very own model of one of Aardman’s world famous clay creations in a series of AARDMAN MODEL MAKING WORKSHOPS (21 September) at Ketley Community Centre.


Utilising rarely seen archive footage THE MINERS’ HYMNS (26 September) delivers a memorable tribute to the coal mining community and will be shown at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron in Ironbridge – the screening will be followed by a live performance from the Wellington Brass Band.


Follow the yellow brick road to Wellington Orbit for a fun-filled weekend of THE WIZARD OF OZ screenings (28 & 29 September) and STAN & OLLIE (1 October), the true story of Hollywood’s greatest comedy double act, Laurel and Hardy will screen at The Place Telford.


Fascinating local documentary GIRO: IS THIS THE MODERN WORLD charts the life of a group of young people on the dole in Telford during the 80s and will be screened in Dawley Town Hall (5 October), followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.


Two very different forms of dance will be celebrated in a unique pair of screenings at The Edge Arts Centre (6 October) - FORCE OF NATURE is an access-all-areas document of ballet superstar Natalia Osipova and Nick Frost stars as a former salsa prodigy who returns to the dancefloor in CUBAN FURY.


The Gorge Film Club will raise a glass to the cinematic classic CASABLANCA (7 October) at Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge Community Centre, accompanied by a gin-tasting session.


Telford Steam Railway will transform one of their famous vehicles into a SCOOBY DOO GHOST TRAIN (12 October) for a special family Halloween event, preceded by a screening of some classic Scooby Doo adventures at the Horsehay Community Centre. The venue will also form the perfect backdrop for a matinee of David Lean’s BRIEF ENCOUNTER (12 October), accompanied with afternoon tea and prosecco on board the train.


The festival will round off with the cult 80s horror CHOPPING MALL (18 October) screening in Telford Shopping Centre in the dead of night. This special event is hosted by Trash Film Club, a regular Midlands-based cinema night celebrating the very finest ‘so-bad-they’re-good’ movies around.


Telford Film Festival is the result of a collaboration between Telford & Wrekin Council and Flatpack Projects (the team behind Birmingham’s Flatpack Film Festival) and is part of BFI Film Hub Midlands’ mission to develop film culture across the region.


Full details of Telford Film Festival 2019 and ticket information can be found at:


https://www.discovertelford.co.uk/filmfestival


Alternatively call the box office on 01952 382 382.


By midlandsmovies, Aug 3 2019 04:48PM



Midlands Spotlight - Film Press Kits and Festival Planning


In August 2019 we spent an amazing day with filmmaker Daniel Alexander who invited us to Birmingham to talk local film, press, marketing and short film festivals to a group of future movie-makers participating in the 'Back In' film development programme.


The programme is aimed to support support BAME filmmakers in Birmingham who will be given the opportunity to develop industry knowledge and professional connections as part of a six-month artist development programme.


The programme is run by creative agency Punch as well as Daniel who will empower the new wave of filmmakers with project support, one-on-one mentoring, masterclasses and peer-to-peer sessions.


Midlands Movies was there to share our experience and knowledge of press kits and press releases. Receiving over a huge amount each year from local filmmakers, we put together a document to help filmmakers avoid the common pitfalls that can see their press releases being ignored.


In addition, from the Midlands Movies Awards to being on festival panels, we also created a handout around the planning and preparation short filmmakers should undertake as they get ready to showcase their work at movie events after their production has finished.


And we're sharing both of them here! (click on the links to open as printable WORD documents):


*** Midlands Movies Press Kit Handout ***


*** Midlands Movies Film Festival Handout ***



The programme has been running a number of years and culminates with a screening of the participants’ shorts which will be premiered later in 2019.


Supporting the next generation of young filmmakers will help them getting better connected amongst learning many other industry skills. Currently, the film industry workforce does not reflect the diversity of the UK. In production, only 3% of employees are from a minority ethnic background, compared to 12.5% nationally.


Check out more info about Daniel at https://www.danielalexanderfilms.com/


For more info about Punch Records, visit punch-records.co.uk


Michael Sales

Midlands Movies Editor




By midlandsmovies, Jul 12 2019 09:01AM



Midlands Spotlight - Birmingham Indian Festival 2019 a huge success


The 5th anniversary of Birmingham Indian Film Festival opened with Director Anubhav Sinha walking the red carpet at Cineworld, Broad Street for his hard-hitting thriller ‘Article 15’ (out now on global general release) and ended this week with a sold-out screening of Ritesh Batra’s ‘Photograph’ at MAC Birmingham.


The Festival was part of the Bagri London Indian Film Festival which together is the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian Film Festival.


Eleven days of 16 screenings and events took place in five venues across Birmingham and showcased a number of high profile and emerging women film-makers films, Q&A’s with Directors as well as a rarely seen documentary and special screenings of LGBTQ+ shorts attended by a diverse audience.


The Festival’s first Screen Talk took place at The Mockingbird Cinema with India’s leading cult iconic Director Anurag Kashyap.


Other guests at screenings during the festival included investigative journalist and activist, Anand Patwardhan, legendary Bengali director, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Kannada actress Anju Alva Naik and directors Praveen Morchhale and Gaurav Bakshi.


This year’s inaugural BIFF Audience Award went to the charming romance ‘Sir’, directed by Rohena Gera which took the Cannes film festival by storm in 2018. The award, which has been running at the Bagri London Indian Film Festival for 7 years, marks the first time it has been presented to a female director.


Rohena Gera said “I am truly delighted that ‘Sir’ has won the Audience Award in Birmingham. It means a lot to me that the film connects with the audience at the heart of the UK. I am honoured to be their favourite".


The Satyajit Ray Short Film Award went to Rohan Parashuram Kanawade for U Ushacha who was presented with £1000 from the Satyajit Ray Foundation at the closing night of the London festival. Cary Rajinder Sawhney MBE, Executive and Programming Director said “I’m delighted that we have showcased our strongest film selection ever for the 5th anniversary of Birmingham Indian Film Festival, helmed by the Birmingham premiere of politically daring film ‘Article 15’.


Continuing to push boundaries of diversity, I’m pleased that our women protagonist led and LGBTQ+ themes have seen audiences flocking to them, redefining images of Indian and South Asian Culture in the media".


Dharmesh Rajput, Head of Cinema, Birmingham added: “It’s been fantastic to have an increase in diverse audiences attending the festival this year and to have ended on a high with a sold-out screening of Ritesh Batra’s ‘Photograph’ which was well received by the audience. I’m proud that the festival platforms independent South Asian films which wouldn’t necessarily be seen here in the UK and that we’ve been able to interact with directors at Q&As".


The festival could not have gone so well without the help of Birmingham City University and the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce who share the festival’s passion for Asian arts and culture and would also like to extend their thanks to new hotel partner Malmaison Birmingham.


Birmingham Indian Film Festival will be announcing details of further screenings this year and ask audiences to keep in touch by subscribing to the Festival newsletter via their website www.birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk




By midlandsmovies, Jul 8 2019 12:00PM



Young filmmaker shorts screened at Leicester drama academy event


On Sunday July 7th Midlands Movies descended upon the King Richard III Centre in Leicester city centre where a unique film festival was underway featuring some of the most talented young filmmakers in the region.


The Pauline Quirke Academy (PQA) is a weekend performing arts Academy providing tuition for children and young people in comedy and drama, musical theatre and film and television.


Set up and endorsed by English actress Pauline Quirke (Birds of a Feather) in 2007, they are located in 105 towns and cities around the UK and focus on the arts. The youngsters attend outside of their normal school hours at weekends which shows the amazing commitment by these up and coming creatives and their families.


The King Richard III Centre opened in 2014 on the site of Greyfriars, the medieval friary in whose church the King was buried. A regal location then for the young people of PQA Leicester to attend a royal-esque red carpet event for them and their families to watch the short films that have been months in the making.



From drama to comedy and sci-fi and horror, the students haven’t just starred in the films but created the stories, had input into the scripts and took control of their productions behind the scenes. Some were directors, cinematographers, sound recordists as well as many more roles which enabled the children to experience a whole variety of skills to help them in their learning.


And so, with 6 planned screenings over the afternoon we spoke to as many of the students as possible to get their unique perspectives on their projects, the filmmaking process and their hopes for the future.


Josh Brambini-Meadows was first up and has been at PQA for 7 years – not bad for someone at just 13 years old! “In my film I play a visually impaired person with a guide dog but the boy is bullied at school. It was hard because you don’t know what it’s like but we used the subject “heroes” to develop our story about guide dogs who do all these good things. I’m a big fan of action films and I’d really like to develop my acting in future at PQA”.


Carmen Lee-Bennet echoed Josh and was in the film ‘Perfect’. “I play the lead’s best friend Emily and my friend at PQA Molly wrote it. I prefer to act and am looking forward to doing the PQA pantomime at Christmas. I can’t wait to see the film tonight”.



Amira Chawla-Sampey stars in ‘Freeze’ and as one of the newer members says, “I haven’t been on the big screen so am excited. I started in January and I really enjoy PQA”. Similarly Jasmine Lee-Bennett (9) adds “This is my first film and PQA has made me more confident” and friend Charlene Baariu (10) continued, “I’m looking forward to seeing my film tonight and it’s the first one I’ve ever made!”


Sophie Swaby describes how she got involved with the technical elements: “I play a student in Freeze and also did sound recording behind the camera. They’re both really fun things to do”. Isabella King said, “I’m in Legends which is about a sleepover party and then there are creepy dolls and explore a scary house. When I first joined I thought I would quit but I really like it because I met lots of new friends”.




Alex Gupta told us, “I am in Glitch which is about a boy who goes into a video game so it’s an action story with zombies. We filmed in the woods so there was a lot of scraping on brambles! We get lots of opportunities at PQA - this time I was director – and that’s what I want to do in future”.


Student Fran Mee explained how PQA supports her goals: “PQA is really fun and lots of opportunities to star in films. I’m in Safe with Me and did some sound recording. I want to be a singer and actor and the PQA staff are very supportive and they believe in you. It’s really amazing”.


And young Patrick Lambert-Connolly has his sights set on shepherding a crew again in the future: “I’m the director of Safe With Me and I enjoyed using the camera. The hardest thing about being a director is patience. I like all the opportunities you get with PQA – to perform in West End, be in films and lots more!”


“I was the director of photography which I like more than acting. I love making a film from scratch with my good friends” said Leo Denton (11) whilst Alexa Skidmore enjoyed the zombie make-up “with lots of fake blood and white face paint. I like these projects as we can create whatever we want”.


Senior student James King (17) came at his project with a lot experience which he was more than happy to pass on: “My 6 years at PQA has been great. I act in Detention and helped with a bit of scriptwriting. I enjoy seeing myself on the big screen and as an older student I try to help the younger people”.



His sister Courtney King (15) “I’ve been at PQA 8 years and it’s a really friendly working environment and like a second family to be honest” and their sibling Olivia King added that she too enjoys working with others “I have all my best friends at PQA and it’s a really nice atmosphere. Although one time my face was stained yellow from make-up and it got all over my food later”, she adds, already experienced in the world of production problems.


Friends Madison Brace, Elodie Dakin, Daya Chahal love the freedom they get at the academy: “We helped behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera. We enjoy comedy and drama and you get to use your imagination at PQA and you make great memories”.


Siblings Oliver (13) & Sienna Ross (7) said, “We like getting together with like-mind people and have a really good time on projects”. And it’s not only the students enjoying the PQA experience. Parent Melanie King can’t sing the praises of the academy enough. “When we first looked at what PQA could offer my daughter, I thought it looked an amazing place. She has always been very creative and the classes have helped focus her skills. I was so proud to see her on the West End stage last year and PQA brings out confidence in children and helps them progress”.






Zoe, Andrea, Shanice Nyandoro “We’re in Freeze and A Part of Me. We love dancing and singing and it’s great PQA include everyone when they make the films”.


Taiven Allen “I directed The Intruder about a boy who wakes up to find a clone in his bedroom. This is my first film and I like expressing feelings as different characters but also enjoy the technical side. I’m influenced by Bradley Cooper who moved from acting to directing and we did a little improvising on set which was fun”.


Megan & Amelia Jackson “It was very physical on set, we did a few takes of a slapping scene! But also people don’t see how many people are working behind the projects and during the filming you get to know people more”.




Caitlin Spencer (13) said, “I’m the lead in short film Perfect which is about being anxious at school and not fitting in. I prefer acting and found the project a great place to discuss our ideas and PQA allows you to experience things you wouldn’t normally be able to”.


Finally James Bremner (14) shares his positive experiences with fellow students: “I play a scientist who sorts out a glitching robot clone. It was nice to find out how the process takes place on a film set and gives you an insight into how bigger movies are created. My dream is to be an actor and I love my friends there as we’re all so passionate about the same things”.


And so we moved on to the screening and each film was fantastically received by full-capacity audiences. With support from PQA associates Emmeline Hartley, Alex Stroud, Tommy Draper and event management (and occasional acting) by PQA Principal Karen Stevens, it was a hugely successful and entertaining day. I cannot wait to see further projects from these talents as it is them who will be the next generation of filmmakers from the region – and I highly recommend you check out the films when they hit the festival circuit from Summer.


Michael Sales






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










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