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By midlandsmovies, May 28 2018 07:59AM



Midlands Spotlight - Birmingham Creatives Ready for Hire


Midlands Movies finds out about Talent Connect which is a new initiative bringing twelve fresh faces to Birmingham’s creative industry. It is the first time a scheme like this has been piloted, with a drive to help enable new talent to enter into the film sector as freelancers.


A group of 18 to 25-year-olds with an array of talents are to become available for projects that need immediate hiring with each participant having an online profile.


Once registered on their website, employers can access these profiles where they can choose a participant which fits their requirements and contact them directly. The skills of this talent pool are camera operation, camera assisting, editing, hair and make-up, lighting assistant, graphic design, scriptwriting, locations, administration, social media, web development and more.


Contracts are set up between the company and the participant, who have all set up as self-employed and Talent Connect contacted Michael Ford of Infinite Wisdom for his thoughts. “I would definitely look at this platform if I needed new freelancers, having already recruited similar talent through the Producers’ Forum in recent months".


Much like the Creative England Crew Database, the difference between them is that this forum screens its members which is a huge selling point for Michael.


Talent Connect has been created by The Producers’ Forum and Creative Alliance with the support of Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds. Creative Skillset is the industry skills body for the Creative Industries.


The Producers’ Forum is an independent organisation serving the vibrant community of filmmakers and content producers region. Membership includes producers, writers, and directors and many others involved in other aspects of film & TV.


The Forum provides training, networking, and lobbying. In an industry currently undergoing profound changes, it provides a unified lobbying voice through developing strategic relationships with key partners such as Creative Skillset, Film Birmingham, Creative Alliance, and West Midlands Screen Bureau.


Creative Alliance, founded in 2005, was one of the first training providers in the UK to offer apprenticeships in the Creative and Cultural Industry, an industry with no previous history of apprenticeships.


For more information check out https://talentconnect.creativealliance.org.uk



Talent Connect member Fahima Khatun
Talent Connect member Fahima Khatun

By midlandsmovies, May 17 2018 06:17AM



Midlands Review – Answer


Directed by Adam Palmer


“I didn’t mean it to end like this”.


Answer is a new Midlands short from filmmaker Adam Palmer which covers a difficult conversation about a young couple’s relationship that lies in tatters.


We begin with a shot of a man who wakes up in bed as the filmmaker dubs over the voice of his ex-girlfriend leaving a message on his answerphone.


The film was made in an afternoon and despite its off-the-cuff origins, the script is well written as our lead rolls out of bed whilst hearing a voice from a girl explaining her decisions to leave him.


Our lonesome lead is played well by Lawrence Walker who gives his almost-silent protagonist a sense of confinement and loneliness with just a few quiet movements and beats.


His introspective performance cuts a solitary figure as we see him undertake a serious of mundane tasks – getting a pet’s dinner ready, buying a frozen meal for one or even simply gripping the kitchen work surface in apparent frustration.


The (somewhat anonynous) voice is provided by Nathalie Codsi who gives an outstanding reading of what could have been just another local heartfelt drama. Her voice is infused with regret, sadness yet determination as she delivers information to her ex.


The audience can feel her pain and one begins to wonder what could have happened to get to this situation. The juxtaposition of this melancholy female voice tinged with hopeful sorrow and a man looking remorseful begins to create a certain sympathy. The voice explains how “rushed” their relationship and that they were “very young”. When it is clarified that they have a child as well, “Charlie”, even more compassion can be felt.


However, the filmmaker cleverly provides this information slowly but surely over the course of the message. Here, the dynamic changes quickly as the voice tells us that the man is not allowed to see his son for a while and we start to question why.


The female partner reveals how she “couldn’t see why you were so controlling” and our attention shifts to a more sinister underlying menace from the past.


Ending in tears she explains the domestic violence she suffered at his hands and her partner breaks down crying with exclamations of how sorry he is.


An impactful film, Answer uses its short runtime to create a fantastic story that uses relatively cheap production to get its powerful message across. This is no bad thing and shows how ingenious storytelling need not be too expensive and can be delivered in a way that’s affordable to local filmmakers on a budget.


Using the subject of domestic violence, which is quite common with local shorts, could have resulted in a stale familiarity but here the director Adam Palmer uses a unique conceit to show how conversation may be the key to salvage these most difficult of situations.


With two strong performances – especially from the mouth of the talented Codsi – Answer ironically provides no answers to the complexity of relationship breakdowns. But despite the dark subject matter leaves the viewer with a tinge of hope as we hear the surprising “ping” of another answerphone message before the story ends.


Midlands Movies Mike





By midlandsmovies, May 11 2018 07:30PM



Midlands Interview - Birmingham actress and filmmaker Hayley Davis


Midlands Movies Mike speaks to West Midlands creative Hayley Davis about her film work and new web series Random where the talented actress has created a series of exciting monologues to flex her acting work into new media.


Midlands Movies: Hiya Hayley. Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hayley Davis: Hello! I'm a Birmingham based actor and writer. I'm Birmingham born and raised but moved away to study and after university I moved to London for a few years before realising that I couldn't balance being a creative with being able to rent and buy food in one of the most expensive cities in the world! So I came back to Birmingham and really started concentrating on making my own work.


MM: And what attracted you to working in the film industry?

HD: It's strange to think of myself as being "in the film industry" as I'm still in the very early stages of my career. I actually started writing film purely because I wanted to be in a short film! I was trying to get acting work with only a little experience and everyone was telling me that unpaid work was the way forward. I just thought, well if I'm not getting paid anyway, I've got ideas so I may as well write something, get the crew together myself and then I can schedule it all around my paid work.


MM: That's great. So, what hurdles did that entail and how did you overcome them?

HD: Apart from the logistics of producing a film and getting a project up and on its feet, the biggest hurdle was to stop waiting for permission to create something. I waited for so long to start making my own work because, to be honest, I was scared shitless. Am I good enough? Can I do this? Am I "worthy"? Will people think it's shit? Once I thought, you know what, no-one is going to hand you a job so you either get over your anxiety or nothing will ever happen. I just got on with it. Even if people don't like my work, I'm not going to die.


MM: You also have a new series called Random on your site. Can you tell our readers a bit about that?

HD: I've been doing a lot of corporate roleplay acting over the last year, which isn't very creative and can get a bit boring. I wanted to make sure that I was keeping my creativity going. I ALWAYS feel like I should be making more work and I wanted to create something that was fairly quick to produce but also allowed me to challenge myself.


Random is a set of monologues that I write by going on Snopes.com which is a website that debunks or confirms various stories, urban legends, news articles etc. Some of the stuff on there is crazy. So, I select a random story and then write and perform a monologue based on the story. So far there's been a UFO fanatic, a murderous wife and a teacher who has a momentary loss of control. The idea was to post every two weeks or so, but my work schedule has been busy, so I try to do them as and when I can.



MM: The Get Out Clause brought you a lot of attention including a win at BFF. How did that project come about?

HD: That was so crazy. As I mentioned it was really something I did because I wanted some short film footage to help with acting work. I had already made a very small film / monologue called Would Like to Meet but wanted to do something a bit bigger. I wrote, produced and starred in the film and then it languished on my laptop for a year or two. I didn't do anything with it. Then last year on a whim, I entered it into the BFF and then forgot about it. When I was told it was nominated for Best Local Film, I thought, that's nice. It won't win, but I'll have a night out at the awards and that will be something. So, when it did win I nearly fell out of my chair. It was such a lovely feeling to have this thing that I had made from nothing, with no expectations, receive some recognition.




MM: You also both act and write. Do you have a preference of one over the other? What do you bring to each discipline?

HD: A few years ago I would have said that I wanted to be recognised as an actor more than anything. But now for me they go hand in hand. I find both challenging and rewarding in lots of ways and they inform each other. Writing makes me a better actor and vice versa.


MM: Can you give any advice can you give to other actors out there to get noticed?

HD: Please let me know if you find this out because I'd love to know! It's hard. I'm very much trying to be "noticed" myself. I'm working on the theory that if I do everything I can, make work, try to get that recognised, supported, enjoyed then the profile will come.


MM: And what has been your greatest achievement so far?

HD: I think one of the things that makes me most proud is changing from working in jobs I hated and made me unhappy (office, corporate) to be able to make money from acting and/or creative jobs. I think back to a couple of years ago when I was sat on my lunch break, in a badly fitting blouse crying because I hated what I was doing and I'm thankful that I haven't had to do that for a good while now. It could all change tomorrow but I still think that's an achievement.


MM: And who has inspired you in your work?

HD: Of course I'm in awe of brilliance like Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright. But I am also really inspired by women who have had success with creating their own work. Michaela Cole, Phoebe Waller-Bridges, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Lena Dunham and Ava Duvernay. I look to them for inspiration.


MM: Who are you favourite Midlands creatives out there you’d recommend our readers checking out?

HD: Elinor Coleman is a wonderful writer/performer who wrote a show called Baby Daddy which was on at the Birmingham Rep. Not film, but a lovely Birmingham based performer. [Editor: check it out at this link - click here].


MM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?

HD: I'll be continuing to create Random so keep an eye out for those. I'm also in the process of writing my next short film which I'm really excited about and will hopefully be a bigger project than The Get Out Clause. I'm also involved in a pilot which I am also co-writing and is being filmed in the Autumn which I'm hoping will lead to bigger things. Just keep an eye on my website. It will all be on there!


Check out Hayley Davis’s new blog series ‘Random’ on her website at www.mshayleydavis.com


And follow for her latest news on Twitter @mshayleydavis






By midlandsmovies, May 5 2018 01:29PM



Interview - Director and Writer Andy Collier


by Guy Russell


Charismata is the new film from directors Andy Collier and Toor Mian, which has been selected to play at this year’s Derby Film Festival in May2018. Our roving reporter Guy Russell got a chance to ask Andy about Charismata, his experiences making the film and what’s in store for him next.


The lead character Rebecca Farraway has to work within a culture of sexism and bullying in the department. With the current popularity of the MeToo movement, Charismata seems to have arrived at an important time. Was there a specific moment that made you start writing and if so what was it?

We wrote the film in 2014/15 so any current topicality is entirely accidental. Actually I think these issues have been around forever, and we aren’t being particularly original in exploring them. Rebecca’s character was pretty much completely inspired by (or, “ripped off from”!) Mia Farrow’s role in Rosemary’s Baby and, especially, Catherine Deneuve’s in Repulsion. So what’s topical now was apparently topical 40 years ago too. Hopefully things are changing now though so in future people will be ripping off some other aspect of horror movies from several decades earlier.


Your 2014 short The Seventeenth Kind, Charismata and your upcoming horror Perpetual have quite original premises, where do you draw your stories from? Personal experiences, people you know etc?

I think I just painted myself into a corner. Charismata was basically a mash up featuring the plot of Alan Parker’s Angel Heart with the story of the three central characters from the Apartment Trilogy. So on one level entirely unoriginal! However, by taking things in original directions and confounding audience expectations we can, hopefully, do something at least vaguely interesting.


The Seventeenth Kind and Perpetual are both adaptations. The first of a short story of the same name, which was extremely funny and very original. I thought it would either translate to a great short film or an absolutely terrible one. Luckily it came out ok I think. We were talking with a US studio for a long time about making that into a TV show, but that fizzled out as these things usually do.


Perpetual is based on a novel called “The German” which I read when it was released in 2011 and loved. We barely changed it... except by moving it from 1944 to 2019 and changing the protagonist from a German refugee in Texas who had fled the Nazis to an Iraqi refugee in Texas who had fled ISIS. Of course, the local Trumper Joes don’t like him much.



You also act in Charismata, is this something you’d like to do more often?

Haha no it’s more of a recurring cameo that crops up 3 or 4 times. I wasn’t allowed any lines because I sound like an idiot. I only slipped my name into the acting credits list to annoy Tor (Co-Director of Charismata). It worked.


I think I might also get to appear as Norwegian Cthulhu Cultist #6 in The Colour of Madness and Angry Ginger Redneck #4 in Perpetual though, if I play my cards right. Fingers crossed…


Charismata has been praised by critics for not relying on typical horror tropes, would you agree it’s an exciting time to work within the genre?

Absolutely, yes. There is so much great stuff being made now and so much of it is breaking moulds. I actually love attending festivals and watching the selected films as you get to see a curated sample of the most original stuff that’s coming out before anybody else does. Obviously you get to see some utter crap too, but that’s part of the fun.


With this being your first Feature film, how did this differ apart from the obvious length to making a short film? With Perpetual being another feature, would you explore shorts again?

That’s a good question. Actually I think I’m pretty rubbish at shorts because I tend to make them work like long-form stories anyway, rather than either “slice of life” or “set up - punchline” that good shorts tend to have. Also, sadly, shorts have pretty much zero commercial value so it would be unlikely that we’ll do any more.


Unless I’m mistaken this is the first time sharing you both share directing duties? Did this take some time to adapt? Did working closely together previously help?

It worked very well. We did a huge amount of prep work and argued for at least a year, so by the time we got to shooting we were 100% aligned. That worked out especially well on a micro budget shoot which was very ambitious in terms of number of cast and number of locations. Something was always exploding, catching fire or flooding, so while one of us was off set sorting out the ambulances the other could go on directing without interruption.


Social media plays a huge part in a lot of independent productions, was this the case for you? If so how did this help Charismata?

In our case we only really got the social media going after the film was finished. We didn’t crowd fund the film and we didn’t self-distribute - which are two areas where micro budget films like Charismata often need to connect with horror fans directly. Social media actually worked best in our case for connecting with news outlets/magazines/blogs/reviewers - we managed to get quite a bit of great coverage by connecting there. It’s hard work though!



Have you had any experience with the Midlands before, either shooting or festival wise?

Charismata screened in Leicester at a genre fest called Grindhouse Planet which was great fun. I’m from Sheffield originally but one of the bits that is (or at least was back in the day) technically Derbyshire. Does that count?


I can see your next feature has a filming location in the USA? As a producer does this take a lot more preparation?

Interesting question. I don’t think it takes more prep but it’s definitely much harder logistically, as it’s miles away! Some local help is an absolute must. For Perpetual we have a local line producer helping and the Utah Film Commission have been amazing. It’s still hard though.


What excites you most about the filmmaking experience? Pre-Production? Writing? Directing? Editing etc?

Unlike most people I find editing to be a total chore. That’s definitely the worst part. I think the reason is that we don’t shoot like most people: get plenty of coverage with different angles, wide-mid-close and then edit the film from what you have. We plan every shot and, essentially, edit it in the storyboards so the editing bit is just assembling the shots with a pleasing rhythm. The corollary to that: preproduction is the best bit. From location scouting to preparing storyboards and shot lists detailed enough to make editing a total chore. Great fun because that’s where the rather abstract script starts to turn into an actual film.




What is the single best piece advice that young filmmakers need to hear in 2018?

Don’t listen to me, probably. But other than that, make something that you you’ll love. Don’t try to make some generic paint by numbers thing that you think tick’s boxes. If you’re going to put so much time and effort into something with no guarantee that anybody will ever see it, at least aim for something that you find genuinely exciting. And then - other people probably will too!


Lastly, are there any future projects you can talk about?

The next thing we shoot, most likely before Perpetual, will be a VERY Lovecraftian folk horror provisionally called The Colour of Madness. It has the least original basic premise imaginable, which has been used in 5,873 horror films in the past, but we believe that we treat the story in such an unusual way that people will be excited enough by it to think it’s somehow “original”. It’s set in Norway for one thing haha!


Charismata is playing at the QUAD as part of the Derby Film Festival on the following dates;


Friday, May 04, 2018 18:00


Bank Holiday Monday, May 07, 2018 15:35


You can book your tickets below:

https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/idfest/dff/dff-pc--charismata--adv-18-.aspx


Guy Russell

Twitter @budguyer


By midlandsmovies, Apr 10 2018 05:23PM



Midlands Movies Interview - Going Behind the Lens with Jordan Dean


Local filmmaker Jordan Dean came to Leicester’s De Montfort University from Hull at the age of 22 and grew up like so many did with Spielberg and Star Wars as his first foray into film. We speak to this exciting new local filmmaker about his influences, film music and the uncomfortableness of watching audition tapes.


Midlands Movies: Hi Jordan. Glad you could join today. You mention you got into film via Spielberg?

Jordan Dean: Yes I did, but as a kid I was always asking how they managed to create these fantastical worlds!


MM: And getting older how did you end up in your current position?

JD: Well my love for film as a youngster developed into working for Bizarre Culture where I was their film and media editor. I wrote articles and reviews before studying film at DMU in Leicester. It was a very academic weighted degree but at a very highly regarded film university.


MM: And what did you learn during those years?

JD: Well, I made some terrible and awful stuff in my first year [laughs]. But by my third year I had learnt a lot so chose to make a film rather than do a written dissertation. By doing that I tried to prove to myself I could handle a larger production. I actually had 27 cast and crew for a 7-minute short. This included costume designers, extras, fashion models and the like. It really helped me learn different skills, got me a first in my degree and then played at 5 festivals winning a cinematography award at one of them. That was when I thought - I can do this!


MM: I went to the same University funnily enough from 1998-2001 and we only had video in year 1! It moved very quickly to digital.

JD: Ha ha. I would love to shoot on film but producers say think about the money!


MM: So where are you now in your career?

JD: Well now I am undertaking an MA in Film Production with DMU and Pinewood Studios which is exciting. I get to work every week with Terry Bamber (first assistant director on films such as Gulliver’s Travels and World War Z), Chris Kenny and Iain Smith, producer of Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s a real high calibre of people to learn from.


MM: Sounds very rewarding. What projects have you made?

JD: I worked on Not Alone which was actually a film to test equipment but has recently won a short film award at the Direct Short Online Film Festival. In addition I’ve been working with Rhys Davies on his upcoming feature Acid Daemons (click here for info on that film).



MM: You also made Behind the Lens which was nominated for a Midlands Movies Award in 2018 for best score for Peter Flint (click here). What were your influences for that film?

JD: Both of us were influenced by Drive and Neon Demon composer Cliff Martinez. I also love John Carpenter and got great feedback from Terry (Bamber) that Not Alone was Carpenter-esque which was fantastic to hear.


MM: It’s great to have recognition from someone who has been in the industry for a long time. I have seen in the Midlands that those connections and recommendations can really help (and inspire) local independent filmmakers move forward in their work.

JD: Yes and also give you the feeling that you do know what you’re doing. I’m not the best at networking and its great to be at Pinewood to meet people but also at the Midlands Movies film awards where I met likeminded filmmakers from the region.


MM: With local filmmakers like Gareth Edwards, who jumped from editing Monsters in his home to Godzilla and then to Star Wars, is he an example of how low budget can spiral to the big time no matter how unlikely? Does that help motivate you?

JD: It’s really inspiring to see those journeys, of course. I also love sci-fi. E.T. is one of my all -time favourite films. I’d love to make a film in that genre but I feel I would need the resources to do justice to the ideas I would want to convey. My main focus right now is horror. I’m obsessed with scary films since seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was younger.


MM: I definitely noticed a Neon Demon influence in Behind the Lens

JD: My biggest influence right now actually is Nicholas Winding Refn. I know he’s not for everyone but I love his films. Over the last few years I’ve also enjoyed a variety of horrors such as The Babadook and It Follows. I’m not a fan of the current jump-scare style movies though.




MM: I found the recent version of IT a surprise success for Hollywood horror but its musical stings were warnings which gave away the approaching scares. Do you like foreign horrors though?

JD: I think you feel more vulnerable watching a foreign horror giving the investment you have to make. I am a huge fan of Asian extreme horror and my next film is heavily influenced by Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden.


MM: Are there any other genres you would like to dip your toe into?

JD: I don’t want to be a genre filmmaker as such. As a fan of Refn, if you showed Neon Demon to someone they may not consider it a horror. I would like to do similar and mix genres up but I was also exhausted by the end of The Witch as it built up tension without giving the audience a release. I wouldn’t mind trying a straight-up drama and tell a simpler story as well.


MM: Where do you get your ideas from?

JD: Behind the Lens is very much influenced by the photographer character from the Neon Demon and realised I had alos met those type of creepy, really intense characters.

MM: Voyeuristic?

JD: Very much so. I can get uncomfortable myself looking at audition tapes that I get sent given the nature of it.


MM: And where next for you?

JD: The next film is The Nail That Sticks Out whose title is taken from a Japanese proverb. It’s the first film I’m directing that I haven’t written. Rebecca Whelan has written a great script and I was instantly attracted to it as it has a tone and themes I can relate to myself.


MM: And what’s the story of the film without giving too much away?

JD: It’s about a Japanese artist living in England and her girlfriend is a failing English actress. It’s about culture clashes and how far different people are willing to go to produce their art. The two characters go in very different directions.


MM: And how far into production are you?

JD: We're making the crowdfunding promo this week and it’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever been involved in. We’re shooting at the end of July in the Midlands at Scene Studios in Nottingham and location shooting at DMU as well. It also has an all Midlands based crew and we're looking to raise an £8000 budget which feels ominous but we’re hoping for success once we launch.


MM: And what’s changed for you on all of these projects?

JD: It’s a scary thing to undertake these different films. Especially when you can’t always pay people when you are starting out and there are very difficult thing to manage on small productions. Now we’ve got a group of people involved – including a producer – there’s a move away from checking the sound and lighting etc yourself. There’s people you can trust in all the roles within the crew. And Peter Flint will be again working with me on the score so we’re discussing that right now.


MM: That must be a relief?

JD: To an extent. My first real production (Acid Daemons) I was working with others and I took the advice that if I had a full understanding of how film works – not just your own role – then you understand the departments and their processes. By having a little bit of knowledge about each department you can respect their craft.


MM: Thanks Jordan. Any final thoughts or help for other local filmmakers?

JD: Don’t be scared of feedback. I have a weird thing as I think I encourage criticism as it’s the only way you learn. Friends and parents will go “it’s great” but you can’t ride that for long otherwise you won’t get anywhere.


Follow Jordan Dean for updates on all his projects on his Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/Jordandeanfilm






By midlandsmovies, Jan 23 2018 05:56PM



Midlands Spotlight - A Fistful of Fivers


Midlands Movies Mike finds out about a new low budget project from fellow Midlands film organisation the Outward Film Network.


With an aim to connect no/low budget filmmakers across the Midlands and London, the Outward Film Network promotes down to earth and regional filmmaking of both shorts and features.


The filmmaking organisation has been promoting zero budget films for a number of years now with a goal to lose some of the taboos around the practice. They often set challenges to writers,directors, cast and crew to shoot zero budget scripts and then subsequently screen the films to appreciative audiences.


Their latest endeavour is the exciting 'Fistful of Fivers' project where they are asking local filmmakers if they can make a film for five pounds?



With money so often being a barrier to making a film, the Outward Film Network (OFN) aim to remove that barrier and promote creativity in short films.


To that end, they’ve launched ‘A Fistful of Fivers’ and are asking that if you have a film that you want to make for £5 then send over your script to them.


If a script is one of the best five judged by OFN, they will send the filmmakers £5 to make it as well as provide support during the production and distribute it on their website and social media platforms.


They will even pay for one festival submission! To prove it can be done, here is their own £5 short…that was actually shot for just £1.50! (See YouTube clip below).


For more information on how you can enter, visit: http://outwardfilmnetwork.com/fistful-of-fivers/ and use the hashtag #FistfulofFivers over on Twitter.


Twitter: @OutwardFn

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OutwardFilm

Youtube Channel - click here









By midlandsmovies, Jan 14 2018 06:49PM



Midlands Movies Mike finds out more about the Bottle Smoke 2018 Film Festival due to take place later this year.


Celebrating filmmakers from all budgets the upcoming Bottle Smoke Film Festival will be featuring two days of movie industry talks as well as a short film award ceremony.


Located in Staffordshire, the first day will end with a feature film with a follow up Q&A and day two ends with the award ceremony which will feature prizes for best cinematography, best director and best overall film.


Taking place on the weekend of 8th and 9th September the headline film will be Kaleidoscope Man from director Simon Cox and submissions to the film competition costs just £10.


The judges for Bottle Smoke 2018 include Peter Rudge who has more than 25 years experience in the film industry and was co-founder of Grand Independent – a film production and distribution company based in Staffordshire.


Another is Ray Johnson MBE, professor of film heritage and documentary at Staffordshire University. He is a Director of the Staffordshire Film Archive, the Mitchell Arts Centre Trust and the Media Archive for Central England as well as an independent film-maker, actor, and writer.





The final judge is Simon Cox who has worked in the UK TV and film industry for over 20 years for the BBC, Channel Four and Five as well as directing a feature film of his own.


Also of note is the festival’s charitable partner, Grand Order of Water Rats, who will receive 15% of the event’s profits. The organisation has helped with donations and supplied equipment to Guy's Hospital, Roy Castle's Cause for Hope, International Spinal Research, Macmillan Cancer Fund and Moorfields Eye Hospital amongst others.


For those interested, the event will be hosted at the prestigious Stoke Film Theatre and tickets can be bought via Eventbrite by clicking here


For submission application forms and much more information please visit the official website at: http://kemper5.wixsite.com/cm-productions/bottle-smoke






By midlandsmovies, Dec 2 2017 09:46AM



Random Acts and Rural Media - Part 2


We take another look at a selection of young filmmakers from across the East and West Midlands who have been involved in the Random Acts/Rural Media programme in the region. Please check out the talented filmmakers and their films below.


To read more about other filmmakers from the programme please check out Part 1 of our showcase here.





The Legend of Rawry (Herefordshire)

A fantasy drawing animation based on the Michael Bailon’s own drawings, this short focuses on dragons and more. Introduced by Michael himself who has autism, the filmmaker is a young artist who is from the ASD community. AT just 17 years old Michael’s inspiration includes Pixar, Manga, Marvel and of course himself.





Dancer of the Future (Herefordshire)

Made by Anna Campbell her film focuses on pole-dancing which only recently has become a fitness phenomenon which celebrates the aspects of women which have historically been repressed: strength and sexuality. Anna says that “Pole represents a shift in how women view their bodies: from the aesthetic to the functional. The extent to which women will cripple themselves in order to exaggerate feminine beauty can be seen in footwear. Pole dancers now are barefoot, as utility becomes more important than image; pole is about what the body can do, not how it looks”. Anna Campbell is a creative writing student with a passion for filmmaking and pole-dancing.



Impact (Worcestershire)

"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with veterans of war, however, many diagnosed with PTSD are affected through other traumas. This short drama by Eleanor Smart explores the stigma surrounding PTSD. Elle is a graduate from University of Worcester and has a degree in Digital Film Production & Screen Writing.



Super Citrus Force (Leicestershire)

Filmmaker Laurence Maybury creates a crime-fighting duo who have to stop an evil villain from objectifying women... LITERALLY! The film is a combination of British surrealist comedy and Japanese special effects from the 24 year-old filmmaker who has a degree in media production and has been making short films since he was just 16.



Oblivion (Lincolnshire)

This animation from Sarah Worcester is a first person POV film that allows the viewer to feel like they are inside the trapped world of someone who is suffering with a mental illness. The young animator from Lincolnshire is influenced by Florence & the Machine and has found her Random Acts experience “artistically exciting and challenging”.












By midlandsmovies, Nov 27 2017 08:23PM



RANDOM ACTS & RURAL MEDIA (PART 1)


In a new 3-part series Midlands Movies will be showcasing a selection of films and filmmakers from the region who have been involved in the national Random Acts programme.


Random Acts is a collaboration between Arts Council England and Channel 4. The short films (from just 90 seconds to 3 minutes long) have been described as ‘bold expressions of creativity’ with each one being individually engaging, experimental and quirky.


For the last 3 years, local organisation Rural Media (click here) has been working with young artists and filmmakers right across the Midlands to create ‘First Acts’. And Midlands Movies will be focusing on a selection of these fantastic films created by local artists right here on the site.


This Movement is Silent (Birmingham)

This spoken word film is from Paul Stringer who has made a film covering the journey of an open mic performer from chair to stage through a crowded, passionate and engaged poetry audience. This is edited alongside a journey throughout Birmingham, past its great landmarks in a bid to show that the local poetry scene is not only the people performing the poetry, but the whole collective community as a whole. Watch his film below:





Re-Code (Birmingham)

Made by Sipho Dube, Re-Code is a dance film exploring themes of dyslexia and empowerment. Sipho is a spoken word artist and dancer and as someone who has both dyslexia and with a profound stutter, Sipho has overcome issues through the use of spoken word. Watch this thought-provoking film below:



One Rogue Santa (Kidderminster)

Another spoken word film, Steven Williams’ short is an account of a troubled home life that led to various stints in and out prison. Through stylised silhouetted sequences, Steve’s story explores the complexities of growing up without a support network and having to deal with the choices we make. Now aged 24, Steven has been homeless from the age of 18 and has been in out of prison 4 times. Yet now with two children he’s looking to become a better role model and is working towards becoming a social worker to help other young people avoid making the same mistakes. Watch Steven’s video here:



Meet Cute (Northamptonshire)

Chris Cosentino has created an animation/live-action crossover comedy where a conspiracy nut shares a "meet cute" with a nice girl but discovers he's actually a fictional character in a short film. View the short here:



Dirty Re-Birth (Derbyshire)

Joey Mottershead explores the part of the human condition where we are required to perpetually reinvent ourselves, to grow and evolve to new forms. “The reality is these moments happen in the darkest of places, where directions have no meaning and internal struggles amount to the psyche being ripped apart”. Joey is a live interdisciplinary performance artist based by in the East Midlands whose work explores gender politics, the human condition and the empowerment of the self. “I take inspiration from the beautiful aspects of the grotesque”, says Joey, “finding light in the shadows and portraying the particular strain of glory only found within sadness”. Watch the film here:









By midlandsmovies, Nov 27 2017 07:23PM



LEICESTER BASED FILMMAKERS ‘BANG AVERAGE FILMS’ ARE OUT OF THE GATE


‘Bang average’ is a term normally used in relation to something being pretty poor, but Leicester based filmmakers Lee Tomes and Daley Francis and decided to take the saying and give it a positive spin.


“I love the term ‘bang average’, especially in a Scouse accent,” says Francis, the screenwriter and producer of the group. “I can understand people might be scratching their heads when they hear that’s the name of our film group - especially when it’s a negative term - but there’s a reason for it".


The name Bang Average Films comes from the ethos of the filmmaking collective formed by Francis and Tomes - Low-to-no budget films that bring bang for their (lack of) buck.


“These days technology, information and guidance is easily accessible and you can reach millions of people in an instant,” said Lee, the man behind the camera and behind the editing desk. “There are no reasons - or excuses - for filmmakers to not be making films anymore. You can make a film on an iPhone. It might not be cinema ready, but if you’ve got talent it’ll shine through".


The term ‘bang average’ also applies to the ideal that not every film has to be on a level with Kubrick or Nolan. Filmmaking can (and should) be fun and achievable. If it’s not Hollywood standard, who really cares? At the end of the day it’s all about great ideas and great storytelling”.



Lee and Daley have made various short films together in the past, including the boxing mockumentary Rocky Road and the anti-bullying drama Common Ground.


Both films went to festivals and have been well-received, but then came a four year hiatus before Bang Average was formed, with Francis venturing into self-publishing and releasing four novels, and Tomes running Orange Fox Studios, a visual storytelling agency based in Leicester that specialises in making online ads and virals.


“We’ve both continued to tell stories, just in different forms,” Francis explains. “But we’ve always kept in touch and knocked ideas around. We work well together and that shows with our new film Careering".


After deciding that Bang Average Films will focus on 3-8 minute comedy and drama shorts, Francis scripted Careering, a tale about a crazed Careers Advisor who tries to convince college students to abandon their dreams. All in the name of (questionable) fun.


“Careering is a statement of intent, for sure,” said Tomes. “We want to be prolific, we want to have fun and keep the momentum going. But most of all, we want to move people: tears, anger and laughter are all welcome. I can’t wait to work on our next project!”


You can read our review of Careering as well as watch the trailer CLICK HERE


Bang Average official website https://bangaveragefilms.com/


Midlands Movies Mike




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