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By midlandsmovies, Jun 13 2019 08:50PM

Quite simply, here is our ongoing and updated list of Film Festivals in the Midlands (2019 edition):


• THE SHORT CINEMA http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk info@theshortcinema.co.uk Phoenix, Leicester - August 20 – 24, 2019


* NOTTINGHAM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL http://www.nottiff.com/ 14th - 17th November 2019


• INDIE-LINCS - Feb 13th - 15th 2020 Based at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, and run in partnership with The School of Film and Media at the University of Lincoln http://www.indie-lincs.com


• BRINDLEY PLACE OUTDOOR FEST - http://www.brindleyplace.com/event/brindleyplace-film-festival-2018/ July 15th - 21st 2019


• BORDERLINES FEST http://www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk UK's largest rural film festival. Herefordshire/Shropshire - 28th February to 15th March 2020


• BIRMINGHAM FILM FEST - 1st - 10th November 2019 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/Birminghamfilmfestival


• BIFF FEST (Birmingham Black International Film Fest) https://www.biffestival.co.uk 26th October 2019


• SHOCK AND GORE FESTIVAL Electric Cinema in Birmingham https://twitter.com/shockgore July 2019


• DEAFFEST http://www.deaffest.co.uk The UK's International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Wolverhampton. Contact info@light-house.co.uk 2020 date TBC


* BIRMINGHAM INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL http://birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk 21st June - 1 July 2019


• THE UK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL LEICESTER - http://tonguesonfire.com/ 2020 dates TBC


• SHOUT FESTIVAL http://shoutfestival.co.uk Birmingham Dates TBC for 2020


• DERBY FILM FESTIVAL http://www.derbyfilmfestival.co.uk 14 - 17 November 2019


• FANTASTIQ FEST http://fantastiq.co.uk Fantasy/Horror Fest at Quad in Derby (part of Derby Film Fest)


• MAYHEM HORROR Film Fest - Halloween. Contact Broadway cinema in Nottingham http://www.broadway.org.uk/mayhem 10th October - 13th October 2019


• FLATPACK FEST - Birmingham, UK. http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk 11th-16th May 2020


• BEESTON FILM FESTIVAL - https://twitter.com/BeestonFilm 25th-29th March 2020


• SHROPSHIRE RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/midlands-zone on hiatus for 2019 - TBC 2020 dates


• GRINDHOUSE PLANET - www.grindhouseplanet.com November 2019 TBC


* BOTTLESMOKE FILM FESTIVAL - https://www.facebook.com/BottleSmokeStoke Stoke on Trent - September 8th 2019


* WIRKSWORTH 3-MINUTE FILM FEST https://wirksworth3minfilmfest.co.uk Derbyshire15th Sept 2019


* HEART OF ENGLAND FILM FEST - https://www.heartofenglandfilmfest.com Coventry 2020 Dates TBC


* THE BLACK BIRD FILM FEST Wolverhampton https://ajayhackett2113.wixsite.com/bbff Wolverhampton 2020 Dates TBC


* HIGH PEAK INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL Derbyshire https://www.highpeakindie.com 12th to 16th June 2019. #HPIFF18


* NEXUS FILM FESTIVAL https://twitter.com/NexusEastMids Nottingham 2020 Dates TBC


* NOTTZ FILM FESTIVAL Hothouse Theatre Nottingham https://twitter.com/NottmFilmFest Sat 6th July 2019


* THE SHORT STACK FILM FESTIVAL Nottingham Bi-monthly screening night at Broadway Cinema https://www.facebook.com/groups/841340665914084 (Various dates)


* 5 LAMPS FILMS - Bi-monthly short-film screenings at Derby Quad (various dates) + annual 24hr film challenge https://twitter.com/fivelampsfilms 2020 Date TBC


* PARACINEMA - Derby https://twitter.com/ParacinemaDerby May 1st -3rd 2020


Other useful Film Festival information can be find at these links:

http://www.festivalfocus.org/festival

http://film.britishcouncil.org/festivals-directory/festivals-map

http://www.thefilmfestivaldoctor.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, Jun 13 2019 08:25AM



Midlands Spotlight - The Pocket Film of Superstitions


Midlands Movies Mike uncovers a dark new feature film currently in production from Tom Lee Rutter, the writer/director of regional flick Bella in the Wych Elm.


THE POCKET FILM OF SUPERSTITIONS is a planned creepy docu-fantasy almanac and will explore a wide range of superstitions both well-known and not so well-known through the ages.


Produced under the director’s Carnie Features production company, Rutter promises a more “polished, feature-length progression” after his short film Bella In The Wych Elm (our review here) was released in 2017 to acclaim despite a low budget.


Director Rutter tells us that with this new film audiences should expect “dreamscapes, Victorian gothic, practical effects and nods to the haunted screen of the silent-era through to the seventies”.


“I am half-way through production now and up till now have completely self-funded but due to the ambitious jumps through time with period set-pieces and the SFX I have had to start up a Gofundme campaign”, he adds.


This will help “to raise a little money for us to achieve some exciting sequences on the horizon”.



He goes on to explain, “My films have always been proudly self-funded and are very independent in nature. Despite the limitations brought about by very little in terms of finance it has always given me the freedom to explore styles and create projects that I feel don't get explored enough in indie circles today”.


Hoping to be a one of a kind West Midlands movie you can find out more information and donate to their crowd-funding campaign here: GoFundMe LINK


You can also follow further updates from the official Facebook page here which includes some exciting behind-the-scenes photographs and lobby-card stills - click here for Facebook page




By midlandsmovies, May 21 2019 06:45AM



Not content with already being involved with multiple projects, Lee Charlish of Korky Films is beginning pre-production on a new project Wake-Up Call. Launching a new funding campaign, Midlands Movies uncovers more information about this unique horror project.


With tagline “True love cuts deep”, Wake-Up Call tells the story of Ronald Weiss, a plastic surgeon, who en-route to a convention, gets lost and finds an old, foreboding guest house and reluctantly stays overnight. However, he is forcibly coerced into performing surgical enhancements and is drawn into a macabre, psychological dilemma.


Lee Charlish is hoping to get the film made by raising funds and has enlisted the help of Leah Solmaz, a local Lichfield-based producer, who originates from Birmingham. There is also the opportunity for the concept to be further explored and developed into a feature film, but this will be dependent on reception, appetite and, of course, funding.


Lee adds, “The film’s ominous subtext clearly exposes society’s obsession with body image, and delves into the ugly depths which people might sink to in order to abate such perceived inadequacies. Although the ideas explored are taken to the extreme and sometimes the surreal, it’s this original approach to storytelling which will make the movie ingenious and compelling to audiences”.


Leah Solmaz of recently created Luna Kaynak Productions is attached as producer of the project and will oversee the movie written and directed by Lee and, good news to us, will be a joint production of both local Midlands-based film companies.


Leah is Birmingham born and has worked as an actor on several, local productions, including the Midlands Movies Awards’ winning feature, The House of Screaming Death. She also co-wrote/co-directed a feature called "Checking In" which won Best British Film at the London TV & Film Awards. She is currently producing (and starring) in Theosight, a web-series, which will be released soon and continues to write other projects.


Lee Charlish is a Coventry based writer, director, producer and ‘sometime animator’. He is an award-winning director, having won the Midlands Movies Award for Best Animated Film in both 2018 and 2019, as well as the DepicT! British Special Mention Award; at the Encounters Film Festival, Bristol, in 2016 for his surreal, psycho-horror, Pig Dream.


The musical score will be provided by long-time Korky Films collaborator Chris Pemberton who has worked with several high-profile bands and artistes, all over the world, and is looking to establish himself further in the world of film soundtrack composition.


Acting talent already attached includes Adrian Annis, who has worked previously with Lee on the creepy, fantasy thriller – Scarecrow and Stuart Walker, who has provided voice-work on Korky Films’ – The Cold Caller and, more recently – Waxworks Owner Fumes at Closure. Completing the cast is Charlotte Elizzabeth Langley, as ‘The Wife’.


The first port of call for funding will be the British Film Institute (BFI), although other options are being explored to ensure the movie is made. A full, ‘production package’ is currently being put together, to ensure funding applications are robust and realistic.


Although fully-cast, with three exciting actors, Leah is currently engaging with local talent to ensure Wake-Up Call is fully-crewed with a team, fully on-board with the movie’s unique story and required look and feel. It will also help with the funding campaign and will “offer a real sense of collaboration and inclusion from the get go”.


Lee Charlish says,"We know that talent exists in the region, in various roles, and we are looking for dedicated creatives to join us. We actively encourage anybody and everybody to get in touch, there are no prejudices; we just need a willingness to commit and help make this movie the best it can be".


Leah says, "We are nearly there and hopeful we have enough to secure a worthwhile budget which will truly make Wake-Up Call possible and able to fulfil its ambitions".


If anyone is suitably enticed, they should contact Leah at leahsolmaz@gmail.com to get more information, and discuss their experience and skills for consideration.


For more info check out: https://leecharlish.wixsite.com/wake-upcall


By midlandsmovies, Apr 27 2019 07:20AM



Suspiria (2018) Dir. Luca Guadagnino


Having just discovered the original Suspiria 1977 two years ago (yeah, I know) I was impressed with the Giallo style and music of the cult classic but a tad underwhelmed – perhaps as a result of high expectations.


However, as stylish as Dario Argento’s film was, this film – which is “inspired” by that horror of the same name – goes to much more complex and dark places than Argento’s slasher.


The story is familiar as Dakota Johnson’s expert dancer heads to Berlin to enrol in a dance academy in the 70s but finds there are dark forces behind the façade of the respected school.


Stylistically Guadagnino avoids the extreme colours of the original – bar some fantastical dream sequences – and shows Berlin as an oppressive and grey city rocked by terrorist atrocities. And although these ideas aren’t fully formed – some going nowhere – the constant presence of outside public news is as oppressive as the oppressiveness featured within the mirrored walls of the school itself.


Despite her unquestionable talent Susie Bannion (Johnson) begins to exhibit traits of a missing student and a parallel story sees psychotherapist Josef Klemperer investigate the mystery. Sadly one of the biggest drawbacks is the decision to cast Tilda Swinton, an actress I love, as the very male doctor. Each of her appearances – in what has to be said is fantastic make-up – took me out of the movie and seems an excellent experiment in the wrong film for it.


Swinton does the best she can caked in prosthetics BUT also appears as stern matriarch Madame Blanc – the lead choreography teacher and away from the sex-swap role is much better in delivering a strict matron – but one with a layer of sensitivity and doubt by the film’s conclusion.


The film’s editing begins chaotically and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke provides a soundtrack that echoes some of the original’s melodies but in fact sets itself apart from it in the best way possible. From full songs that contain his inimitable falsetto, Yorke also seems to have delved into horror music’s past. With orchestral segments reminiscent of Bernard Herrman’s Psycho score to repeated piano refrains influenced by Halloween and The Exorcist, Yorke keeps the score diverse, layered and yet unobtrusive throughout. A phrase not echoed in the original’s bombastic and totally over-powering music.


One of the best scenes in the film occurs when a student threatens to leave but is locked in a rehearsal room and Johnson’s dance moves in another room are replicated – voodoo doll-style – by the trapped woman. Smashing her bones into the mirrored wall and with joints flying out of sockets, the beauty of the dance shapes are contrasted brilliantly with the nastiness of the injuries being inflicted.


Disgusting, shocking and bloody, it’s a masterclass of visual storytelling and horrific aesthetics, and is one of the best scenes of 2018 without question and has to be seen to be believed. Brace yourself people.


As the teachers are slowly revealed to be part of a witches coven, the film explores issues of motherhood as they try to “re-birth” the spirit of Markos – currently contained in the body of a disfigured corpse-like woman.


The dancing is fantastic and the dull-colour palette of the film is punctuated by the vivid reds of dance costumes, dresses and, of course, plenty of the red stuff as Johnson uncovers awful goings-on in the hidden catacombs of the academy building.


As the film comes to a physical crescendo the ending is a slight let down with a new twist on the original. And with the good work delivered to that point it becomes frustratingly unfortunate that clichéd operatic music and a seen-it-before ceremony brings the film to a slightly drab conclusion.


That said, despite a 2 and a half hour run time – which certainly doesn’t feel like it – Suspiria is a gory piece of art from start to finish. Themes of guilt, history and power are all thrown into a mix of dark passions and the body horror/beauty of contemporary choreography. Whilst not all of them gel together, the film dances to its own ritualistic chaos in a distorted orgy of cinematic pleasures.


★★★★ ½


Michael Sales



By midlandsmovies, Apr 18 2019 09:32AM



Midlands Spotlight - Paracinema Horror Weekend 2019


Friday 3 - Monday 6 May 2019


Venue: QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby, DE1 3AS


Anything goes! This is the motto of Paracinema, a festival dedicated to films and genres outside the mainstream. Expect a steady diet of horror, sci-fi and fantasy but in addition we want to explore other genres and sub-genres that don't get the opportunity to play on the big screen.


Taking place in Derby next month, the horror weekend will be showcasing the local, national and international in all genres of horror.


A Paracinema weekend pass costs £50 and enables entry to all events across all four days of the event.


Alternatively, a Paracinema Day pass costs £20 and allows entry to all events on a single day of the event.


For the full programme please see the film screenings and event list below including gaming, Q & As, a quiz and so much more. Click the links at the bottom for tickets and mroe more information.


Friday 3rd May

Paracinema Shorts 1 & 2 12:00pm


Zeroes 3:30pm (Also screening on: Monday 6th May)


Gaming : Paracinema Arcade 5:00pm (Also screening on: Saturday 4th May, Sunday 5th May, Monday 6th May)


F*** You All – The Uwe Boll Story 6:15pm


Knife + Heart 8:15pm (Also screening on: Sunday 5th May)


Mega Time Squad 10:30pm


Saturday 4 May 2019

Paracinema Shorts 1 10:45am


House Of Blue Shadows 12:30pm


In Conversation: Emily Booth In Conversation with Director Jake West 2:30pm


Inner Ghosts + Director Q+A 4:00pm


The Dead Center 6:05pm


Diamantino 8:00pm


Slasher In A Knife Factory! – A Nightmare On Elm Street 8:30pm


The Next Kill 10:00pm (Also screening on: Monday 6th May)


Sunday 5 May 2019

Paracinema Shorts 2 11:15am


Far From The Apple Tree 1:20pm


Special Event : Drag Me To Hell – Representations of Drag & Transvestism in Horror Film & Television 3:00pm


Bearkittens + Director Q+A 3:30pm


Fornacis + Director Q+A 5:20pm


Luz 7:20pm


Quiz: The Legendary Paracinema Quiz! 8:30pm


Film Screening Shorts Programme

Five Lamps Films 24 Hour Film Challenge – Entrants Screening 8:30pm


Knife + Heart 8:50pm (Also screening on: Friday 3rd May)


Monday 6 May 2019

Ghost Story 12:00pm


Ghost Stories: The Curious Tales Of The Making Of Ghost Story

2:00pm


VIPCO – The Untold Story – Premiere + Director Q+A 4:00pm


Scopophilia 6:30pm


Book Of Monsters 6:45pm


Zeroes 8:30pm (Also screening on: Friday 3rd May)


The Next Kill 8:45pm (Also screening on: Saturday 4th May)


More information:


https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/whats-on/cinema/paracinema-film-festival-weekend-pass


https://www.facebook.com/ParacinemaDerby/


https://twitter.com/ParacinemaDerby



By midlandsmovies, Apr 15 2019 04:03PM



The Wind (2019) Dir. Emma Tammi


Emma Tammi’s directorial debut is a western horror and although the title sounds like a sub-Blumhouse video on demand chiller (or an unwanted Shyamalan The Happening spin-off) the sombre tome makes this a scary trip to the West worth checking out.


Horror westerns are a small sub-genre – from direct-to-video sequels From Dusk Til Dawn 3 and Tremors 4 all the way to S. Craig Zahler’s excellent Bone Tomahawk via the slightly less-excellent Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966). John Carpenter’s Vampires also mixed the genres but here though, the film ditches any b-movie stylings and feels more in tune with the Coens’ Buster Scruggs.


The film stars Caitlin Gerard as Lizzy, a resourceful woman in a remote cabin on the American plains. She lives with just her husband, Ashley Zukerman as Isaac before being joined by Julia Goldani Telles as Emma Harper and Dylan McTee as Gideon Harper. With just 4 people, the women toil the crops as the men leave them for long stretches hunting and gathering.


Opening on a horrific scene of a pregnancy gone wrong, we know we’re not going to be in for an easy ride. The structure of the film flashes back and forth from the present, where Lizzy is surviving on her own, to the 4 people trying to settle in this harsh environment back in the past. The two intertwining narratives was a fantastic device to create mystery and leave questions unanswered. For some though, the lack of clarity between where we are in time could infuriate. And I have to admit myself, there were times of head-scratching to work out where we were in the story.


As Emma Harper gets pregnant, she begins to have visions and feelings of another presence in the area. Initially dismissive herself, Lizzy takes little notice of these until later when the wind – and whatever forces it is hiding – comes to her own door.


The dialogue is minimal but effective from scriptwriter Teresa Sutherland and Caitlin Gerard is great as the lonely woman battling supernatural entities and possibly her own sanity. The film is also beautifully shot and slowly allows the story to build before we get a shock scare or two.


With intrigue and violence, the film is ambitious yet doesn’t always hit its mark. The slow editing makes its 90 minutes seem longer, but in many ways the film is too short and the ending is a little rushed and offers little in the way of explanation. Although I suspect that was the point.


In conclusion, The Wind is an impressive and sporadically frightening first film which takes the large scale and uncharted American wild West and places its foreign nature into the cabin - and the mind - of a female pioneer. With heady themes of religion, redemption and the unfamiliar, you will be rewarded as you roam into this undiscovered and menacing windy wilderness.


★★★ ½


Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Mar 17 2019 10:21AM



Midlands Spotlight - Leicester Horror Con


With stalls, guests, talks, screenings, cosplay and more, a new event heads to Leicester this summer covering all things strange, spooky and scary in the form of Leicester Horror Con 2019.


Taking place on Saturday 22nd June from 11am to 5pm the event will be held at the suitably historical and ghostly Guildhall in Leicester.


With five reported ghosts, the Guildhall is reputedly Leicester's most haunted building and has appeared on the television show Most Haunted.


One of the highlights of the convention is their "Dark Market". Here, the UK’s best horror traders will be in attendance selling artwork, posters, toys, comics, books, DVDs/Blu-Rays and more.


In addition, there will be guests, screenings and an evening event and the day will be a chance for attendees to meet fellow horror fans, buy merchandise from vendors and learn more about the genre everyone loves.


Leicester Horror Con is being organised by horror film fan Nathan Leverton who has run a number of events in Leicester which includes Leicester Comic Con in the city’s Silver Arcade and a Challenge Charity Boxing at the Morningside Arena.


A slight warning - it is likely material on display will not be suitable for minors and whilst Under 10s can go free, they must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.


For everyone else, the tickets re limited but provide attendees with a wristband that gains them entry to the "Dark Market" at The Guildhall, as well as screenings, talks and discounts at participating venues. Please note, it does not include entry to any evening shows at venues after the convention ends at 5pm.


Tickets are a suitably priced £6.66 and an be bought at Eventbrite here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-horror-con-2019-tickets-57705160689


For more information - and with updates on traders, timings and further guests then please check out the event's social media pages on the links below:


www.instagram.com/leicesterhorrorcon

www.facebook.com/LeicesterHorrorCon




By midlandsmovies, Mar 7 2019 01:10PM



The Hole in the Ground (2019) Dir. Lee Cronin


From The Shining-style opening where we see a God-shot of a car driving through a forest landscape, new horror-thriller The Hole in the Ground has plenty of classic genre references but does it add enough to the mix to set it apart amongst a whole host of other fear-filled films?


Well, the clichés begin as we get a mum and child (a trope becoming as common as teens in the woods) moving to a new home where they uncover a humungous crater in the woods. Mum (an excellent Seána Kerslake as Sarah) warns her son to not go near it but after noticing some very strange traits from her offspring, she begins to suspect something isn’t quite right.


The disturbing behaviour continues with his monotone speech and upsetting behaviour, before Sarah crosses paths with an excellent James Cosmo as local man Des Brady whose wife recently died after claiming her son was no longer the same boy as well. With some ideas akin to Clint Eastwood’s The Changeling, we begin to question Sarah’s sanity and the film focuses much more on dread and tension than it does jump scares.


Director Cronin uses great cinematography to add gravitas to the low-key film, from beautiful wide shots of nature to the torch-lit point-of-view shots which includes the film’s first scares. The visuals are complimented by a beautiful, but eerie, piano score and as the questions of possession continue we get a claustrophobic conclusion reminiscent of The Descent where a metaphorical haunted house (cave) holds the spooky secrets to the mystery.


A solid story, well-shot and delivered in a very matter-of-fact style, The Hole in the Ground goes beyond its b-movie title to provide an interesting film mixing the satisfying themes of psychological paranoia and the paranormal.


★★★½


Michael Sales


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