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By midlandsmovies, Jan 23 2019 02:22PM



90s classic GHOST resurrects at CURVE Leicester


A new touring theatre production comes to Leicester’s CURVE this month as the successful 90s movie Ghost gets a re-imagining for the stage.


Ghost is a 1990 American romantic fantasy thriller film directed by Jerry Zucker and stars Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore as a couple who suffer tragedy . Their lovers in limbo tale is complimented by an Oscar-winning performance from Whoopi Goldberg as a psychic.


The new stage show will feature the familiar story as the couple walk back to their apartment late one night and a tragic encounter sees Sam murdered and his beloved girlfriend Molly alone.


But with the help of a phoney psychic, Sam – trapped between this world and the next – tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving her from grave danger.


The movie Ghost has proven to be one of cinema’s biggest all-time hits. The film grossed over $505.7 million at the box office on a budget of just $22 million.


Goldberg received acclaim from critics for her performance as Oda Mae Brown and Ghost was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Score and Best Film Editing.


It won the awards for Best Supporting Actress for Goldberg and Best Original Screenplay for Bruce Joel Rubin whilst Swayze and Moore both received Golden Globe Award nominations for their performances.


The movie and the musical features The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody – made famous by the well-known pottery scene – and will be featured alongside many more terrific songs co-written by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart.


This production contains gunshots, smoke, loud bangs and strobe lighting so is suitable for over 12s and tickets range from £45–£10 with discounts available.


Performance times:


Tue 29 Jan 7:30pm

Wed 30 Jan 2:15pm

Wed 30 Jan 7:30pm

Thu 31 Jan 2:15pm

Thu 31 Jan 7:30pm

Fri 1 Feb 7:30pm

Sat 2 Feb 2:15pm

Sat 2 Feb 7:30pm


Book Tickets via the box office here:

https://www.curveonline.co.uk/whats-on/shows/ghost-the-musical/






By midlandsmovies, Dec 28 2018 07:36PM



Spider-Man 2: Another World


Directed by Joey Lever


From its Marvel-esque introductory logo, the love for the comic-book web-slinger is seen from the outset in new fan film Spider-Man 2: Another World from Leicester filmmaker Joey Lever.


The film is the director’s follow up to his first successful outing with Peter Parker called Spider-Man: Lost Cause which has already racked up a phenomenal 36 million (!) views on YouTube (watch here).


Here in his latest we get a film filled with nods to the iconic superhero but one with a very much distinctive local flavour having been unashamedly filmed (and actually set) in my home town of Leicester.


The story sees Peter Parker (writer-director-star Joey Lever) attempt to balance his hectic life once more, whilst his friend Eddie Brock (Jak Beasley) having been sectioned away in the mad-house from the previous flick “Lost Cause”. The film opens with a meteorite hitting earth ensuring that we are firmly in Venom territory as well and the movie also weaves many fan favourites including Mary-Jane and Aunt May into a slightly confusing narrative about revenge and payback.


Different styles are used from comic book panels, news reports and nods to social media whilst the filmmaker has used impressive special effects to create the feeling of swinging through Leicester’s “skyscrapers” (albeit the city’s old hotels and council buildings).


Peter then encounters a mysterious being known as Madam Webb. She is capable of warping time and dimensions and although much is set up in this film, this is only the first part of a 2-part tale and several pieces of the puzzle appear to be left open for continuation.


We end on a glimpse into the multi-verse (a kind of visually equal quantum realm) which talks about the nature of different iterations of Spider-Man from different realities to fictional versions. And it is these knowing nods that make the film very self-referential. It regularly refers back to itself and its influences as a fan film – a nice admission which helps cover the low budget nature and some rough-around-the-edges acting.


The intentional comedy continues with its British flavour with an extraordinate amount of tea being drunk and plenty of hilarious quips, comments and more than a splattering of silly action.


Shots filmed at Leicester’s High Cross shopping centre and the city’s Cathedral maintain the local feel but small items like a canvas of New York City reminds the audience of the classic origins. Also of note are the efforts the filmmakers have gone to in showing Spider-Man’s high-flying antics. Web-crawling is kept mostly to a minimum but where possible there are more than admirable attempts to get up high in the city through drone shots, sequences on roof-tops and some clever framing angles to show Spidey in a city environment.


There are also some very impressive first-person shots that I’m not entirely sure I know how were done!


If there was one area for improvement it would be the story. Narrative threads stop-and-start, and characters appear without fully being introduced leaving newcomers a bit perplexed with the many people being thrown onto the screen one after the other.


But the multiple characters and story strands do actually support the swiftness of the film’s pace. Fast editing and a style that mimics modern blockbusters keep this pace and, more importantly, the interest up. It’s very easy for a low-budget film to drag out a short story into a feature film runtime but Another World is crammed full of sequences that are fun, inventive and make the best of its low-budget but passionate filmmaking techniques.


The CGI and practical special effects are generally good and Joey Lever is very expressive without saying a lot as Peter Parker. I may be biased about the film’s setting in Leicester, but the familiar sites of my city are well filmed, the cinematography excellent and these varied locations again keep scenes visually interesting.


With a short teaser for part 2 at the film’s conclusion, the best of Spider-Man 2: Another World may be yet to come. Despite some low budget limitations, this local fan film is lots of fun and I can recommend it not just for die-hard web-slinger fans, or comic-book aficionados, but for anyone who enjoys exciting entertainment with a blockbuster vibe with plenty of action joy to be found within.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Nov 19 2018 07:37AM

Movie themed events at Leicester Comedy Fest 2019


I swear it comes round quicker every year but it certainly gets bigger and better every year, so here we are once again providing you with some of the highlights of Leicester’s infamous Comedy Festival.


Running from Wednesday 6th February to Sunday 24th February 2019 the festival hosts a whole cavalcade of excellent events across the city in a now amazing 70 (!) venues.


And whilst there are comedy and hilarious shows of all types and genres – with something for everyone – as always we have checked out the festival programme to bring you a list of the best of the festival shows with a movie or cinematic theme for our film buff readers out there.


Without further ado please check out these fantastic looking events and for more shows and to purchase tickets please head to http://www.comedy-festival.co.uk/




The Big Lewbowski: Presented by Edy Hurst and Cinema Para-Discount

Attenborough Arts Centre

9th February

Cinema Para-Discount is a film night like no other, comedians are given the chance to create an interactive screening that enhances a film of their choice. Edy Hurst is an award-winning musical comedian. Armed with a guitar, loop pedal and assortment of DIY props, he'll be providing comic commentary on his favourite film, The Big Lebowski. Watch and help Edy bring the film to life with an alternate sound track and interactive games.




Robin Hood and the Revolting Peasants

The Y Theatre

10th February

With no less than 2 films related to the infamous Midlands legend heading our way in 2018, come join Robin, Little John, Maid Marion and Friar Tuck as they take on some of their hardest challenges to date: A conniving king, a sinister sheriff and a downtrodden village of peasants who's 'get up and go' has got up and gone. Can the merry band teach the baddies a lesson? The villagers to revolt? The world to sing? Find out when Oddsocks rumble in with the adventures of this legendary folk hero in a show for all the family. Suitable for ages 7+




The Just Us League: Improvengers Assemble

Grays @LCB Depot

10th February

IMPROVENGERS ASSEMBLE: The UK's premiere nerd-comedy duo, The Just Us League, bring their brand new show to Leicester Comedy Festival. Improvengers Assemble is the fully improvised Marvel-based comedy show. All the heroes. All the villains. Your story.




Nathan Cassidy: My Shawshank Redemption

The Cookie

14th February

On the film's 25th anniversary, award-winning comedian Cassidy with a stand-up show to the soundtrack of a masterpiece. Love can hold you prisoner. Crawling through sh*t can set you free. Happy Valentine's Day! 'Relentlessly laugh out loud, hilarious.' Edinburgh Eve News 2018 'Stormingly good' Kate Copstick 2018 'Piercingly sarcastic jibes have a touch of Stewart Lee' Chortle 2017




Rik Carranza: Star Trek vs Star Wars

O’Neills

14th February

The hit film-related show of Edfringe 2016, 2017 and 2018 comes to Leicester! Rik Carranza guides two comedians through the ultimate comedy panel show that boldly goes to a galaxy far, far away. Kirk vs Solo, Klingon vs Wookie, Neelix vs Jar Jar Binks? There can only be one winner and you, the audience, decide. 'Exceptionally nerdy and hysterically funny' FringeBiscuit.co.uk 'Fun for geeks and all' **** Voice Mag.




Action Figure Archive with Steve McLean

Grays @LCB Depot

17th February

Steve opens his old toy box and rediscovers your faves from He-Man, Transformers, Star Wars and many more (about three more). Remember when toys were better? Your memory might be playing tricks on you. Action Figure Archive is a hit with audiences and the critics alike - ''A hilarious walk down memory lane'' The Scotland Herald, ''A fun examination of nostalgia and nerdiness'' Wired Magazine. "Geeks and nerds unite in this fun show" Geek-List.




The Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Attenborough Arts Centre

21st/22nd/23rd February

Amazing tales elegantly told. Made into an 80s cult classic by ex-Python Terry Gilliam, this version of the tale has top award-winning comedians and improvisors telling extravagant stories all based on the Adventures of Baron Munchausen. There will be swords, and duels, and elephants and castles built of cheese, and all of it is completely and irrefutably true. Leicester Comedy Festival "Best Children's Show 2018" Nominee.




Hats off to Laurel & Hardy

The Guildhall

22nd February

With the new Midlands-made and Steve Coogan-starring film from John Baird soon to be released, the award-winning Lucky Dog bring their internationally renowned biopic about the best-loved comedy duo of all-time back to Leicester Guildhall. Widely regarded as being the most accurate show ever written about The Boys, it is the closest thing you can get to seeing the original pair in action. Be prepared to laugh your socks off before having your heart broken.




Comedy Film Show – Some Like it Hot

Harborough Theatre

22nd February

Some Like It Hot (12) (1959) Director: Billy Wilder. Starring: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon. After witnessing a Mafia murder, slick saxophone player Joe (Tony Curtis) and his long-suffering buddy, Jerry (Jack Lemmon), improvise a quick plan to escape from Chicago with their lives in the comedic cinema classic. Disguising themselves as women, they join an all-female jazz band and hop a train bound for sunny Florida. 116 mins.




Comedy Film Show – Blues Brothers

Harborough Theatre

22nd February

The Blues Brothers (15). After the release of Jake Blues (John Belushi) from prison, he and brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) learn the Archdiocese will stop supporting their former school and will sell the place to the Education Authority. The only way to keep the place open is if the $5000 tax on the property is paid. The Blues Brothers want to help and decide to put their blues band back together and raise the money by staging a big gig. 142mins




David Benson Q & A: My Life with Kenneth Williams

The Angel Hotel

24th February

Join actor/comedian David Benson and Festival Director Geoff Rowe, as they chat about David's admiration of comedy Carry On legend Kenneth Williams. David's semi-autobiographical, award-winning show "Think No Evil Of Us" has become a regular fixture on the UK theatre circuit, and London's West End, and this talk will help reveal how David's unusual childhood led to an extraordinary connection with the Carry On star. Price includes afternoon tea.




The Laurel & Hardy Cabaret

The Guidhall

23rd/24th February

This spin-off cabaret is a bumper package of routines, sketches, songs and dances from The Boys' lengthy career which you won't find in the biopic. Including all their Music Hall scripts from their UK Tours between 1947-1954 and a lot of other rare material, it's the closest you will get to seeing the original pair in action.


Mike Sales



By midlandsmovies, Sep 28 2018 02:33PM



Leicester animators involved in National Animation Competition AniJam UK


The public can now vote for their favourite animation created as part of AniJam UK, the first ever nationwide 48-hour animation challenge, which includes two groups from Leicester.


This summer, teams across the UK took up the challenge to create a short animation in a weekend, based on the theme ‘Together’. More than 100 animators took part, and now the shortlisted teams are battling it out to claim exclusive prizes and special trophies.


The competition is brought to you by Anim18 and WONKY Films. Anim18 is a UK-wide celebration of British animation led by Film Hub Wales and Chapter (Cardiff), with the BFI Film Audience Network and a wealth of project partners.


The series of AniJams takes inspiration from previous events delivered in the South West of England since 2012 by WONKY and Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival. This year they are extending nationally and the challenge will culminate in a prize-giving event at Manchester Animation Festival.


Each of the seven regions approached it from a different angle and were created over the summer in Belfast (with Nerve Centre), Bristol (with Encounters), Cardiff (with CHAPTER), Glasgow (with Glasgow Short Film Festival/World of Film Festival), Leicester (with Phoenix), London (with Rich Mix & Young Fan), Manchester (with Manchester Animation Festival) and York (with Aesthetica Short Film Festival).


You can help to decide the winner of the Public Choice award with voting closing on the 31st October 2018 by clicking here http://anijam.co.uk/latest-jam


Animators aged 18+ competed for free in teams of up to 5 people, creating an original film based on a theme that was kept secret until the challenge kicked off. The short films are in a range of animation styles, from 15 to 90 seconds in length.


As well as the Public Choice Award, there will be a Grand Prix selected by a panel of industry experts, including representatives from key UK film and animation festivals, studios and organisations such as BAFTA Cymru and the BFI. Prizes include bespoke trophies created by Animation Toolkit, delegate tickets to key UK festivals, and distribution by ShortsTV – ‘the global home of short movies’.


AniJam UK aims to inspire and showcase new work from emerging and established talent and the regional heats took place in cities around the UK hosted in the Midlands by partners including Derby QUAD and Leicester Phoenix.


Hana Lewis of Film Hub Wales says, “We are thrilled that an eclectic range of UK exhibitors, from venues to film festivals, are coming together to develop new animations during Anim18, merging film watching, making and understanding as part of one celebratory programme.”


Two of the local films can be seen below:


‘Together’ by Kino Bino, Leicester was made by Mair Bain, Oz Durose, Steff Lee and Jack Ross






Together’ by Tender Morsels, Leicester was created by Tim Greengrass, Claire Larkin, Alex Morgan, Mark Spokes and Steve Umanee






By midlandsmovies, Sep 17 2018 08:29AM



Midlands Review - Vigilante Style (2018)


Dir. Edward James Smith


A Pictured Visions Production


Vigilante Style is a new independent feature film written, directed and starring regional filmmaker Edward James Smith. Starting out as a short film all the way back in 2013, the filmmaker developed sequences over many years which eventually became this feature-length production.


The film begins with the “Our Feature Presentation” logo from Tarantino’s Kill Bill and Grindhouse and this ‘Funky Fanfare’ combined with a fast-paced montage a la Guy Ritchie hints where the filmmaker’s influences lie.


It starts by using voiceover as it flashes backwards and forwards in time concerning events from 10 years ago and how they affect the present. Vigilante Gilmer Diamond (Edward James Smith himself) is captured by Alex Steele (Jon Peet) and with revenge on almost everyone’s mind and a wide set of criminal characters, the movie tries to balance multiple story threads in a seedy tale of deception.


However, that is easier said than done. Characters are not fully introduced or fleshed out and the story becomes a mix of confusing tales all explained using expositional dialogue.


And it’s unfortunate as the dialogue is one of the problems here owing to a sound mix that varies so wildly it’s difficult to concentrate on the matters on screen. With amazing HD cameras available, it’s such a shame to see a film with a lot of potential undermine itself with poorly recorded audio. And although the acting verges on being suitably over the top, all the performances are undercut by that poor audio production.


As characters get their comeuppance and gangs cross-paths with each other, we see an increase in violence with fights, shootouts and even a cricket bat making an appearance. Because it was filmed over many years (it was one of our first blogs back in 2014), maybe the filmmaker’s focus changed and so the movie’s broken narrative reflects those altered ambitions.



I enjoyed the Leicester locations of my home town and it was great to see the filmmakers utilise so many varied buildings and streets around the city to keep a variety to the proceedings. Yet filming around the city exacerbates the sound issues with city traffic, background hums and windy alleys all causing their own issues.


Smith throws in a lot of varied techniques in his fast-paced film though. Voice-over, freeze frames and subtitles are added to his guerrilla filmmaking style and the use of chapter titles again show a nod to Tarantino. Yet the good editing is undermined by a lack of cinematography as a huge percentage of the film looks like mobile-phone footage at times.


But in reality it keeps coming back to sound – at times a decent soundtrack is used from artists like Suicide Bees, Blake J. Carpenter and Soul Release – but the dialogue and conversations need much more work. Better mixing and some ADR would go a long way – especially with the voiceover – and improve the viewing experience 10-fold.


Clearly a passion project, it has the vibe and seemingly the budget of a student film and it wears its b-movie credentials proudly on its sleeves. In many respects it seems more like a film that was good fun to make and I admired the passion of a group of friends getting a project together. However, willing friends doing you a lot of favours is one thing, trying to pull it together over a number of years is another.


And so, although it’s all undertaken with a lot of devotion you just have to try and ignore the lack of technical expertise. A number of different quality issues – some sections underlit, others overlit – continue to show a lack of consistency and ultimately it pays the price of its cheap shortcuts.


Maybe it’s a case of running before it can walk. Vigilante Style has flashes of editing and story proficiency but they are drowned out by some sloppiness and that one fatal flaw I keep coming back to – the sound and its design.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, even with a low budget a filmmaker needs to know what their budget is, and of course the limitations that brings. It’s a badge of honour to say you’ve made a feature film but sometimes the filmmaker is stretching that little bit too far with the resources at hand.


Expanding what I would imagine was an inventive short into a full feature is no easy task and Vigilante Style shows that good intentions can only go so far with a passionate but slapdash approach. More Neil Breen than David Lean, Smith has stretched a short concept to breaking point and only the most hardcore exploitation fans need apply.


Mike Sales


By midlandsmovies, Aug 24 2018 07:23AM

Thursday (2018)


Directed by Glenn McAllen-Finney


GM Finney Productions


Opening with a tied up and handcuffed female covered in blood, Thursday, the new film from Glenn McAllen-Finney, throws the audience straight into scenes of scary violence and life or death terror in this new Midlands crime drama.


With the use of a handheld camera technique and washed out colour palette, a mysterious man torments his captive with a monologue of evil intentions. And given her situation, it’s not long before fists are flying as she defies his demands not to scream in an attempt to escape. But how did these people get here and what are the enigmatic numbers he is demanding from his hostage?


Not shying from brutal scenes, Thursday concerns itself with Jade (played by Kelly McCormack) who is interrogated about an unknown set of secret numbers believed to be received from her deceased father. We are told these are needed in order to open a case with important company documents. Recalling the Tom Berenger/Cillian Murphy scene from Inception (movie-geek here knows them as 528491) this film may also be harking back to that movie with its use of an expressive orchestral score.


Although this is a nice change of musical tone for a local film and attempts to give the short some gravitas, it unfortunately sometimes moves scenes into melodrama. At more than one point, it overpowers the interesting conflicts which also may be down to a slightly muddled sound mix, and drowns out the all-important dialogue.


The tormentor however is played with spiteful malice by Sam Winterton who delivers a great, if slightly sometime over-the-top, Bond-villain style performance that captures a nasty menace punctuated with loud verbal outbursts.


More Nolan influences are seen in the film’s narrative structure. Whilst opening on the cell-based conversation, the film flashes forward and backward in time. When it does, the film’s colour palette changes to a much more natural colour – twisting the traditional black-and-white style and throwing the audience out of any cinematic familiarity.


Back in the past, we see a vibrant house party which begins to explain some of the events leading to the current predicament. With the surprising return of her father to the party, he demands she takes responsibility for her life and then exits quickly leaving us intrigued as to his intentions.


Containing a very different tone and style to the director’s previous film The Rockman, McFinney-Allen has moved from cheaper b-movie sci-fi thrills with this more mature drama. And done with some flair too. Whilst the film relies a bit too heavily of dialogue exposition – story beats are unashamedly spelled out for you – the filmmaker however uses his skills to avoid low budget pitfalls to get a lot of information over in the short 20-minute runtime. And as we shuffle back to the cell, some hidden truths are uncovered before the revelation of the numbers become clear in a satisfying conclusion.


With influences from Tarantino – McCormack is literally stuck in the middle with you throughout and we see the arrival of authorities towards the film’s conclusion – as well as Christopher Nolan, the filmmaker has tried to sprinkle some style from Hollywood genre flicks into a local film. A table-turning ending leaves the short with the audience wanting more and the film certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome.


With a bevy of strong performances, a mix of genre influences from the highbrow to the sleazy, Thursday ends up being an ambitious short which, whilst not always hitting its mark, is a first-rate film from a filmmaker developing his talents into much more complex and interesting territory.


Mike Sales


By midlandsmovies, Aug 20 2018 07:24AM



Midlands Spotlight - The Short Cinema 2018


Kicking off even earlier in the summer holidays this year is Leicester’s The Short Cinema film festival. So early in fact, that we were away on holiday when the amazing festival, which started in a local pub many moons ago, began its full summer programme!


As regular attendees, the festival has been a hotbed of local talent in 2017, 2016 and even further back but this 12th edition is bigger than ever before.


Running from Wednesday 15th to Saturday 25th August the festival has expanded beyond its early “local shorts” remit to include the finest short films from across the globe as well as features and specific evenings based around varied topics.


With the launch incorporating an evening screening of Pin Cushion with Q & A from the film’s director – we also spoke to Deborah Haywood here – the festival is off to a positive start and highlights of the week’s events are listed below:


Film / The Short Cinema: International Programme Mon 20 Aug, 7pm – Tickets £4

See some of the best short films from across the globe in our international programme. This year, our International Programme will bring with it another fascinating selection of world cinema.


Film / The Short Cinema: Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Shorts Tue 21 Aug, 7pm – Tickets £4

The international renowned festival, held in Cardiff each October, has become known as the most prestigious LGBTQ+ specialised film event in the world.


Film / The Short Cinema: Lives in Sign Language Tue 21 Aug, 6.30pm | Tickets £4

In partnership with London Short Film Festival we present a selection of thought provoking archive and contemporary short films which bring stories about D/deaf culture and experience to the big screen.


Free Event / The Short Cinema: BFI NETWORK Talent Mixer Wed 22 Aug – Free Event

BFI NETWORK brings together the UK's film agencies to discover, develop and fund new and emerging writers, directors and producers. Join us for drinks and networking.


Film / The Short Cinema: BFI Network Shorts Wed 22 Aug, 8pm – Free

BFI Network brings together the UK's film agencies to discover, develop and fund new and emerging writers, directors and producers. Check out the competition by attending this free screening of BFI NETWORK funded shorts.



Film / The Short Cinema: Intersectional Feminism + Panel Thu 23 Aug, 6.30pm – Tickets £4

In a time when #metoo and #timesup are so heavily in the public conscious, we explore the concept of intersectional feminism through the medium of short film. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion including curators, creatives and filmmakers.


Film / The Short Cinema: British Shorts Fri 24 Aug, 7pm – Tickets £6

What does it mean to be British in 2018? Comedy, drama and horror come together to showcase individuals, communities and stories from our nation.


Film / The Short Cinema: Family Shorts - There's No Place Like Home Sat 25 Aug, 10.30am – Free

A collection of stories about kinship and belonging, curated by Flatpack Festival. Suitable for ages 4 and above, the programme showcases the best of international animation.


Closing Gala / The Short Cinema: Midlands Showcase Sat 25 Aug, 7pm – Tickets £6

The big kahuna, bringing you the best in shorts from the Midlands and celebrating the talent who made them. We’ll announce the 2018 award winners before our annual “wrap party”.


For full information on each night and to buy tickets for this fantastic selection of local film delights, please go to the festival website here: https://www.phoenix.org.uk/event/the-short-cinema/





By midlandsmovies, Jul 15 2018 08:06AM



Movie makers shine bright at Leicester charity film gala


Saturday 14th July saw a fantastic evening of films, fun and fundraising as Rajnish Sharma Films and Whatsername Productions presented a collection of some of the newest short films and local filmmakers at the Leicester Short Film Gala.


With red carpet glamour, all proceeds from the night would be donated to Leicester’s YMCA charity. The gala was hosted at their Y theatre which is the oldest and only surviving Victorian theatre in the city and the evening began with a reminder of the great work they do to help with homelessness in the area.


As well as the money raised tonight, they are currently running a Challenge 135 campaign where they are asking 135 local businesses to donate £135 in honour of their 135 year-old anniversary. (Find out more about this great cause on their site by clicking here).


However, the full film showcase quickly began and was hosted by Dean Presto. He stirringly introduced a night of five separate films which was followed by question and answer sessions after the screenings to discuss the productions with each of the films’ directors.





First up was Fabletown that was a black and white drama with a hint of fairy tale lore about it. With a Sin City-esque monochrome palette populated by flashes of bright colour, it mixed a dark film noir aesthetic with fantasy influences. With hints to the big bad wolf and Little Red Riding Hood via Dorothy’s adventures in Oz, the mix of light and dark was a great tonal choice and set the mood for the rest of the night.




Up next was Rajnish Sharma’s Ascension which we have covered on Midlands Movies in the past. This post-apocalyptic thriller shows a barricaded man who is haunted by past demons as he tries to save himself from a dangerous world outside.


Covering themes of selfishness, regret and survival the director explained the difficulties of filming with a low budget during his interview segment. But he also highly praised the hard work and passion of local film crews to get such fantastic projects finished at all.




Following this was comedy sketch Parenthood from Flip You Productions. We had also come across Parenthood before at The Short Cinema screening in 2016.


This story about the joys of taking your child to the park twisted a simple tale into something much darker and the audience responded to its short 2-minute runtime with howls of laughter. With a great atmosphere and appreciative crowd we headed into the interval on an entertaining high with people anxious for the final two films coming up.


At the break, the filmmakers and fans were encouraged to network and fellow organisers Kelly McCormack and Charlotte Roper showed no signs of nervousness given the strong audience reactions to the show’s first half.



Midlands Movies Mike, Charlotte Roper and Rajnish Sharma
Midlands Movies Mike, Charlotte Roper and Rajnish Sharma

After buying tickets to the event’s charity raffle and wetting our whistles, we returned to the auditorium and took our seats ready for the second half which started with dramatic mood-piece Thursday.




The longest of the evening, Thursday is from Leicester’s GM Finney Productions who won Best Special Effects for their film The Rockman at this year’s Midlands Movies Awards. Switching from their sci-fi success to a more sombre drama, the film told the story of a young woman who, after suffering a personal loss, finds herself in a life or death situation in order to keep her family legacy alive.


With an orchestral score, flashes of violence and some terrific performances, Thursday’s director Glenn McAllen-Finney described how the shooting was surprisingly easy. This was despite the frustrations of difficult weather and the ‘less-than-regular’ route to gain a suitable location for the film’s hostage sequences.




Last but certainly not least was Eve from Rajnish Sharma Films, a dark psychological horror showing a young woman getting ready for a night out to meet friends. Starring the talented Leicester actress Eve Harding, her character finds herself excitedly preparing for her evening, only to be caught in a metaphorical loop that is frustrating and frightening in equal measure.




With huge rounds of applause the screenings ended with all the filmmakers given credit for their hard work and the night properly concluded with the draw of the charity raffle. With exciting prizes to be won including tickets to Leicester’s well known The Short Cinema event coming up in August – and our very own Midlands Movies Mystery Box (!) – the night was a fantastic success for all those involved.




An evening of laughs and thought-provoking shorts, the night showcased not only some tremendously creative films but proudly demonstrated the strong film community prevalent in my home town. With strong support from cast and crews across all the productions, Leicester’s low-budget filmmakers showed a great level of cooperation and it was encouraging to witness an audience with an appetite for independent shorts.


Finally, with a good cause at its heart and a whole host of shared enthusiasm between the organisers and attendees, the adoring film fans meant that the Short Film Gala was a huge success from start to finish.


Midlands Movies Mike


Please check out more about the films on the links in the article




Midlands Movies Mike and Kelly McCormack
Midlands Movies Mike and Kelly McCormack

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