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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

By midlandsmovies, Jul 11 2018 02:00AM

Quite simply, here is our ongoing and updated list of Film Festivals in the Midlands (2018 edition):


• THE SHORT CINEMA http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk info@theshortcinema.co.uk Phoenix, Leicester - August 20 – 25, 2018


• NOTTINGHAM MICRO FILM FESTIVAL Twitter @FilmNottingham http://www.nimfestival.com/ 8-10 March 2018


• INDIE-LINCS - March 15-18 2018 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 16 -22 2018


• LEICESTER DOCFILM FEST https://twitter.com/docfilmfestival Contact John Coster November 2018


• BORDERLINES FEST http://www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk UK's largest rural film festival. Herefordshire/Shropshire - 23rd February - 11th March 2018


• BIRMINGHAM FILM FEST - November 22 – 25 2018 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/Birminghamfilmfestival


• BIFF FEST (Black International Film Fest) https://www.biffestival.co.uk 2018 dates TBC


• SHOCK AND GORE FESTIVAL http://www.shockandgore.co.uk The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, July. Contact david@theelectric.co.uk or https://twitter.com/shockgore July 27 to Aug 5 2018


• DEAFFEST http://www.deaffest.co.uk The UK's International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Wolverhampton. Contact info@light-house.co.uk Friday 17th to Sunday 19th May 2019


• THE UK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL LEICESTER - http://tonguesonfire.com/ 15 March - 31 March 2018


• SHOUT FESTIVAL http://shoutfestival.co.uk Birmingham Dates TBC for 2018


• DERBY FILM FESTIVAL http://www.derbyfilmfestival.co.uk 4th - 13th MAY 2018


• 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 11 October - 14 October 2018


• FLATPACK FEST - Birmingham, UK. http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk 13 - 22 April 2018


• EAST ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL http://www.eastwindsfilmfest.com May 2018


• BEESTON FILM FESTIVAL - https://twitter.com/BeestonFilm 8th - 11th March 2018


• SHROPSHIRE RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/midlands-zone 5th - 7th October 2018


• GRINDHOUSE PLANET - www.grindhouseplanet.com November 2018 TBC


* BOTTLESMOKE FILM FESTIVAL - https://www.facebook.com/BottleSmokeStoke Stoke on Trent, 8th - 9th September 2018


* POCKET FILM FESTIVAL (Unseen cinema) http://www.unseencinema.co.uk/pocket-film-festival-2018/ Stafford 12-17 March 2018


* BIRMINGHAM HORROR GROUP - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/birmingham-horror-group-mini-movie-marathon-25-march-2018-tickets-41683231668 Mini-Movie Marathon Mini-Movie 25 March 2018


* SHROPSHIRE'S FIRST WORLD WAR FILM FESTIVAL https://twitter.com/wilfredowen100 Oct/Nov TBC 2018


* THE BRAVE BLACK BIRD FILM FEST Wolverhampton https://ajayhackett2113.wixsite.com/bbff Wolverhampton 25th Feb 2019 (submissions until July 2018)


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


* NOTTINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL Hothouse Theatre Nottingham https://twitter.com/NottmFilmFest 8th July 2018


* THE VENUE LINCOLN FILM FESTIVAL Lincolnshire https://www.thevenuelincoln.co.uk 6th - 8th July 2018


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


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 8 2018 05:27PM



Leicester filmmakers to be showcased at Midlands charity film gala


Midlands Movies Mike speaks to Kelly McCormack who is one of the producers of a new Leicester event coming up in July which will feature a range of regional short films.


Presented by Rajnish Sharma Films and Whatsername Productions a new film event takes place on July 14th 2018 with a charity screening of some of the newest short films and filmmakers in Leicester.


Promising a night that cannot be missed, Kelly explains that this will be an evening of red carpet glamour, movies and entertainment. With all proceeds going towards the YMCA charity, Kelly goes on to discuss how the preparations for event is going with just a week to go.


“We’ve been planning since September of last year but as we’ve got closer we’re now at full throttle with ticket sales and getting ready to show 5 brilliant short films”.


She goes on to say, “The films range from 1 minute to 18 minutes long with contributions from Rajnish Sharma, Mike Yeoman, G M Finney Productions and more”.


“We’ll be doing a raffle as well and all money raised is going to charity. Plus The Y Theatre is a great place so hopefully people will get an amazing experience in a fantastic venue”.


Built in 1900, the Y Theatre is the oldest surviving Victorian theatre in Leicester. It’s also a community focused non-profit and a bustling live performance venue providing a range of recreational programmes and performance for all ages.


“There will be a public vote on the evening too and a winner announced. And we hope to bring a lot of filmmakers together and give them an opportunity they may not have had”, adds Kelly.


The event will be a formal black-tie event with red carpet photos on arrival, the film screenings as well as question and answer sessions with the directors themselves.


Concluding with a charity raffle with exciting prizes, tickets are available and if purchased before 14th July are only £10 (£11.37 with Eventbrite).


Full price tickets will be available at £15 on the door and all seating is unreserved.


Venue information: Y Theatre (YMCA), 7 East Street, Leicester, LE1 6EY


TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-short-film-gala-tickets-43074484944?aff=efbeventtix


FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/2053434741538285/



By midlandsmovies, May 31 2018 06:33AM



Midlands Spotlight - Ambitious short seeks support with new campaign


A group of Leicester based filmmakers have begun their crowdfunding campaign to finance their highly ambitious short film, being produced in partnership with Creative Media Skills (CMS) at Pinewood Studios.


The Nail That Sticks Out tells the story of Aiko, a controversial Japanese artist living in the UK, who is struggling to complete her latest collection. Her muse and girlfriend, Elisabeth, faces her own pressures dealing with her fledgling acting career. The journey to Aiko’s final masterpiece takes in passion, lust, obsession and shows no sign of a happy ending.


With a majority of the crew Masters students at De Montfort University, eight of which are studying International Film Production and one Digital Arts student, the group have received training from some of the biggest names in the British film industry.


This includes Iain Smith (Producer of Mad Max: Fury Road, Children of Men), Chris Kenny (Producer of Batman, Empire of the Sun), Gareth Unwin (Producer of The King’s Speech) and Terry Bamber (Production Manager on Casino Royale, Skyfall). The crowdfunding campaign is now live and runs for 30 days with a goal of raising £4,000 to support the production of the film. The ‘Asia extreme’-inspired short film will begin production towards the end of July and will be shot in Nottingham, Leicester and Loughborough.


Iain Smith spoke of his anticipation for the film: “The Nail That Sticks Out is an extraordinary and exciting project. It’s being made by a wonderful, energetic and creative team of student filmmakers. It has been a great pleasure to work with them at CMS; in particular Rebekah (Writer), Jordan (Director) and Jamie (Producer) who have huge talents. I predict they will go far.”


Jordan Dean’s previously spoke to Midlands Movies (click here) and two of his short films have been Official Selections at the Los Angeles Cine Fest, the $2 Dollar International Film Festival in New York and the Move Me Productions International Film Festival in Antwerp. His film Behind the Lens was nominated for a Midlands Movies Award in 2018 and his last film Not Alone recently won the Best Short Film award at the Direct Monthly Online Short Film Festival.


Jamie Ball, the film’s producer, said: “I feel that there is nowhere near enough varied representation of female and LGBT+ characters on screen, something I'm really passionate about. I'm pleased that the first film I'm producing addresses these issues, while at the same time telling a new and interesting story."


The cast and crew include award-winning Director Jordan Dean, award-winning actress Natsumi Kuroda, and Midlands Movies Award nominated composer Peter Flint. The cast and crew are all passionate about telling stories that showcase diversity.


The crowdfunding campaign can be found at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-nail-that-sticks-out-short-film-horror-drama/x/18734609#/





By midlandsmovies, May 27 2018 09:44AM



Midlands Spotlight - Summer Nights Film 2018


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

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

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


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


East Midlands


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


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


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


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


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


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



West Midlands:


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


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


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


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





By midlandsmovies, May 26 2018 09:40AM



Martin Sharpe Is Sorry


Directed by Lee Tomes & Daley Francis


Bang Average Films (2018)


“Two Academy Award Nominations. Too many allegations...”


This new 3-minute short comes from Midlands filmmakers Bang Average Films who previously impressed us with their comedy film Careering earlier this year.


They take a sharp turn here with a far more multi-layered drama about sexual harassment in the media which marks a stark contrast between their previous light-hearted effort and the serious subject matter we see here.


The short begins with a man (Dean Kilbey as actor Martin Sharpe) inside a hotel room staring blankly as he hears news reports about a famous man accused of sexual misconduct.


We are quickly to assume that this coverage is about him and this is confirmed as his PR agent starts to discuss with him the various options to mitigate the issues. With the #MeToo movement raising awareness in real life, the film approaches this difficult topic head on but throws in some controversial perspectives as well.


The strangely brown colour palette mutes some of the harsher themes at play and the film takes further risks with a rather comedic performance from Helen Lewis as Jane. This was an interesting direction to take and didn’t entirely work for me but at around the half way point there is a particular shift into more a more sombre and dark tone.


As she proposes the different options to the star including a non-confirming announcement that his judgment was impaired, Martin asks, “when did everything change?” Of another time, the film asks the audience to question how modern values have shifted from more previous “acceptable” times of the past. Combined with his protestations of innocence one could even suggest the film creates a tiny amount of sympathy.


However, this is dashed immediately as it contrasts with Martin’s statement, “I used to do anything I wanted” further complicating the issue and setting the audience in opposition to his big-headed arrogance.


As they work through which PR route to take – interviews, charity donations – the aforementioned tonal change occurs when Jane raises the subject of “aggressive allegations”. Jane’s previously jovial demeanour rotates 180 degrees with her acute question, capturing Martin off guard.


Martin’s “tart’s pants” comment continues to play with the audience’s mind whereby his adamant denial conflicts with his dismissive sexism and chauvinism.


Is it defending an innocent man’s accusations with a comment on witch-hunting and principles from another time? Or is it taking a moral standpoint that with clever media and PR you can spin these genuine victim claims into gossip and hearsay?


Well, the film leaves the audience to decide somewhat and a final shot of Martin entering a lift is juxtaposed with a raft of voices spinning through his mind with more (and multiple) accusations.


Tackling difficult themes, Martin Sharpe Is Sorry is not entirely successful with an uneven tone but its script and performances will make audiences contemplate the problematic subject matter in a world of spin and soundbites. But make no mistake, you’ll be thinking about the issues it raises far beyond the confines of its short runtime.


Midlands Movies Mike


Watch the full short below:






By midlandsmovies, May 16 2018 04:21PM



Midlands Spotlight - Phoenix Access Cinema


As part of Deaf Awareness Week 2018 Midlands Movies catches up with Josh Senior who is the Cinema Programme Assistant at Phoenix Leicester. We talk to Josh about their recent crowd-funding campaign to assist those with hearing impairments as part of their Access Cinema programme.


In December 2017, Phoenix Leicester launched a fundraising campaign to buy 26 new amplified headsets to help more people with sight and hearing loss enjoy films at the cinema.


Phoenix Leicester has an infrared system in both their main screens which allows people with a sight or hearing loss to use a personal headset to hear the film audio described alongside the action in the film or to hear an amplified dialogue track.


Midlands Movies were proud to donate £200 towards the Phoenix’s campaign and the target goal of £2000 was reached in January 2018 with the support of Leicester City Council and a host of other generous donors.


With the success of the campaign they have increased the number of headsets so can now cater to even more people including guide dog groups, social groups and special educational needs school groups.


Josh Senior explains, “As part of our regular programme we build in films that audio description tracks and subtitles. As well as that, the headsets can be used for amplification also”.


“We are building upon this in the future whereby our website will be able to highlight even more films where the technology is available”, continues Josh. “This all ties in with the expansion of the Phoenix in 2020 where two new screens will be available to allow greater access for those with additional needs”.


Phoenix Leicester has regular subtitled films on Tuesday evenings and also provides Autism-friendly screenings on a regular basis. Josh goes on to say the cinema works closely with others in the region, especially with Film Hub Midlands.


“Staff attend workshops and training around accessibility for cinema which keeps us up to date of the current challenges. And the BFI shares knowledge to help us find ways to provide solutions”.


Through Access Cinema, Phoenix Leicester hopes to bring people with differing access needs together to watch the best in world cinema and socialise with friends and family.


Asked about Oscar-winning Midlands film The SIlent Child Josh adds, "There's a great package called the Lives in Sign Language which covers a wide range of genres and experiences and we hope we can bring that to the Phoenix in late Summer".


Striving to keep up to date with social policy, advancements in accessible technology and best practice, the cinema also aims to provide all customers with the most enjoyable cinema experience possible. And with these new headsets they are another step on the way.


All the headsets are readily available at the Phoenix box office with additional help on hand to assist customers as required.


To find out more about Access Cinema at Phoenix Leicester then click on the What’s On section of their website:

https://www.phoenix.org.uk/access-cinema/


And for information on the appeal please click below:

https://www.phoenix.org.uk/blog/phoenix-access-cinema-appeal/


By midlandsmovies, Apr 21 2018 08:52AM



An Officer and a Gentleman at Curve Leicester


An Officer and a Gentleman starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger was a huge critical and commercial success when released in 1982 grossing $130 million and winning an Oscar for Louis Gossett Jr. for Best Supporting Actor.


This new Curve production from Nikolai Foster takes the same premise but infuses it with an 80s-flavoured soundtrack of well-known hits from the decade. Telling the story of Zack Mayo and his Navy training in Florida, the protagonist falls in love with local girl Paula whilst conflicting with a tough Sergeant during his classes.


With successes in theatre productions of big movie hits (see our reviews of Sunset Blvd. and Grease), Foster doubles down on the music to carry this production and it mostly works. Mostly.


The film opens with an adaptation of In the Army Now (most famously recorded in the UK by soft-rock icons Status Quo) but here changed to “navy” and we see the cast work well together like combat ready marines themselves.


The soft-rock continues as the story develops as we are introduced to Zack (Jonny Fines) who signs up to the Navy and forms a friendship with Sid (Ian McIntosh). Quickly they get to know girls off the barracks Paula (Emma Williams) and Lynette (Jessica Daley). The ladies’ blue collar toughness shines through as they faithfully deliver renditions of It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World and the perennial retro classic Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Their broad interpretations delivered the songs with gusto but sadly character development and drama was unfortunately side-lined for the high-energy tunes.


More fleshed out was Keisha Atwell’s Casey Seegar who channels her beautiful voice with a rough and ready performance as the sole female in the outfit. Her strong vocals even came through in the group performances as well as her solo stints.


As a member of a rock band myself, one niggle was the “power” of the cover songs themselves. Although this changed for the second act – I think the soundman found the bass, kick drum and guitar volume faders and cranked them up – part one lacked the explosiveness of the songs themselves – making them a bit bland.


The vocals were top notch throughout but the heavy Marshall-stack guitar solos, the uber-reverb and over-produced drums were nowhere to be seen. The excessive 80s were known for their “hugeness” (see the end of Foreigner’s I Want to Know What Love is) but this was sadly missing.


That said, Act 2 began with a bang and the increased production levels (and volume) of the bass on Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer was a welcomed wake-up call after the interval. Versions of Kids in America, St. Elmo’s Fire and Toy Soldiers all hit the mark whilst Madonna’s Material Girl (again, another song of excess that was expressed in its overblown music video) was a bit lacklustre.


My nit-picking of the music covers shouldn’t take away from some huge successes though. The choreography by Kate Prince is fantastic. The best being a seated sequence where the cadets mime out hand moves in front of imaginary computers. Their hard ‘logical’ movements measuring out straight lines with their arms are a mix of intensity and concentration. But soon their chaotic actions harmonize in an amazing physical representation of the de-humanizing effect on the individual in the armed forces. Amazing!


Also, despite the film’s infamous tension between the stars of the film, there is strong on-stage chemistry between Fines and Williams as well as the rest of the cast. One standout performance was Ian McIntosh’s tragic Sid and his slowed version of Hall & Oates’ Family Man was the highlight of the night, coming as it did with great neon-lit stage production of silhouettes and smoke.


In conclusion, Leicester’s Curve delivers another welcome film adaptation that gives a well-known romance a new twist with the inclusion of pop hits. Audiences will witness all hard work all the cast have put in during their rehearsals (maybe they had their own drill instructor) which means ‘Officer’ will lift your spirits up with its mix of famous tracks and a fun, if slightly workman-like, delivery.


Midlands Movies Mike


Grab tickets from the Box Office on 0116 242 3595

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