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By midlandsmovies, Jun 23 2019 02:02PM



Leicester Horror Con 2019


Ghouls, demons and creatures of the night descended upon Leicester on Saturday 22nd June 2019 for the launch of the first ever Leicester Horror Con.


Hosted by Nathan Leverton, who previously organised Leicester Comic Con, the convention took place over a number of venues. The Dark Market, a bazaar of the bizarre, was hosted at The Guildhall Museum, a notoriously haunted venue that’s ironically located a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, where ghouls fear to tread.


Vendors lined the halls, selling all manner of curios and treasures. T-shirts, collectables, more schlock and exploitation films than you can shake a severed arm at – that’s the just the tip of the bloody iceberg.




There were a number of hand-crafted products too, from gory Zombears to deliciously macabre resin sculptures of horror icons like Freddy, Jason and, er, Mr. Bean. Pins, badges, stickers, posters, even cushions – there was such a range on offer that I wish I could have bought one of everything!


The Guildhall also played host to a number of special guests, including Jared Blanchard (the best of Stephen King’s psychotic high school bullies, Henry Bowers in the original ‘IT’ miniseries), Madeline Smith (Scream Queen and Hammer Horror veteran) and the guest I was most excited to meet, Hugo Myatt. He’s only bloody Tregard from Knightmare! My inner child was jumping up and down with joy when he kindly obliged me with a couple of ‘oooh nasty!’s.


The guests weren’t the only horror legends roaming the grounds, though. Thanks to the wonderful efforts of cosplaying attendees, such luminaries as Jason Vorhees, a Maniac Cop, The Walking Dead’s Negan and even child-stealing Krampus himself stalked the grounds. It must have been extremely hot in that heavy goaty costume, I do hope they kept hydrated! There was also a delightful puppet named Barry The Bat Beaver and a trio of masked home invader straight out of You’re Next.




Firebug Bar also got in on the fun, offering themed cocktails and hosting screenings and guest talks in their upstairs rooms. They showed a wonderfully creepy short ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ about a child who meets a grisly playmate in the woods, directed by talented movie-poster-designer Thomas Hodge.


Then came a screening of House of the Gorgon, which is a love letter to Hammer Horror by low-budget auteur Joshua Kennedy – luckily they screen some (lots of) trailers for his other movies so we would be prepared for quite how tongue-in-cheek this was meant to be.


Mind you, he nailed the tone, so while it was extremely silly it was definitely entertaining, and he managed to cast legends like Caroline Munro and Christopher Neame to give it an extra ring of authenticity. Definitely go check it out! Unfortunately a sudden migraine meant I couldn’t stay for the screening of Drag Me to Hell, but I’m sure it went down a treat with everyone there as you can’t go wrong with a bit of Sam Raimi.




In all, this was an excellent event. It was managed smoothly, and the crowds were well-handled. I was concerned on the way there that this might be a re-run of EM-Con’s inaugural event in Nottingham, where there were too many people for the venue, and it all went a little pear-shaped. I needn’t have worried; the organisers clearly knew what they were doing and the event was in very capable hands.


Splitting between two venues (with special offers on horror boardgames at Bean Gaming Café) was clearly a wise choice as it ensured neither venue was overrun on the day.


Here’s hoping that next year goes just as smoothly and that the con goes from strength to strength, with even better guests (can we have Jeffrey Combs next year, please?).


I’ll certainly be rising from the grave to go back!


Sam Kurd


Twiter @Splend


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


* THE BLACK COUNTRY HORROR SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL - Stourbridge https://www.weepingbankproductions.co.uk/horror-film-festival Saturday 25th January 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 9 2019 07:52AM



Comic Con Leicester 2019


Celebrating its 5th Anniversary, Leicester Comic Con is one of the highlights of Leicester’s cultural quarter and a must-see on the Midlands cosplay calendar. With 4 successful years behind them, the convention once again returned to the art-deco ex-cinema Athena venue which has always given this event a local and quirky flavour.


Although taking place over the first weekend in June at the height of summer, the weather couldn’t have been wetter. Although previous years have seen many people gather at the front of the venue, allowing cosplayers to congregate and take photos, the incessant rain meant that it was a slightly darker beginning than previous years.




What it did mean though was that people being forced inside resulted in a bigger, better – and slightly cramped – atmosphere inside where comic and film fans, artists and those dressed up pushed together to create an amazing buzz.


As you arrive, out the front of the venue were three of the vehicles used for Bumblebee in the cinema iterations of the Transformers. In Michael Bay’s first take on Transformers in 2007, Bumblebee was depicted as a 1976 Camaro and then a fifth-generation 2011 Camaro before returning to his original cartoon Volkswagen Beetle version in Travis Knight’s Bumblebee (2018).


As famous a car as you’re sure to see today, right? Well not quite. Once inside attendees were greeted with the Bat-Signal which was illuminating the Tumbler – the armoured Batmobile used in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.




Heading upstairs first of all, there was also a mannequin dressed as Knight of the Old Republic who we took photos next to after resting our bags on the model. However, rather embarrassingly after we left, we noted that to our surprise this “mannequin” started to move. The very static cosplayer had trolled us good!


Upstairs, as with most years, there is a gaming area at the very top of the venue and the artists are situation in stalls on each tier of the balcony. We’ve said before – and we’ll say it again – but this is such a unique venue that it really does have a fantastically original and special feel when compared to other conventions often situated in bland leisure centres or echo-y halls.


Up on this top tier were Nick Gribbon who specialises in cinema, Marvel and zombie illustrations whilst the convention alsowelcomed Leicester post-apocalyptic artist Gustaffo Vargas who brought his Peru-infused ‘drug Guinea Pigs’ to the floor. Sass & Sorcery were there selling their magical art prints and greeting cards, as was game art designer Little Woodlouse, pop culture artist Lee Bradley and anime-inspired artist Emmett Green.


Keith Chan returned as one of the convention’s veteran artists along with David Millgate and his 2000AD artwork and poster prints. And also out for his 5th year in a row was Ryan Button of RB Illustrations. We’re slightly biased as Ryan did our fantastic film night event posters but was great to see one of the designs (for our Die Hard-themed screening night) finally become a limited edition print. As well as more Bumblebee (and Grimlock) related Transformers art too!



Rachel of Nottingham’s EldritchRach Illustration was another return artist whilst another Nottingham artist of handmade crafts & illustrations was Fanatic Pufferfish and next door was Here Be Monsters, the comic from Luke Parker.


A welcome return too for Midlands animator and cartoonist Thomas Crook (who we covered in our early days) and his delightful dairy creation – the Cheesemen – who, as you can guess, are mysterious characters made of cheese. Here, attendees could grab a free build-your-own robot Cheese Man. A great little model can be made from card and a cool idea to link back to their fun website for the instructions.


Along with the artists, the balcony also hosts the body-painting zone where very brave men and women allow themselves to be covered in head to-toe make-up. Given how hot the venue was starting to get, it made strange sense that their little amount of clothing was very much enviable by this time.


We then headed back down the stairs where there was an Indiana Jones and Game of Thrones photo opportunity whilst on the main stage you could share space with Star Wars droids, Yoda, Ewoks and the Emperor’s throne as well.


The main ground floor hosts shops, coin-op machines and a mass of Funko Pop sellers but we recommend checking out local business Arcade Frames run by local Nottingham film-fan and musician Rob Lane who creates retro-fused LEGO mini figure frames.



Finally, we couldn’t not mention one of the organisers of the event itself, Gavin Lee-Pate. With 5 successful years under his belt, Gavin (and his partner in crime Richard Tewkesbury) should be rightly proud of another successful event which gives joy to so many local people from all ages and backgrounds. Gavin is also a successful artist in his own right under Cult Locations Ink. These are small hand drawn prints of famous movie locations from the Overlook Hotel to Florin Castle (from The Princess Bride) – which is actually Derby’s Haddon Hall no less.


So as we finish Saturday, we wish all the best for the hosts, stalls, artists and attendees - and as we write this we mustn’t forget that there’s a whole second day of fun on Sunday!


Please check all the artists and on their links - and Happy ComicCon-ing everybody – you’ll find no better place in the region this Summer!


Michael Sales






By midlandsmovies, Jun 3 2019 07:52AM



Midlands Spotlight - Indie Filmmaker Showcase


There's a new festival in town coming to the Midlands later this month called the Indie Filmmaker Showcase arranged by Leicester production company Roasted Media.


The event take place on Saturday 29th June 2019 from 2pm to 6pm at 369 Film Studios in Leicester and will not just be a film screening showcase but also a great opportunity to network and meet likeminded cinema creatives from the region.


The day will Include screenings of over 15 short films, awards presentations, a networking social in the 369 Bar plus a 'Self Funding for Filmmakers' workshop.


Screenings will include both international and local films, along with an awards presentation for the best films screened. The 'Self funding for Filmmakers' workshop will hopefully help inform and help filmmakers make their own films on their own budget.


Finally, there will be a complimentary drink waiting at the bar with every ticket!


Tickets are £7.50 in advance and £10 on the door and can be purchased via Evenbrite here.


The full run-down of the event is:


2:00PM - Mingling, Drinks & Popcorn Served


2:30PM - Movie Screenings Begin


5:15PM - Awards Presentation


5:30PM - 'Self Funding for Filmmakers' Workshop and Networking in the 369 Bar.


Date and Time:


Sat, 29 June 2019

14:00 – 18:00


Location:


369 Film Studios, 7 Woodboy Street , Leicester, LE1 3NJ


By midlandsmovies, May 31 2019 11:03AM



Return of the Garrison Star Wars Event at Leicester Space Centre


At last you can reveal yourself to the Jedi…


On 29 – 30 June 2019 visitors are invited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace at the National Space Centre.


The Centre, 501st UK Garrison, Rebel Legion, Galactic Academy and Mandalorian Mercs are joining forces to create a full weekend of immersive experiences from a galaxy far far away.


With costume characters, exhibitions, talks, workshops and the all-important Parade there will be over 100 characters from film, comic, game and animation at the event.


Enjoy a family day out, or full weekend with chances to show off your skills in a Silver Sabres lightsabre masterclass, see amazing full size props thanks to the Isle of Wight Prop Crew, take home limited edition merchandise from the Hyperspace Hypermarket, and get hands on with craft sessions for children to enjoy.


In a weekend packed with activities there’ll also be talks and workshops available throughout, an amazing art exhibition, including limited edition prints and pins.


Costumes are encouraged with the highlight of the weekend, as always, being the costume parade.


There will be the opportunity to meet some very special guests (autograph fees apply).


Warwick Davis - Sunday Only


Warwick Davis played Ewok Wicket in Return of the Jedi. He went on to take the title role in Willow, again with George Lucas. He has also played Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook in the Harry Potter films and a fictionalized version of himself in the sitcom Life’s Too Short, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.


Harriet Walker - Saturday only


Dame Harriet Walter is well known for her stage and Shakespearian roles, as well as her appearances in Sense and Sensibility, Downton Abbey and The Crown. Harriet played Kalonia, a Doctor in the Resistance, in The Force Awakens in 2015, following in the footsteps of her Uncle, Sir Christopher Lee.


Andy Seacombe - Saturday & Sunday


Probably best known for being the voice of Watto in the two Star Wars prequels: The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, he is also an accomplished stage, television and radio actor, with a career spanning four decades.


This event will raise money for charity. Malika Andress, Head of Marketing at the National Space Centre, added: “We are proud to be working with Warwick Davis to support Little People UK through this event.”


“We are extremely grateful that our friends 501st UK Garrison, Rebel Legion, Galactic Academy and Mandalorian Mercs are returning to help us create an unforgettable weekend."


Tickets cost £15 per adult and £12 for children and concessions. Annual Passes are not valid and Jedi mind tricks won’t work. https://spacecentre.co.uk/event/return-of-the-garrison


Little People UK was co-founded in January 2012 by actor Warwick Davis, his wife Samantha and a group of individuals with the same goal; to offer friendship and support to people with dwarfism, their families and friends, and help build a positive future for those individuals.


By midlandsmovies, May 6 2019 04:01PM



No Guesses Found


Directed by Georgie Cubin & Jane Leggat


2019


No Guesses Found is a new short from Leicester that hopes to question the expected representations of dyslexia by confronting some mainstream, and perhaps commonly misunderstood, expectations of the condition.


Made by Georgie Cubin and Jane Leggat, dyslexia is a somewhat common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling. And this short experimental documentary opens with the clatter of pens being clicked and computers keys being whacked in a hurriedly-paced flourish of alphabetical confusion.


Mixing personal and performative elements, the documentary is self-referential in its style with its own cinematic language. It chaotically at times processes the narrative with lots of quick edits, stuttering cuts and descriptive images crossed with a host of interesting visual signifiers.


Although one “over-arching” condition, the film clarifies that the nature of the disorder can affect people in many different ways. And the filmmaker uses allegorical symbols to highlight its nature within the medium of the film. For example, a split-screen technique used often suggests the film is at least recognising some of the neurological aspects of dyslexia.


In addition, various voiceovers describe their real-life experiences. And a percussive soundtrack gives certain sequences a music-video feel – or a clock-countdown, perhaps inferring the pressures people feel they are under. With dyslexia sometimes being expressed as the “difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds)”, the film again uses the symptoms to play with the structure of the short.


This unique combination is the documentary’s greatest achievement. It is a terrific creative conceit that draws you in to the (sometimes) confusing arena of words that sufferers face. Shots that have been sped up – but with our protagonist standing rigid – represent how those with dyslexia may feel the world is passing them by. Whilst the title itself refers to one of the voiceovers struggling to complete sentences when word processing programmes cannot autocorrect.


A successful documentary not just in style but in content, I have to admit I’m not always the greatest fan of what is labelled as an ‘experimental piece’. However, the filmmakers here have more than successfully used a whole host of cinematic techniques to deliver something special about a condition that could do with having its profile raised.


Reflecting the nature of dyslexia in the film’s style is therefore an inspired creative choice. “Having a better image of dyslexia in mainstream media and film would be fantastic”, says one sufferer. Well, No Guesses Found is the first in hopefully a long line of many to come and it’s bloody brilliant.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Apr 8 2019 02:09PM



Midlands Review - Ghosts


Directed by Joey Lever


Digital Heart


2019


"Early 2019 The Ghost Catchers were hired to rig 369 Film Studios with state-of-the-art paranormal technology to find spirits that have been haunting the studio for 30 years.


This is the footage recovered”.


And so opens this new paranormal comedy mockumentary from Leicester filmmaker Joey Lever. With the relatively recent explosion of films based around a similar premise – the Paranormal Activity franchise films and 2011’s Grave Encounters - Lever plays Malone, a ghost who is haunting a local film studio but is followed by a film crew too.


In this unique twist we are introduced not just to Malone, but he shares this haunted space with two other spirits – Flynn (Jak Beasley) and his girlfriend (ghost-friend?) Spryte played by Phoebe Hammond.


The trio have quirky personas and spend their days pranking the owner Jeff, played by real-life studio owner David Hardware. As we are reminded that “ghosts can’t die”, we see Flynn hanging from a noose in one of many comedy japes they play. But they are not all as macabre as that. For example, we are shown how Malone spends an extra ordinate amount of time simply moving mugs and newspapers around to annoy Jeff.


The filmmakers have kept the documentary feel by inserting several interviews and talking-heads sections. We are introduced to Harry from the fictional Ghost Catcher TV series and these help give the short some structure as well as provide fun background information about the characters.


From the Martin Freeman-style direct-to-the-camera “stares” to the David Brent embarrassing smiles and shrugs, there’s a fare chunk of The Office in tone included in Ghosts. However, the supernatural element is clearly influenced by the similarly-styled What We Do in The Shadows. That 2014 film followed a group of vampire friends and the filmmakers have taken the genre and added some of their own spooky situations.


The comedy is understated and despite their morbid predicament, the threesome's lives are often framed by petty arguments and silly squabbles. Whilst their horrible deaths bring them together, the film gets laughs from the mundane minutiae of their lives rather than any spiritual revelations.


Later on an exorcist is hired by Jeff to rid the building of its phantoms and once he arrives, he begins to shriek “may the power of Christ compel you” as they look on incredulously. He leaves with the apparent spirits in a ghost catching unit, but this simply results in the three ghosts laughing as they remain where they are.


Leading up to their biggest prank moment – Malone brings along some white sheets and the trio prepare for some scares. As mild as they are and filmed in bright daylight, the ghosts’ final masterplan is as mundane as their previous efforts. However, despite this everyday quality, they may have taken it too far this time. Leaving us to ask whether Jeff will finally discover his tormentors or head to an entirely different place altogether.


A witty and somewhat improvised script helps sell this short and although the ideas are certainly nothing new, the film does manage to find a unique slant on an established formula. With plenty of gags present, Ghosts is an excellent manifestation of a solid idea with a humorous delivery. And whilst zombie-fans often get the majority of comedy-horror, this mockumentary certainly gives the audience an amusing account of the afterlife.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Apr 7 2019 11:32AM



Midlands Review - Capcom Go at the National Space Centre


On April 6th 2019, Midlands Movies Editor Mike Sales headed to the National Space Centre in Leicester who were screening the world premiere of a brand-new show in the UK’s largest planetarium. Read his thoughts below of this spectacular new space-based event...


CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story celebrates the achievements of the Apollo missions and highlights what it took to put the first humans on the Moon and with our enjoyment of last year's First Man, we couldn't be more excited.


Capcom, if you didn’t know, is short for ‘capsule communicator’ - a NASA position who is the liaison between an in-space crew and mission control.


And with a packed crowd for the first screening, the planetarium show opens on a tv of the original ‘first step’, and soon the old-style tv fades away into the distance. But then your breath is taken away when space suddenly comes into view and takes up your entire field of vision in an amazing 360 degree experience.


Colourful diagrams and archive footage fills in the backstory of the cold-war space race. From the first dog to the first man we get computer graphics zooming us across the world showing how global the event became.


A section devoted to the unsung human “computers” whose solutions to complex mathematics made JFK’s dream possible showcased the men, and especially women, of the back-room staff. Do check out Hidden Figures – a fantastic film that explores this important but sometimes overlooked portion of the Apollo plan.


The film continues as elliptical orbits and slingshot journeys fill the planetarium’s ceiling and – word of warning – the constant moving of the stars can give younger viewers serious motion sickness, so do beware!


As well as the historical and fun, the film doesn’t skip over the dangerous testing that was done and the lives lost in the process. Halfway through, a serene and respectful moment gives time for the audience to reflect on the real cost for the pioneers aiming for the stars.


However, we are soon at the Saturn 5 launch pad in what was to be one of the highlights of the show. The swinging camera shows the rocket on its pad and an overhead crane shot will give you a sense of vertigo not seen since Spider-Man: Homecoming 3-D!


As the boosters ignite, the room shakes and the film is a pleasure for both the eyes and the ears. Following the Apollo journey, the film mixes cinematic flourishes with more educational information about the lunar modules and we are soon skipping across the moon’s service in another fantastic sequence showing the dangerous landing. And yes, we get the obligatory, but still hugely powerful “eagle has landed” and “one small step” speeches too.


As the film concludes we get one more rampant scene of fun as the lunar rover jumps and bounds across the surface in a segment that seems a little overblown - but with music pumping and the rover jumping, younger viewers will hopefully leave the auditorium fulfilled by the entertainment and the easily digestible “factoids”.


The full 30 minutes are not just a well-crafted and well-rendered CGI treat by the award-winning NSC Creative, it contains full and understandable information for all ages with lashings of spectacular space sequences. And as Apollo inspired a new generation of engineers and enthusiasts, the final positive message of hope in Capcom Go aims to do the same with today’s astronaut admirers.


Michael Sales


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