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By midlandsmovies, Mar 20 2016 12:19PM

Midlands Movies speaks to one half of Roasted Studios, Marc Hamill whose new feature film The Wrong Floor is about to be released in 2016 and his reaction to a recent screening of his movie at new regional film festival.

Indie-Lincs is a new festival in Lincolnshire which covers both local and international filmmakers and champions low and micro-budget films.

Taking place over the weekend of March 11th and 12th the festival organisers were not looking for sequels, remakes or adaptations but focused on the best original work from around the globe. In addition, they hoped the filmmakers and the audience could network successfully with each other and the independent filmmaking community.

With a programme of dynamic, inventive and challenging fiction as well as documentary and animated films, Indie-Fest is proud that it embodies the low budget filmmaking ethic.

One filmmaker who made the most of the opportunity was Marc Hamill. His production company Roasted Studios have recently completed their first grindhouse feature film called The Wrong Floor. Screening on the Saturday Marc was not only there to promote his film but enjoy the festival with the other attendees.

“Although I was primarily in attendance for the screening of The Wrong Floor, I couldn’t help but be seduced by the indie film offerings at this year’s festival”, says Marc. “From controversial social commentaries, to grindhouse carnage, a whole spectrum of hidden gems were given a stage to shine”.

Marc was also impressed by the level of talent at the festival. “The quality of the film making on display was certainly impressive, especially given that the festival focuses on micro-budget films. There was literally something for everyone. The highlight of the festival for me, being a filmmaker, was the workshop on making a short film for festivals. It was basically a cheaters guide to win awards at major festivals”.

Marc adds with a smile - “Filmmakers Phil Stevens and Domonique Webb explained their winning formula and demonstrated how to execute the perfect production to exploit the system. They expressed their ultimate disappointment at the success of their winning formula and it really felt that by sharing their knowledge, they were somehow cleansing their souls. You may be wondering what this winning formula may be, I will summarise quite severely: Make a social commentary film under 10 minutes with desaturated colours using handheld camera with excellent sound quality. That’s pretty much the long and short of it”.

Based at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, and run in partnership with The School of Film and Media at the University of Lincoln, the festival films also competed for prizes in several categories. The prizes take the form of an 'Imp' which is the emblem for Lincoln city and resides high up on a stone pillar in the city's magnificent gothic Cathedral.

The mischievous Imp was thought by the organisers as the perfect embodiment of the independent filmmaker's spirit, someone who dares to upset the equilibrium and do things their own way

Marc was impressed by the festival though and got a great reception for his own film too. “The whole atmosphere at the festival was upbeat and inspiring. The indie-lincs team did a fantastic job and made everyone feel welcome. It was a unique festival which I would highly recommend to film makers and film lovers alike”.

Find out more about Roasted Studios at this link here: http://thewrongfloor.com/

Indie-Lincs information is on their website at: http://www.indie-lincs.com/

The Hamill brothers at Indie-Lincs
The Hamill brothers at Indie-Lincs

By midlandsmovies, Oct 27 2015 01:19PM

Top 10 things to check out for Lincolnshire film fans

After our Top 10 covering the best of Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and West Midlands film-making talent we shift our focus to Lincolnshire to find out 10 of the best things a film fan can look out for in and around the county.

Lincolnshire Cathedral

The third largest cathedral in Britain after St Paul's and York Minster, Lincolnshire Cathedral owns one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta from 1215 but has also played host to a number of blockbuster feature films, often doubling for Westminster Abbey in London. Filmed in September 2007 this was the case with Young Victoria and also the controversial “The Da Vinci Code”. Oscar-winner Tom Hanks played Robert Langdon in the film which caused a storm of controversy over its questioning of many of the key beliefs of Christianity. Officials from the Abbey refused to allow filming to take place inside, claiming that the book is "theologically unsound". To arrange a visit and follow the Cathedral’s many events please check their Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/LincsCathedral

The Drift by Backyard Productions

An already successful sci-fi, The Drift is no average independent film having been created with a crew of over 100 and with help from many local businesses in Lincolnshire. With a limited local budget of just £5000, the film took 3 years to make (all in everyone’s spare time) and the cast and crew were all volunteers but the ambition does not stop just there. With a feature length 100-minute run time and over 1300 Visual Effect shots they also built sets over 9 months and did 2 years of visual effects production, matching and even surpassing many a Hollywood blockbuster. Formed in 1993, Backyard Productions began with three teenagers making short movies in the garden before quickly moving on to making their first feature. From there, the “company” grew to include friends and family members, making parodies based on Batman, Indiana Jones and Star Wars with all productions being self-funded and helping to raise money for charity. For more insight check out http://bypuk.com/movies/drift/ and view The Drift's exciting trailer here - https://www.youtube.com/embed/aXFILnob3AA

Read our article on the film here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Midlands-Spotlight---The-Drift/9207663

Lincolnshire Film and Digital Media

Lincolnshire Film and Digital Media is run by multi-award winning, professional film maker Phillip Lofas whose background is in film production. His company uses state of the art video and media equipment to deliver professional quality work which specialises in offering high quality services as well as training within the county for aspiring filmmakers. With a respected track record in delivering education and training to a range of organisations they cover a wide variety of media training topics including script writing, pre-production, filming & mastering as well as sessions on lighting, sound and animation. Read more about this exciting organisation to develop your skills with a professional and local team here: http://www.lincolnshire-filmmaker.co.uk

Lincolnshire Film Archive

The LFA is a registered charity set up in 1986 to locate and preserve motion film showing life and work in all parts of the county. Covering wartime reels as well as many other decades, their films are available to enthusiastic cinematographers with local historical events such as the first post-war Royal Show, the Festival of Britain and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II amongst archive footage available. Further footage comes in their “A Century on Film” series which focus on everything from World War 2 right through to the Victory celebrations of 1945. Drawing on its extensive motion picture collection, much of it has never before been made available for home viewing, the LFA sets out to present a wide-ranging picture of over a hundred years of Lincolnshire life. For an up-to-date list of videos and details of how to order, see www.primetimevideo.co.uk or check their main website: http://www.lincsfilm.co.uk

Movie Locations

We have already mentioned how The Da Vinci Code was partially filmed in Lincolnshire but as well as the infamous cathedral, the county has provided picturesque buildings for many more movies. However, one of these locations was again utilised in The Da Vinci Code, where Burghley House in Stamford near Peterborough was used for the interiors of ‘Castel Gandolfo’. Not solely focusing on that film though, Jan De Bont's The Haunting (1999) was filmed at Harlaxton Manor (Great Hall) in Grantham whilst Thunderball (1965) used RAF Waddington for the film's Airforce base runway scene. Not content with just those well-known classics, Lincoln can claim to be the location of certain scenes in the little-known The Emerald Forest (1985) whilst more famously, The Dam Busters (1955) with its “bouncing bombs” was partly filmed in the area. The coastal marshes from Atonement (2007) are at Gedney Drove End, a beach on the Wash and finally Pride and Prejudice (2005) was filmed in Lincoln where Burghley House (again) stood in for Rosings, while the adjacent town of Stamford served as Meryton. For more info on Burghley House check their official site: http://www.burghley.co.uk

Lincoln Shorts

The 5th annual Lincoln Shorts film festival showcased local film-making talent from Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas in October 2015. Previous screenings at the annual film event left audiences excited and amazed by the wealth and breadth of film-making talent right on their doorstep — film-making they may never knew existed. This annual event regularly takes submissions from a wide range of genres from comedy, drama, music and factual and all have a local Lincoln connection. Examples may be that it was filmed or edited locally or someone in the cast or crew may be originally from or lives in Lincolnshire or even studied in the area. Screening shorts (films should be five minutes or under) the last event was a great success at Lincoln’s Drill Hall and submissions will soon be open for filmmakers to submit their newest creations for the 2016 festival.



The LAFTAs (Lincolnshire Awards for Film, Teamwork and Animation) is now in its ninth year and has become a key event in many schools' calendars and a regular event not to be missed. These annual film awards are for 3 - 19 year olds and showcase/celebrate the films and animations made by children and young people. The scheme has supported thousands of young people, teachers and schools through training, advice and guidance. Last year 40 schools submitted over 100 films and were judged by an independent panel consisting of experts from the film industry and education. All prizes were presented by the LAFTAs patron, Oscar and BAFTA winner, Jim Broadbent, who was born in Lincolnshire in 1949. Every year Jim dedicates time to viewing all of the shortlisted films to choose his favourite Primary age and Secondary age winner. Further information at: http://www.laftas.co.uk

Crow’s Eye

Crow’s Eye is a Production Company based in Lincolnshire involving the joint creative team of Nick and Pauline Loven. Covering a wide variety of work from feature length and short films as well as costume drama and music videos, Nick is a filmmaker with 15 years of experience and established his company Crow’s Eye Productions in 2005. Also available as a freelance camera operator, Nick uses broadcast standard equipment and for his most recent film set on First World War battlefields, he undertook pyrotechnic training. Crow’s Eye Productions also has its own Period Costume Wardrobe Department run by Pauline Loven, a costumier with 30 years’ experience. Check out the brilliant work of this dynamic duo at their websites and Twitter links below:

Twitter @CrowseyeUK http://www.crowseye.co.uk Twitter @periodwardrobe http://www.periodcostume.co.uk

Lincoln Film Society

The LFS is a small group of cinephiles who regularly meet at the Venue at Bishop Grosseteste University College in Lincoln. Publishing a set programme for each season, films are selected based on member’s suggestions and research by the Society’s committee. The ‘programme’ is never too specialist because their members have a wide taste in movies and the club also screens other one-off films as well. The Venue’s 230 capacity auditorium with fixed rake seating is the perfect location for the society which also allows temporary members to see films but heartily recommends full membership which can save people money over the course of a year. Like most film societies, Lincoln Film Society requires membership and has reasonable rates for those wishing to join. If interested please email lfs-membership@hotmail.co.uk for more information.


BlackBeetle Films

Last but certainly not least is the brand new production company from Lincolnshire. They are currently fundraising for their debut short film Every Waking Breath which follows the story of Abigail Burton - a young woman who is haunted by the death of her parents when she was a child. After years of mourning she decides that there is only one way she can gain closure - by finding the man responsible and exacting revenge. With very high expectations, the team of Josh Brown (Producer) Scott Driver (Writer/Director), Joel Dunn-Wilson (DoP), Jake Greenan (Sound), Oliver Cowton (Art Director) & Harry Kumar (Editor) have set a preliminary fundraising target of £1,000 at IndieGoGo and have already surpassed their goal. Formed within the well-known Media Production course at the Lincoln School of Film and Media (https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/fm) the group will utilise the industry-standard, purpose-built facilities at the University to complete the project.

Check their updates here: https://twitter.com/BlackBeetleFilm

Fundraising campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/every-waking-breath-a-short-film#/

Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Dec 31 2014 09:13AM

Midlands Movies Mike speaks to Daz Scales about his exciting new original independent science-fiction space movie The Drift which is about to have a cast and crew World Premiere on 6th December 2014 in the region.

Daz Scales says The Drift is not your average independent film - it is a feature length space movie set in the future where twenty years after mankind has lost the power to travel faster than light, the human race is stranded across the galaxy and left for dead.

The Drift begins as a small salvage vessel looking for bounty on a derelict ship, ends up in a desperate race to escape and subsequently the real reason for The Drift’s existence unfolds.

With a limited local budget of just £5000, the film has taken 3 years to make (all in everyone’s spare time) and the cast and crew were all volunteers and the ambition does not stop there. With a feature length 100-minute run time and over 1300 Visual Effect shots they also built sets over 9 months and did 2 years of visual effects production matching and surpassing many a Hollywood blockbuster.

“Because The Drift is completely original, we had to make everything from scratch. We couldn’t download 3D models, we had to make them all first; that took a lot longer than we thought, but it was well worth it”, said Darren.

Formed in 1993, Backyard Productions began with three teenagers making short movies in the garden before quickly moving on to making their first feature. From there, the “company” grew to include friends and family members, making parodies based on Batman, Indiana Jones and Star Wars with all productions being self-funded and helping to raise money for charity.

The Drift is to be premiered at the EMMEC Theatre, University of Lincoln on 6th December 2014 at 6:30pm. With press on hand for film interviews with the director, the night promises a look at a props display as well as post-screening chat with cast and as well. For more insight check out http://bypuk.com/movies/drift/ and view The Drift's exciting trailer - https://www.youtube.com/embed/aXFILnob3AA

By midlandsmovies, Dec 29 2014 09:09AM

Well, we’ve been going for 18 months and I thought – hey, why don’t we write about movies in the Midlands? Ha ha. In all seriousness, I’ve been intending for a long time to not only promote future talent (please see our Spotlight and Showcase pages – as well as archived feature slots on new filmmakers from the region in our Blog section) but also look back into what the region has contributed to the film industry in the past.

From all over the Midlands, there are filmmakers, actors and locations that have been featured in big successful movies and the region has both the gritty realism needed for a British kitchen-sink/urban drama and the grandiose buildings required for stately homes and castles for Hollywood visions of “olde” England. Let’s begin with Leicester…


Starting with my current hometown, Leicester has the Great Central Railway, now Britain’s only mainline steam railway which has been a pivotal location in a number of feature films. Firstly, in Buster (1988), Phil Collins’ Great Train Robbery took place at the station at Quorn in Loughborough as were important scenes from Shadowlands (1993) and The Hours (2002) as well.

Shadowlands was also directed by Lord Richard Attenborough, a huge acting and directing presence from Leicester. He and his brother David have made unbelievable contributions to the factual & fictional worlds of film-making from jungle and Arctic documentaries through to the Oscar-winning direction of Gandhi. For me and people my age, “Dickie” may be best remembered as Dr. John Hammond, the owner/founder of the terrifying out-of-control Jurassic Park in Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster. Either that or as Father Christmas in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street but we mustn’t forget his stunning acting turns in Brighton Rock and The Great Escape from the 60s.

Staying with the grandiose, Belvoir Castle (pronounced ‘beaver’), home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, has been seen in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) and Ron Howard’s The Da Vinci Code. It doesn’t stop there as it can also be viewed as ‘Buckingham Palace’ in The Young Victoria AND in King Ralph whilst it kitchens were used in the 1999 remake of The Haunting too. One of Leicester’s other sons is Graham Chapman, one of the members of comedy troupe Monty Python who was born in Stoneygate and went on with his Python cohorts to write and film comedy classics such as The Holy Grail (1975) and controversial but hilarious Life of Brian (1979).


The home of Robin Hood but sadly none of it used in the filming of Russell Crowe’s or Kevin Costner’s recent takes on the tight-wearing hero. However, another tight-wearing hero (ok, the link is a little forced) is featured at Nottingham’s Woollaton Hall which was used for exterior shots of Wayne mansion in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (2011). Going much further back, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) starred Albert Finney and was shot at the Raleigh Bicycle factory in Radford and although we are told it’s the Old Bailey in Scandal (1989), the Shire Hall in High Pavement stood in for the infamous courts during certain scenes. For the 1960 adaptation of D H Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, the filmmakers used the author’s real childhood home in Eastwood and the mine from the film was the Brinsley Colliery where his father worked.

The 2007 film Control about the short life and shocking death of Joy Division’s lead singer-songwriter Ian Curtis was partly filmed in Nottingham around some of the real places Curtis was known to frequent and was half-funded by director Anton Corbjin himself whilst East Midlands Media contributed £250k of European Development funding showing its support as well. Later on, the same agency supported Bunny and the Bull (2009), a comedy road-trip film that was shot at the King’s Meadow Campus of the University of Nottingham over 5 weeks.

BAFTA winner filmmaker Shane Meadows moved to Nottingham at 20 and started his own film festival to showcase his self-made short films based in the Midlands. Inspired by his own youth, Meadows was first nominated for a BAFTA for Dead Man’s Shoes (his sixth film) and the third to star Paddy Considine who he met at Burton College. He was presented the BAFTA for best British film in 2007 for This Is England (2006) by Sylvester Stallone and his Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002) starred Robert Carlyle and was set primarily in Nottingham. Finally, Nicholas Winding Refn filmed Bronson, a fictionalised biography of the notorious prisoner of the same name (with a brilliant Tom Hardy embodying the role) around the St. Ann’s, Sherwood, Worksop and Welbeck Abbey areas of Nottingham (shire) in the 2009 movie.


The county is famed for its elaborate stately homes, the first of which can be seen in Elizabeth (1997) where Haddon Hall, near Bakewell, was used as Hatfield House, Elizabeth I’s childhood home, whilst it also doubled as Thornfield Hall in Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre (1996). Historic Chatsworth House was turned into Mr Darcy’s home “Pemberley” in Pride and Prejudice (2005) and Haddon Hall (again!) was used for the Inn at Lambton, whilst its dining hall became Elizabeth’s bedroom.

One of Derby’s home-grown sons is Oscar winner Alan Bates, who starred in the 1969 film Women in Love which featured Kedleston Hall as the large house he and Eleanor Bron’s characters lived. Oliver Reed’s house in the same film was Elvaston Castle also in the county of Derby. Finally, Goodbye Mr Chips (1939) had the exterior shots of Brookfield School filmed at Repton School near Burton.


So much of The Da Vinci Code was filmed in Lincolnshire they may as well have called it The Da Linci Code as many scenes were filmed at Burghley House, Stamford in Lincolnshire. The same location was featured as the garage at Chateau Villette and as Saunière’s retreat in the flashbacks and whenever we see Westminster Abbey in the movie; the interiors were in fact shot in Lincoln Cathedral where Newton’s tomb was recreated. It’s also stood in for Westminster Abbey in The Young Victoria.

Previously meof the “outsider” from the bures as Judi Dench’s home in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice and the Merchant-Ivory film The Golden Bowl


The UK’s second largest city unfortunately has featured in a number of duff films so we’ll get those out of the way first. Knights And Emeralds (1986) about the rivalry between marching bands was filmed in central Birmingham as well as the more industrial areas in the Black Country. The spoof horror I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990) was filmed around city locations and the horrendous Sex Lives of the Potato Men (2004) featured the car park at Snow Hill station and Aston Expressway. It somehow gets worse though as Cliff Richard and Deborah Watling drove down New Street in the 1973 musical Take Me High. Good lord!

Improving from those duds, the Electric Cinema has a plaque outside to commemorate a scene from Bob Hoskins’ Felicia’s Journey (1999) whilst the quintessential “Northern” favourite Brassed Off from 1996 saw the band play in Birmingham Town Hall which stood in for the Royal Albert Hall. Finally, things improve with the John Cleese farce that is the 80s classic Clockwise where scenes were filmed at Edward’s School, Edgbaston, Menzies High School (in West Brom) and at the University of Birmingham.

Midlands Movies Mike

Other films filmed in or around the Midlands include: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Magicians (2007), Mum & Dad (2008) & Goal 3 (2009).

For more info on the future and past of filmmaking in the Midlands please try these links:


http://www.em-media.org.uk/pages/home (sadly no longer with us but a useful website)


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