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By midlandsmovies, Jan 9 2017 04:00PM

Quite simply, here is our ongoing and updated list of Film Festivals in the Midlands (2017):


• THE SHORT CINEMA http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk info@theshortcinema.co.uk Phoenix, Leicester - August 23rd – 26th 2017


• NOTTINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL - Hothouse Theatre’s Nottingham Film Festival. October 6th – 8th 2017 For details visit http://www.nottinghamfilmfestival.com


• ANON FILM FEST - No 2017 dates yet. Screened at Northern Light Cinema, Wirksworth, Derbys. https://filmfreeway.com/festival/anonfilmfestival


• INDIE-LINCS - March 16th – 18th 2017 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 - 2017 dates TBC. http://www.brindleyplace.com/event/brindleyplace-outdoor-film-festival-2


• WORCESTERSHIRE FILM FESTIVAL 2017 dates TBC www.worcestershirefilmfestival.co.uk Contact Lawrence Donello‏ on Twitter @Razorpost https://twitter.com/worcesterfilm


• LEICESTER DOCFILM FEST http://www.citizenseye.org Contact John Coster 2017 dates TBC


• BORDERLINES FEST http://www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk UK's largest rural film festival. Herefordshire/Shropshire - FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY TO SUNDAY 12 MARCH 2017


• BIRMINGHAM FILM FEST - November 18th – 26th 2017 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/Birminghamfilmfestival


• BIFF FEST (Black International Film Fest) http://www.vtelevision.co.uk/biff/event.html


• 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 2017


• DEAFFEST http://www.deaffest.co.uk The UK's International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Wolverhampton. Contact info@light-house.co.uk 12th – 14th May 2017.


• LEICESTER ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL - 16th - 19th March www.leicesterasianfilmfestival.com


• SHOUT FESTIVAL http://shoutfestival.co.uk Birmingham Dates soon for 2017


• DERBY FILM FESTIVAL http://www.derbyfilmfestival.co.uk 28th APRIL - 7th MAY 2017


• FANTASTIQ FEST http://fantastiq.co.uk Fantasy and Horror Fest at Quad in Derby


• MAYHEM HORROR Film Fest - Halloween. Contact Broadway cinema in Nottingham http://www.broadway.org.uk/mayhem 12th - 15th October 2017


• FLATPACK FEST - Birmingham, UK. http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk 4th - 9th April 2017


• EAST ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL http://www.eastwindsfilmfest.com 2017 Dates Coming Soon


• BEESTON FILM FESTIVAL http://www.beestonfilm.com 9th - 12th March 2017


• CAN DO FEST – Nottingham http://www.can-do-fest.com Biennial Fest currently fundraising to run a new Can- Do Film festival in 2017


• ZZUB - http://www.zzubfest.co.uk Wolverhampton - 2017 Festival TBC


• SHROPSHIRE RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/midlands-zone 6th - 8th October 2017


• GRINDHOUSE PLANET - 2017 date TBC www.grindhouseplanet.com


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, Jan 2 2016 06:39PM

Midlands Movies Mike finds out about In Limbo, the new short film from Nine Ladies Film.


Shot in Wirksworth in July 2015, In Limbo stars such well known actors as Nigel Barber (Mission: Impossible 5 and Spectre) Bern Deegan, Rebekah Bowman and Rachel Prince. The story itself focuses on three friends who decide to go away for the weekend but none of them count on encountering the urban myth that is the Black Eyed Children.


Their dreams are invaded but they fight to save not only their physical bodies – which have been frozen in a trancelike state – but also their souls that wander alone trapped In Limbo. The film is written and directed by Stuart Wheeldon, who is based in Wirksworth (in Derbyshire) and he is joined by Director of Photography Geraint Owen. The film features music from local bands Blue Wallpaper Inc who play a mix of acoustic and funk fusion as well as Frank – an indie band signed to Soundhub records.


The film played at The Northern Light Cinema on the 4th 5th and 6th of October and accompanying those screenings was a 30 minute documentary about the making of the film by Chris Lobley. Followed by a questions and answers session the nights were a great success and brought attention to both the film and this independent boutique cinema that is tucked away in the Derbyshire Dales. www.thenorthernlightcinema.co.uk


The film In Limbo is the first film in a series by Nine Ladies Film with the company already having a second film scheduled for filming in January 2016. This film, “Visitant”, will be a horror film which explores the poltergeist hauntings in a rural townhouse. The film promises to show a newly married couple that move into an inherited house that are forced to battle their own personal demons as well as the Visitant that inhabits the house. “The film draws from real life experiences and promises to be both a narrative and visually challenging film”, says Stuart Wheeldon


Visitant will once again be written and directed by Stuart also and he is joined by the same production crew that worked on In Limbo. More information can be found about both films at www.nineladiesfilm.com


The trailer for In Limbo can be seen below:





By midlandsmovies, Dec 28 2015 10:39AM

Top 10 local movie posters of 2015


Midlands Movies Mike picks 10 of the promotional movie posters from films made in the region.


* Night Owls (Nottingham) Film by Sophie Black and art by Dan Lord of @forecastdesign

* Crying Wolf (Derby) Film by MonoStereo

* The Witching Hour (Nottingham) Film by Mr. Stitch Films and art by Anthony Winson

* Derelict (Worcestershrire) Film by Venomous Little Man and art by Jamie Huntley

* Killersaurus (Leicester). Film by Steve Lawson

* The Wrong Floor (Leicester). Film by Marc Hamill/Roasted Films and art by Tom Hodge

* Junction 51 (Nottingham) Film by Superfreak Media

* The House of Screaming Death (West Midlands) Film by Lightbeam Productions & art by Colin Webb

* Athena (Leicester) Film by 305 Productions

* Acquiesce (Lincoln) Film and art by Thomas Cuthbertson




By midlandsmovies, Dec 16 2015 09:11AM

Night Owls (2015) Directed by Sophie Black


Sophie Black shows there’s no place like home in this new 12 minute short from the Nottingham director of Ashes (2013) and tells of two unlikely souls meeting in awkward circumstances. The film begins on a rainy night with Jonny McPherson’s “Kent” minding his own business at home, reading diligently as rain pours down. A storm of another sorts occurs when he is interrupted by strange sounds at his door to find “Mari” (Holly Rushbrooke) attempting to break in.


Requesting to enter, Mari is reluctantly invited indoors from the rain by the suspicious Kent who demands she leave once the downpour stops. Drying her hair, he offers her tea and with his young but bespectacled face McPherson deftly plays a character unsure of his place – and it seems – his age.


Age, time and the contrast of young and old are motifs that appear throughout but during their talks together, they are soon drawn to each other’s quirks as they delve into their respective backgrounds. Some dialogue is a bit on the nose (“You know the kid who didn’t fit in”) and feels unnecessary when other aspects of that character tell the audience it’s clearly the case already. However, other lines help flesh out how they see each other – “You look like the kind of guy who would own a cat” with more being said in the spaces between words than their chat itself.


Black has filled her shots with trinkets and objects of all sorts including candelabras to barometers which give off an archaic tone to the proceedings and this classicism continues with the film’s photography and colour grading using mottled bronze and dark browns. Cracked leather boots and antique clocks continue the great mise-en-scene with Black’s background in costume and set design being a standout positive of the tale.


McPherson as Kent looks adrift throughout; a lonely soul in a “gargantuan” house that he says he can’t get lost in but his life appears lost in more ways than one. In contrast, Mari prods and probes with her questions like a burglar trying to break into the private world Kent has constructed. The two opposites soon find common ground however. First, in music (the old-fashioned Kent has LPs of course) and then they bond over a shared cannabis joint.


A “God-shot” camera angle finally places them in a scene together (head to toe no less) whilst the previous floating handheld camera was used to great effect poking into their lives. The antiquated discussions continue as the characters converse on diverse subjects such as parents and death but they find more mutual comfort as strangers who feel distant from their families. Feeling like lost causes, Black ensures that they look at each other through smoky hazes, again peeking through the artifices they have placed upon themselves. Trying to decipher each other through this cloud, the actors pull off both the tricky task of honesty yet failing to disclose all their private fears.


The short ends on a high as a surprise is kept (not swept) “under the carpet” and as morning arrives, a new light shines on both of them and a tale of two opposites possibly becomes the dawn of a new friendship.


A well thought-out short, the film’s themes are its greatest asset and Black also throws in some nods to Hollywood history too. We find Mari is short for Marilyn (of Monroe fame) and a symbolic pair of ruby slippers evoke a new journey and return home to family. I’d recommend catching this great short on its inevitable successful festival run and Black’s elegant style and nods to bygone eras make this a charm to watch.


8/10


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Oct 11 2015 06:57PM

Comic Con Leicester


Full set of photos from the event courtesy of Jimo Jones are at this link - click here


On Sunday 11the October Midlands Movies Mike headed down to Comic Con Leicester at the city’s cultural quarter where a full day of comic creators, video gaming, movie memorabilia and cosplay costumes descended on the city. Held at the art-deco Athena venue, Midlands Movies joined the (large) crowds to see what fantastical fun could be had...


Entering through Leicester’s Orton Square early in the morning, I was aware that Comic Con Leicester had already sold out such is the explosion in all things that were once considered firmly in the realm of “geek”. Now popular with the mainstream, my local Comic Con already had a snaking queue around the large building and at the entrance was a gull-winged DeLorean from Back to the Future for photo opportunities. So far so good. And the day just got better.


Once inside, the Athena venue covers multiple floors and was once a cinema so has many tiers and balconies. After attending a number of other comic cons that are so often in large and flat arena-style settings, it was hugely refreshing to see the stalls set up across all the levels which meant that even if you were at the back of the auditorium, you were so high up you could still see the stage and lots of people dressed up.


With very welcoming staff and assistants, I wandered through the stalls, gaming zones and zombie make-up artists and was impressed by the range and quality of everyone showcasing their work and skills.


Obviously, Leicester was well represented with illustrator Rachael Smith whose comic The Rabbit has recently be nominated for best book at The British Comic Awards www.rachaelsmith.org At the next stall, Ryan Button who donated a Pan’s Labyrinth print for one of our early competitions showcased his brilliant drawing skills with amazing prints featuring Transformers, Skeletor and Stormtroopers as well as his dabbles as a storyboard artist of local films www.rbillustration.com


Also previously on our site and promoting his latest comedy webisodes was Thomas Crook and his two cartoons www.cheesemen.co.uk & www.afrogoblinandchums.co.uk Another Leicester favourite was “Zombie Ed” from Terror 4 Fun who runs the longest running film festival in the area and was suitably done up in undead make-up scaring the patrons where he could www.terror4fun.com


I was hugely impressed with the film-related poster art of John Pearson who also creates comics and his movie-inspired work can be seen at his website here www.johnjpearson.co.uk I found a musical connection with artist David Millgate whose Iron Maiden t-shirt complimented my own and his 2000AD and Predator artwork showcased the Leicester artist’s talents with paint and brush https://twitter.com/davidmillgate


Also already featured on Midlands Movies, it was great to see Lincolnshire film “The Drift” by Backyard Productions showcasing their successful sci-fi feature. Filmmaker Darren Scales brought along a scale model of one of the spacecraft which showed the passion he and his crew put into creating large ideas on a small budget. Follow the film on Twitter - @bypuk @thedriftmovie


Comic artists were extensively showcased (obvs) and some of the talent included German artist Anja Uhren (http://anja-uhren.blogspot.co.uk) whose art is influenced by her own travels whilst Vanessa J Hill http://vanessajhill.tumblr.com is informed by military, sci-fi, fantasy and more. Keith Chan graduated from the University of Wolverhampton in the Midlands and specialises in cartooning in various mediums and genres (www.keith-chan.co.uk) and artist Verity Hall had a fairy tale aesthetic in her teenage coming of age comics http://www.comicsy.co.uk/midnightmilk


Hoshi-Kou https://www.facebook.com/HKillustrations is inspired by Manga and Japanese woodcut art as well as tattoo design and another artist with Asian influences was Lauren Rowley in her comic Bubblegum girl http://www.laurenrowley.co.uk


More locally, Leicester illustrator Rebecca Mansfield also creates animation which can be seen via Vimeo at http://rebeccamansfieldart.tumblr.com whilst fellow Leicester-based Drew Askew works on storyboards, comic books, children's books and commissioned work. www.inkandbooze.com. Based in Birmingham, Steve Tanner of Time Bomb Comics has been publishing one-shots and graphic novels from historical horror to mind-bending science-fiction since 2007. http://www.timebombcomics.com


Russell Hillman of Freaktown Comics headed down early from Yorkshire with their Deadly Burlesque comic https://www.facebook.com/FreaktownComics and also travelling from further afield were Dead All Over who produce Limited Edition Pop Culture prints from sugar skull designs to zombie-movie crossovers of Darth Maul, Iron Man and Kick Ass. http://www.deadallover.co.uk Artist Richard Rudge from Birmingham showcased his own comics including "Eat Your Heart Out" and "Galactic Scrap Collector" http://richardrudge.daportfolio.com and the unique “The Ever Winter Series” by Tara Behan & Matthew Hill was a children’s adventure story set in a magical kingdom https://theeverwinterseries.wordpress.com


The talent continued with Kayla Gill of Lunaci whose expertise is in bespoke digital illustration and hand-drawn art work www.lunaci.co.uk and Patrick Scattergood of Dark Pond Creations was promoting his Neil Gaiman inspired Flesh Tones and The Meek graphic novels https://www.facebook.com/DarkPondCreations


These (and many more who I didn’t get around to talk to) was just the tip of a huge array of regional and national talents which demonstrated the high level of talent from independent artists, filmmakers and comic creators. And please check out the above links to find out about many of the people and their most recent projects and creations. With hours of entertainment, the full day was tiring but hugely successful and a big thank you should go to the organisers Gavin & Richard who should be very proud of the hard work put in to an entertaining event for all ages.


Midlands Movies Mike


http://www.comicconleicester.co.uk


More photos coming soon courtesy of Midlands Movies and Jim Jones

By midlandsmovies, Sep 17 2015 04:09PM

Lab Rats (2015)


Written and Directed by David 'dwyz' Wayman

Produced by Lauren Parker

Team Chameleon


This new short horror film from Nottingham is directed by David Wayman and follows a group of friends who go to an animal testing facility in a van to check on the shady goings on at a sinister laboratory. “Remember, don’t get caught”, they are told by their driver as he leaves the eco-warriors to investigate the building at night thus setting the stage for this rag-tag band of do-gooders to break in.


A suitably spooky soundtrack works well with some interesting shot choices as the group creep around the building, through corridors and stairwells before peering into eerie lab rooms containing scientific equipment of all descriptions. The acting is solid with the diverse cast playing eclectic characters and without any apparent alarms the group jimmy-open the doors to continue their adventure in the dark.


The first person to be picked off is grabbed by an infected hand from a bin and the mixture of horror and comedy is pretty standard as these things routinely go. The effects however are very good and it’s also edited at a brisk pace which keeps the tension up as the group stumble upon grotesque horrors that are shown with a disgusting but hugely entertaining amount of pus, blood and gore.


The filming style is also great with even a JJ Abrams lens flare or two thrown in and the short film even has time to cut to phone footage, news reports and security cams to keep the visuals interesting for the viewer.


I am not quite sure why there was so much swearing from one character which grated on me after a while – but I guess we had to think he was obnoxious. This can’t be held too much against the film as meaning and character(s) and their motivation has to come across quicker in a short than say in a lengthy feature.


Later on we see a woman melting which is genuinely disgusting and although there are a few jumps I thought for one strange moment that there were not enough screams. Maybe they just needed to be raised in the sound mix.


As the film comes to its sticky end, the story rotates full circle after the reveal of a shadowy cigarette-chomping businessman who arrives with some Hazmat-suit wearing security.


This twist shocks the audience again and whilst some choices keep with the genre clichés, in reality this leaves the story open enough for development of a longer full-length film.


Having seen, and been a big fan of, the filmmaker’s previous short “6 Shooter” which is now being developed into a feature itself, the film showcases a wide range of talent.


From a simple but efficient narrative, it is the effects especially that keep the movie at the forefront of Nottingham’s finest and I recommend you go see this gloomy and gory horror hit when it shows at the regions' festivals.


7.5/10 Midlands Movies Mike


By midlandsmovies, Jul 27 2015 07:23PM

Penny For The Guy (2015)


Big Frog Films


Directed by Kaush Patel & Nigel Buckley


Frank is a bitter homeless man spending his day as he does every other with the hope of passers by lending a hand, or even the occasional contents of their pockets. Accepting the life he’s forced to live, a visit from a friendly face soon turns into a chilling one when Frank learns of an evil in the world he never knew existed.


Nigel Buckley plays down on his luck Frank whilst Carla Buckley plays the warming social worker Imelda, who is keen to learn of how this homeless man ended up the way he is. The entire short is shot in an underpass, that whilst may seem a simple and easy location is displayed from various choice angles that make a lasting effect, particularly when Frank’s unfortunate scenario becomes even more so.


Credit must also be cast on the impressive make-up provided by Alex Bourne, when the unwelcome visitor makes their apperance and things go south for Frank. All adding to daring effort for a film that was shot in a mere four nights.


5/10


Guest reviewer Nick Staniforth

By midlandsmovies, Jul 27 2015 07:17PM

Stereotypes (2015)


Directed by Jordan & Rebecca McGibney


When a tragic death links two men walking very different paths, decisions must be made and life-changing actions must be taken if they are to ever recover from it. Stereotypes comes from directors Jordan and Rebecca McGibney, with a script penned by Luke McGibney who also stars in the short that gives an honest depiction of two opposing cultures, in one heartwrenching story.


These pair of tormented souls come in the form of Jordan Smith as the young Leroy Williams and Luke McGibney as Judas Blakely. Both do a wonderful job of battling their own personal demons and facing the consequences that come from it.


McGibney plays the corrupted Blakely, a father-to-be whose world is close to collapsing, which acts as a great constrast to Smith’s Leroy, whose world already has. Extra special mention must also go to Noor Lawson as Judas’ girlfriend, and Leroy’s brother Dez who both have a hand in trying to reallign our leads moral compasses.


Brilliantly displaying the bleak worlds the two characters inhabit, there are some effective scenes in Stereotypes that highlight the pressing matters it’s so keen to focus on. The build up to its final moments are pieced together impressively, all working to send a message that good or bad, everyone has a choice to make - watching this would be a good one.


7/10


Guest reviewer Nick Staniforth

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