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By midlandsmovies, May 8 2018 07:50PM



Knots Untie (2018)


Directed by A-jay Hackett


Writer and director Ajay Hackett’s latest short film is something reminiscent of her childhood. Knots Untie is based around her relationship with her dad when she was little, and ultimately the film consists of some really touching moments as a result.


What I liked about the film is that it had the ability to take the viewer back to when they were a little kid.


There was one shot of our young widower David Stallard and his daughter Harriet Ling reading the day’s papers and that reminded me so much of how I used to copy my grandad when I was little. To be able to take a person back to moments like that is a majorly powerful quality for any film to have, but I have noticed that short films such as this one do very well when they include such scenes.


I think it’s because the films need to compensate for not having the freedom to tell a three hour long saga, because generally speaking, without a decent story to get your teeth into, it can sometimes be difficult to get fully into what you’re watching. By adding these personal touches that connect so strongly with viewers, you can avoid the need for a Lord Of The Rings scale story because you’ve reminded them of something that ultimately keeps their attention focused on the film.


I also thought it was nice that straightaway the film blows out of the water all ideas you might have about what exactly the story is going to be about. The title, along with the opening shot of a sympathy card with a photograph in the background points towards something that potentially could be quite a bleak tale.


However, what we actually get to witness is something quite the opposite. Whilst it’s easy to look at this film and think that it’s about the memories a father has of his daughter when she was growing up, it can also be taken that there is some sort of deeper meaning that we should spend more time being thankful for what we have as opposed to dwelling on what we don’t, which is what I found the contrast between the opening shot and the rest of the film to be very symbolic of.


In terms of how the film was put together, I liked the hazy glow that was given to the times being looked back on. When compared to the present day shots, it was clear that those memories were happy ones because of the editing that had taken place there. It’s something that I’ve seen on a few occasions and I think it’s something that always works well when used in the right way, which was very much the case here.


If you’re looking for a film to take you back to when you were younger, remind you of times gone by, then you could do worse than Knots Untie. Hackett’s story here is one that is clearly deeply personal to her, but it’s one that has a lot of touches that have the potential to reach out to anyone who takes the time out of their day to watch it, which is where I believe it’s greatest strengths lie.

Kira Comerford


Twitter @FilmAndTV101


By midlandsmovies, Apr 10 2018 03:51PM



Nevermore (2018) Dir. Derry Felton


Nevermore is a short film adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe poem, The Raven, by filmmaker Derry Felton. I will say straight away that it’s probably not something that everyone will go in for, but if you’re someone who is a fan of Poe’s work, or perhaps gothic-type pieces, Nevermore might be worth investing some time into.


I liked what Felton attempted here. I think there’s always a lot of inspiration to be taken from literary works because they are so open to interpretation. This whole idea that the story centred around someone who had been institutionalised following some sort of personal tragedy was a very grim route to take. But I can’t ever really fault people for going with darker narratives, and I think with work such as Poe’s, you’d struggle to go far wrong with this approach anyway, regardless of what the viewer’s personal tastes would be.


I think what would’ve been better for me personally, as someone not familiar with the source until I’d done some further reading, would’ve been some more information on the wider context in which the story is set. In the film, there’s flashbacks pointing towards the past of the characters in question, but something like a short prologue wouldn’t have gone amiss in setting the scene before ploughing on with the story.



Something else that I think would have also helped people like myself who aren’t as well-read on Poe’s work, especially the poem on which this is based, would’ve been to put a more up-to-date twist on the language. I have to admit that this was something that caused me the most issues as I struggled to follow the, at times, quite lyrical dialogue that flowed throughout the entire piece.


It’s something that I think has been done with a few of Shakespeare’s works to some extent, and I know from experience that modern takes on anything revolving around literature can often help it appeal to more people, and also boost understanding of what’s going on.


As I’ve said, I liked the interpretation of the poem. I think the idea of basing the story around someone who had gone reasonably insane was a good one, and is definitely one of the strengths of this film.


There were times, however, that I felt it got a little bit too abstract. Now whether this is due to my unfamiliarity with the original works I can’t say for sure, but there were definitely a few moments that went over my head, which is why I say some form of wider context, or modern translation wouldn’t have done any harm at all.

One final thing that caught my attention were the contrasting looks of this film. I thought there were some decisions made during that editing process that have worked well for this short and the story it told. The harsh lights and the blue tones used in some shots mixed well with the faded appearance of some of the others, and I noticed that this went some way in helping me with my understanding of the storyline.


On the whole, I think this is a solid attempt at adapting a piece of literature that I’d imagine wouldn’t be massively easy to work with. There’s definitely potential to be taken from this film, and also a few tips to be taken on board that will hopefully mean that Felton’s next project is even better. It’s not for everyone, not by any means at all, but if dark, period poetry is where your passion lies, and for quite a lot of people it does, this is definitely worth a punt.


Kira Comerford


www.twitter.com/FilmAndTV101




By midlandsmovies, Mar 16 2018 11:00AM

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 20 – 26 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)


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


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