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By midlandsmovies, Dec 2 2017 09:46AM



Random Acts and Rural Media - Part 2


We take another look at a selection of young filmmakers from across the East and West Midlands who have been involved in the Random Acts/Rural Media programme in the region. Please check out the talented filmmakers and their films below.


To read more about other filmmakers from the programme please check out Part 1 of our showcase here.





The Legend of Rawry (Herefordshire)

A fantasy drawing animation based on the Michael Bailon’s own drawings, this short focuses on dragons and more. Introduced by Michael himself who has autism, the filmmaker is a young artist who is from the ASD community. AT just 17 years old Michael’s inspiration includes Pixar, Manga, Marvel and of course himself.





Dancer of the Future (Herefordshire)

Made by Anna Campbell her film focuses on pole-dancing which only recently has become a fitness phenomenon which celebrates the aspects of women which have historically been repressed: strength and sexuality. Anna says that “Pole represents a shift in how women view their bodies: from the aesthetic to the functional. The extent to which women will cripple themselves in order to exaggerate feminine beauty can be seen in footwear. Pole dancers now are barefoot, as utility becomes more important than image; pole is about what the body can do, not how it looks”. Anna Campbell is a creative writing student with a passion for filmmaking and pole-dancing.



Impact (Worcestershire)

"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with veterans of war, however, many diagnosed with PTSD are affected through other traumas. This short drama by Eleanor Smart explores the stigma surrounding PTSD. Elle is a graduate from University of Worcester and has a degree in Digital Film Production & Screen Writing.



Super Citrus Force (Leicestershire)

Filmmaker Laurence Maybury creates a crime-fighting duo who have to stop an evil villain from objectifying women... LITERALLY! The film is a combination of British surrealist comedy and Japanese special effects from the 24 year-old filmmaker who has a degree in media production and has been making short films since he was just 16.



Oblivion (Lincolnshire)

This animation from Sarah Worcester is a first person POV film that allows the viewer to feel like they are inside the trapped world of someone who is suffering with a mental illness. The young animator from Lincolnshire is influenced by Florence & the Machine and has found her Random Acts experience “artistically exciting and challenging”.












By midlandsmovies, Nov 20 2017 09:34AM



Sundance Film Festival award winning director comes to Birmingham


A Sundance Film Festival award winning director, who filmed her experience living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, has come to Birmingham to showcase her critically acclaimed documentary Unrest.


Jennifer Brea’s documentary Unrest which won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was shown at the Mac, as part of the third Screening Rights Film Festival.




Unrest follows her experience living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis which is more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, and she started documenting her life after showing her doctor a video she recorded on her phone of one of her symptoms.


“I had been trying for eighteen months to explain my experience in words, millions of people have been trying for decades to explain their experiences. Words fail because people translate them to what is familiar to them and there is something about the visual image that is different.”


The documentary also follows the online community of chronic fatigue syndrome patients, and the co-director believes that it was important to give an insight into the daily lives of people from around the world, by bringing a virtual reality experience to the festival.


“I thought if we could take people into our homes and bedrooms into these spaces and moments that they never get to witness, then maybe that would have to start to change the conversation."


“I chose to create a VR experience as I think the kind of internal experience that ME patients go through is very hard to convey.”




One of the Screening Rights Film Festival’s organisers Dr Michele Aaron, said that Unrest: “Tells a personal story that has not been told within mainstream culture before, and it tells of the power of activism in this process.”


Rebekah Smith


@rebekahsmithy


By midlandsmovies, Nov 20 2017 09:20AM



Interview with Screening Rights Film Festival organiser Michelle Aaron


Film festival organiser Dr Michele Aaron gives an insight to Rebekah Smith on what inspired her to set up The Screening Rights Festival and the process in selecting independent films for it.


Now in its third year the week long Screening Rights Film Festival, which was hosted at the Mac in Birmingham, was the most successful yet.


Warwick University lecturer and one of the festival organiser Dr Michele Aaron said she established the festival after spending."In many years writing about the inadequacies of the depiction of human adversity in mainstream film culture as an academic I wanted to do something more immediate and more concrete about it as well. I wanted to bring films to Birmingham that wouldn't normally come.”


This year’s festival was held between 26th October and the 1st November, with the Birmingham film festival priding itself in showcasing independent films from around the world and aims to create debate on the potential of film to affect personal, social and political change.


“The festival is all about creating a platform and space to engage with pressing issues of contemporary society in a different way to mass media, bringing films that 'come from' the people most affected by these issues themselves is crucial", adds Michelle.


This year’s festival featured international critically acclaimed documentaries about online censorship, Syrian refugees and the Aramean genocide, alongside guest panels. She hopes to incorporate British independent films into the programme during future festivals.


“There were some especially powerful events the films chosen are always important and moving but this year we were lucky to have special guests, panels and audiences that took the films' impact to another level.”


“These films do not usually make it to Birmingham but there is definitely an audience for them.”


Check out Screening Rights Festival here https://screeningrights.org/


Rebekah Smith


@rebekahsmithy



By midlandsmovies, Sep 19 2017 10:07AM



Midlands Professional - Birmingham actor Andre Pierre


Our Professional series continues as Midlands Movies chats to Andre Pierre – an actor form the region who shares his background and experience in the industry.


Mike finds out more about his past projects as well as his new major 2018 film “15 Minutes of War” directed by Fred Grivois.


The Midlands

Andre Pierre is a professional actor from Birmingham (West Midlands) and is represented by IPM (Imperial Personal Management). With over 7 years of acting experience, including workshops at The Crescent Theatre and Millennium Point, he took his experience to the Birmingham Theatre School before moving into short and feature films, TV and theatre.


“I have a variety of upcoming films coming up including sci-Fi drama “Graycon” directed by Duaine Carma Roberts, superhero TV pilot “Lucid The Dreamwalker”, an action thriller feature film “TONY” and an urban drama feature film called “Blitz In The Bitz” which are all premiering in October”.



Acting beginnings

“My foundation for acting in general started when I was 13. My first role into films was an educational short film called “My Life My Choice” and it was the first time I auditioned for any kind of film project. At the time I had no clue to how big and how much attention this film was going to receive”.


The trailer to the film went viral which was closely followed by a premiere at Star City in Birmingham. Andre Pierre continues, “Being part of this made me realise the power a film can have on people and was the turning point for me to become a professional actor. Since then I’ve had numerous leading and supporting roles”.


Exclusive Shot From Short Film “Last Night In Freedom” Directed By Click Jones Coming Soon
Exclusive Shot From Short Film “Last Night In Freedom” Directed By Click Jones Coming Soon

Overcoming Hurdles

“Staying committed regardless of how many no’s you receive sounds like a cliché but it’s very true in this industry. You have to have thick skin because part of your job is dealing with criticism from your audience, critics, directors, casting directors etc. You are going to judged by everyone and it’s something you cannot get past so you have to whole heartedly believe in yourself, believe in your talent and believe in your work ethic to reach the goals you set out for yourself”.




Superhero TV Pilot "Lucid The Dreamwalker" Directed By The Johnson Bros Coming Soon


Acting methods

“I always analyse the script and talk with the director first and foremost to make sure what direction they want the character to go in. But I always bring honesty and authenticity to my performances so want to make sure that you see the truth in the characters I’m playing. This needs to be related to the story so you are invested in them along their journey. I always try to see how my character moves and talks, how does he react in various situations etc so a lot of research in one or another. I always want my characters to be relatable, interesting and as grounded as possible to give the best performances”.


Challenges faced by actors on local films

“There are so many challenges it varies but it could be from noise being too loud on the location, actors dropping out at the last minute and filming days going on longer than expected. I would say, for actors, just prepare yourself for anything on an independent or short film because it’s all training grounds for the bigger platforms and it only helps you to get better at your craft when you go through these experiences”.

Andre Pierre Playing James From Feature Film “TONY” Directed By Jack Veasey
Andre Pierre Playing James From Feature Film “TONY” Directed By Jack Veasey

Acting experiences

“I think my best acting experience was filming in Morocco for the feature film “15 Minutes Of War” (15 Minutes De Guerre). It has been my first role filming abroad but also my first big role on a film on this scale with so much action, working with a Hollywood actress and rising movie stars as well as a critically acclaimed director. It’s been like nothing I’ve ever done before. I was developing the character, learning the language and filming the first week in Casablanca before shooting the rest of the film in Marrakech in the desert which was challenging within itself but also a pure joy I will never forget. The worst experience was not being fully prepared for an audition when I was starting out. It was so horrible [laughs] but it was also a learning curve for me to always to be ready and give yourself enough time to prepare for auditions in the future. I made sure that never happened again”.


Advice for beginners

“The best advice I can pass on is to try and get some form of training whether it’s in drama or theatre school, performing arts courses or acting workshops. This training gives you the foundation and tools to become the best performer possible. Using Star Now or Mandy (Casting Call Pro) are good for getting started to find some form of work as well. Another alternative route is to find friends that are making films and get involved - or even just create your own films”.


Best advice from others

“I was told to ‘risk everything’ and what I take from that is you have to risk looking like an idiot at times to bring out the best performance. There’s been many times where either the director or I had to push myself even further to bring out my full potential and sometimes you might think that’s not normal or you might be self conscious. That is the very thing what pushes it from good to great so I would always say push past your comfort zone. Now, when I’m usually fearful of something I haven’t done before, it only encourages me to do better and discover new skills about myself I thought I didn’t have”.


A Shot From Short Film “The Glove Game: Beginning” Directed By Josh Bliss
A Shot From Short Film “The Glove Game: Beginning” Directed By Josh Bliss

Future plans

“The future is looking very bright for next year and beyond. I’ll be in a lot more feature films and TV shows. My work is already opening up more opportunities than I ever imagined so I will be in fewer short films than before. The journey has been full of many surprises and I feel very blessed and thankful to be in this position right now”.


Final words

“I would say that you have to believe in yourself first and foremost and love the craft because this journey won’t be easy. It’s not going to happen overnight so enjoy the process, enjoy the journey and learn as much as you can from other creatives. Don’t wait on that big opportunity to come to you work towards it now whether it’s being part of theatre or short and independent films but get yourself out there and make your career happen!”.


Check out more from Andre Pierre on his Spotlight page here: https://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/0811-3493-3372


A Shot From Horror Short Film “Bless You” Directed By Daryl Grizzle



Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jun 27 2017 02:56PM



The Telephone (2017)

Directed by Stuart Connock Wheeldon

Nine Ladies Film


A simple piano refrain and shots of quirky antiquities opens new horror short The Telephone from Nine Ladies Film.


With a more experimental introduction than previous films, Wheeldon has used images to create a sense of intrigue as we cross-jump shot-to-shot between seemingly random items and a list of missing persons before settling down for the tale.


Nigel Barber (as Max) is shown as a tormented artist scrawling Pollock-esque paint ejaculations across a canvas, before a parallel narrative shows a man (Bern Deegan as Richard) in a red telephone box. What follows is a series of eerie dream sequences experienced by Richard and as we receive these uncertain errors with him, the audience begins to ask if these are real or imagined. Or are they even glimpses of the past?


Well, Richard turns out to be a journalist investigating the disappearances highlighted at the film’s start but the relationship between him and the mysterious Max is intentionally vague. The constant telephone ringing provides an interesting background noise to the (hinted-upon) mental torment that Barber and Bern are encountering as well.


The main narrative is only hinted at, with the audience having to do much of the work as the jarring edits and almost non-existent dialogue create a mysterious puzzle that I hope most viewers would throw themselves into.


The music is great if a little overpowering at times and is edited higher in the mix than the sound effects – mainly the title’s ‘buzzing’ telephone – but the cleverly constructed angles and shots maintain a good sense of intrigue. Black and white flashbacks keeps the visuals appealing and the film had the suburban weirdness of Ben Wheatley’s Kill List and even a bit of Nic Roeg thrown in there too.


A big change of style for the local filmmaker, the short film definitely prioritises atmosphere and feeling over narrative. Personally I found the lack of story a bit frustrating at the start, but the film clarifies further in the second half and answers some of the uncertainties but also cleverly leaves you hanging on a number of points.


Some may be put off by the dream/nightmare-like randomness of the plot threads but I recommend putting any doubts ‘on hold’ for a high-concept hazy nightmare. In the end, The Telephone ends up being a great calling card for Wheeldon and a huge leap forward for the director in style and visual story-telling.


Midlands Movies Mike


Watch the full short on the Vimeo video below:




By midlandsmovies, Jun 20 2017 08:19AM

Just Desserts (2017)

Dir. Liam Banks


The latest offering from Superfreak Media is Just Desserts, a slapstick comedy short reminiscent of the silent films of the past.


Directed by Midlands filmmaker Liam Banks, Just Desserts plays out a night in a restaurant which is occupied by a man and his girlfriend, the waiter, a lone woman and a man who just wants his soup.


Watching this short reminded me of Charlie Chaplin’s early work or The Marx Brothers as the characters are exposed to physical comedy as a way to express their situation. The waiter struggles to keep his restaurant calm and serene as his customer’s private lives take centre stage.


The attention to detail and the clear effort gone into making this short is what really sells itself to the viewer. I was glued for the entire five-minute running time, appreciating every aspect of the production as well as enjoying watching a genre that doesn’t get enough exposure in the modern climate.


The cinematography and editing are evocative of those classic silent films, the grainy “old film reel” look of the film is consistent throughout the film and is one of my favourite elements of the film, whilst the editing employs the slightly sped up effect to emulate how early silent films were shown.


Complimenting what is shown visually is the original music by Pav Gekko which is a fantastic piece of music in its own right.


However, I don’t think the film would have been successful if the actors were not game. The cast, Adam Read, Melvyn Rawlinson, Steve Wood, Sarah Wynne Kordas (who also wrote the short) and Karen Best were professional and managed to keep a straight face throughout something I would have struggled to do!


Liam Banks, known mostly for his work in the Horror genre, shows that his talents are vast and can go beyond terrifying his audience, he can also make them laugh.


Guy Russell

By midlandsmovies, Jun 15 2017 10:16AM



Summer Nights outdoor film screenings head to the Midlands


Seven years in and the Summer Nights Film Festival is back at thirteen locations across Derbyshire and the UK. Presented by QUAD on an inflatable twelve metre screen, Summer Nights Festival screenings offer the chance to enjoy the great outdoors for a unique cinematic experience.


New venues for 2017 include Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire and additional nights have been added to some Midlands venues, including Wollaton Hall in Nottingham and Baddesley Clinton, in Warwickshire. Derbyshire venues are Kedleston Hall, Calke Abbey and Hardwick Hall.


The full list of Midlands dates, venues and films for the summer are below:


Kedleston Hall, in Derbyshire is showing Bridget Jones’ Baby (15) on Friday 21st July and The Legend Of Tarzan (12A) on Saturday 22nd July.


Baddesley Clinton, in Warwickshire is showing Dirty Dancing (12A) on Thursday 27th July, Fantastic Beasts (12A) on Friday 28th July and Pretty Woman (15) on Saturday 29th July.


Calke Abbey, in Derbyshire is showing Mamma Mia (PG) on Thursday 3rd August, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (12A with subtitles) on Friday 4th August and Footloose (12A) on Saturday 5th August.


Clumber Park, in Nottinghamshire is showing Dirty Dancing (12A) on Friday 4th August and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (12A) on Saturday 5th August.


Hardwick Hall, in Derbyshire is showing La La Land (12A) on Friday 18th August and Top Gun (12A) on Saturday 19th August.


Wollaton Hall, in Nottingham is showing Moulin Rouge (12A) on Thursday 24th August, Pretty Woman (15) on Friday 25th August, Jurassic Park (PG) on Saturday 26th August, The Dark Knight Rises (12A subtitled) on Sunday 27th August and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (12A) on Monday 28th August.


Belton House, in Lincolnshire is showing Pretty Woman (15) on Friday 8th and Top Gun (12A) on Saturday 9th September.


Standard tickets cost £13 for adults or £9 for under 12s, tickets for children aged under five years are free.


For more information on films, venues or to book tickets, please call QUAD Box Office on 01332 290606 or go to www.summernightsfilm.co.uk


Summer Nights Film Festival has also teamed up with award winning artisan food specialist Hackwood Farm, based in Radbourne, Derby, who are offering pre-ordered traditional wicker picnic hampers for two people packed with tasty traditional picnic fare and including a blanket, glasses, plates and cutlery. You can pre-order their hamper when purchasing their Summer Nights tickets. There will also be drinks and desserts available on the night at selected venues from Bobby’s Bar and Flow Catering. Please see the Summer Nights website for full details.


By midlandsmovies, May 4 2017 11:20AM



Tony Gibbons is an established actor hailing from our very own region with a string of prominent roles in Midlands films and beyond. With award-winning Checking In and the forthcoming House of Screaming Death already in the bag, Tony is now developing his career in America. In this new interview, Midlands Movies Mike speaks to the actor about his influences, method and forthcoming projects.


Midlands Movies: Hi Tony. How are things in the Midlands for you right now?

Tony Gibbons: Great thanks Mike!


MM: I know you’ve been out in Los Angeles recently so are you from the region at all?

TG: Yes...I'm born and bred in Wolverhampton! But now spend a lot of my time in Los Angeles working on projects there.


MM: That must have been quite the change from Wolverhampton?! Which do you prefer, Hollywood or The Midlands?

TG: You could say that! I actually love both. Obviously Wolves is my home but I lived and worked in Manchester and London, too, before making the move to LA...and I've started to make a home out in the sunshine, too.


MM: And what about the work? How does working in Hollywood compare to working in the Midlands?

TG: Right now most of my work is in the US, and I feel really lucky to be working on bigger and bigger projects and getting to work alongside amazing acting talent and film makers, but I love working back home to work when I can, too. We have so much talent in the Midlands! I think some of the best film makers in Europe are from the Midlands. I've been fortunate to work with Dave Hastings on 'Checking In' and 'The House of Screaming Death', and that whole team is a credit to our area and the industry, and I think Liam Banks is one of the most exciting young film makers out there today – and I got to work with him, too, on 'The Copy-Writer'! I'm hoping to work with them both again soon.


MM: Do you (or the projects you choose) specialise in any genres?

TG: I love working on all types of projects and never planned to work in just one genre, but if you look at my recent credits it certainly looks like I specialise in horror and sci-fi! I did the US TV show 'My Haunted House', then 'House of Screaming Death' with the wonderful Dave Hastings back here in the Midlands, and 'Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter', a sci-fi action epic that's about to be released in the US, and another US feature I just booked the lead in is very sci-fi, too!


MM: Any particular faves though?

TG: I have to say I have been enjoying the action/horror/sci-fi stuff – it’s a lot of fun to shoot! - but I also enjoy working in other genres, and love anything with true to life characters and emotion, like 'Checking In', which was very much a character driven drama.


MM: Spreading yourself across a wide range of projects – and geographical locations – you must have come up against different challenges. What has been the most difficult one you have overcome?

TG: Actually, for me it was probably “coming out” as an actor. I was a sports kid, and wanted to be a footballer most of my life, and then went to University to do a Law degree. So when I told my parents – half way through my degree – that “I think I want to take acting classes”, it was definitely a shock! I had never shown any interest in drama at school, but I felt this pull towards acting that I couldn't really explain. Once I started training, and working, I never looked back, so I'd say to young actors to follow their hearts and put the work in. Oh, and be patient!



MM: How do you like to work with directors? Any good (or bad) experiences?

TG: I must have been very lucky because most of my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. I've heard some horror stories from other sets, but I've never had a problem with a director. When I was starting out I used to always want more direction. Like, they wouldn't give me any so I didn't know if what I was doing was good or not, but now I love working with those types of directors. If they've cast you, it’s because they like what you do, so it becomes much more collaborative, letting you do your thing as an actor and bring your own contributions to the table. That's what I've experienced on all my most successful projects, like 'Checking In', 'The Cup of Wrath', and 'Rogue Warrior'. There's probably good reason why these directors are award winning!


MM: Out of your many, many, film and stage projects, what has been your greatest success?

TG: Playing Macbeth on stage, early in my career is something I don't think will ever stop being a highlight for me. It was a wonderful experience and something that has stayed with me throughout my career. Over the past couple of years I have been so lucky have worked on projects that have had massive success. Winning Best British Film at the London Film Awards with (the Midlands made) 'Checking In' was incredible, and being invited to attend the Cannes Film Festival with 'The Cup of Wrath' is the sort of thing every actor dreams about. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do something I love as a career, and honestly, every project I work on feels like the next achievement.


MM: And besides acting, what else have you been up to?

TG: I'm actually really excited because I was recently asked by a couple of industry publications to write 'expert advice' columns. My first article was just published on Backstage, and I'm going to be writing some more, both for Backstage and a couple of other trade outlets. I'm also really excited to be part of the Birmingham Film Festival. I'm working with them as a judge, and get to watch lots of great movies in doing so!


MM: And looking over the horizon, what’s in Tony’s future plans?

TG: Work, work, work! I just recently booked an amazing role in a movie that I'll be shooting this Summer in the US, which I can't wait to start work on. I have a few other US projects lined up after that, too, but also hope to pop back home some time to work on something else in the Midlands!


MM: That sounds perfect to me and the region and its talent would more than welcome you back with open arms. All the best for the future.

TG: Thanks, it’s been great.


Check out further information on Tony and his latest projects by clicking and following on the links below:


http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2971362


http://www.allstarsactors.tv/listing/tony-gibbons/


https://twitter.com/tonygibbons5?lang=en

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