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By midlandsmovies, Apr 5 2018 08:51PM


Trapped (2017) Dir. Thomas Longstaff


Finding the laughs amongst the darkness, local writer-director Thomas Longstaff creates a unique comedy take on a trip to the wilderness in his new film Trapped. The film is a 4 ½ minute short opening on a beanie-clad hiker, taking in the deep breaths of fresh air before he begins to embark on a journey into a forest.


But soon the audience has their breath taken away themselves as the jaunty and bright opening leads us almost instantly into a trap. And this trap being a literal historic bear-trap that ensnares our protagonist with a rusty metal grip around his leg.


Screaming in pain and begging for help, the audience feel every sharp twist as the lead winces and whines as the awfulness of his predicament slowly dawns.


Graeme Brooks plays the unlucky captured man and provides a fun performance of overdramatic shrieks. And despite the character’s best efforts he is unable to loosen himself from its tortured grip.


The tension is sliced with comedic cuts as we see our ‘hero’ indulge in some crisp munching before he resigns himself to his fate as night draws in. With the symbolic breaking of a chocolate bar, we quickly realise that the man is going to go full ‘127 Hours’ on us.


Here the filmmakers pull no punches (or should that be kicks). Some gruesome blood effects swiftly move this short from humour to horror. Kudos too should go to sound designer Edward Towers whose bloody squelches and bony crunches are an aural enjoyment. But be prepared if you’re not a fan of wounds and gore.


With a wicked sting in the tale, Trapped is an amusing short that relishes in the tongue-in-cheek (foot-in-trap?) nature of the comedy-horror genre. With great technical aspects and some truly nasty effects, Trapped could have you chuckling or chucking up depending on your disposition.


My advice though?


Go get caught up in Trapped. You won’t walk out. Cos you’ll love it too much, baby.


Midlands Movies Mike


As a bonus, we have the full short for you to watch below:





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, Mar 6 2018 08:09PM



CINESISTERS, THE NEW COLLECTIVE OF AWARD-WINNING BRITISH FEMALE FILM DIRECTORS LAUNCHES ITS FIRST MIDLANDS BRANCH


New female film group Cinesisters is launching its new branch covering the Midlands area along with a

showreel showcasing the work of women film directors. The group aims to highlight highlighting the breadth of female talent available whilst addressing the industry gap in knowledge of the work of female directors.


Cinesisters is a collective of directors dedicated to supporting the creation of more films by and about women. The group currently has more than 100 members who meet in London once a month to offer each other hands-on advice and share relevant experience.


Due to many members struggling to get to London, but wanting to be part of this group a Midlands branch has now been started by Cinesister and award-winning director Rebekah Fortune.


Cinesisters was formed in response to the barriers female directors face in the film and TV industry. According to ‘Cut Out of the Picture’, the report commissioned by Directors UK in 2016 to look at female participation in the industry, just 13.6% of working film directors in the past decade were women.


Cinesisters confronts this fact. The collective supports and promotes members work and offers a place to share practical problems and successes. Members include BAFTA winners, Screen Stars of Tomorrow, Broadcast Hotshots, Breakthrough Brits and Emmy nominees.


Its members have also worked with big-hitters including BBC Films, Film4, Pathe, Canal Plus, Channel 5, Film London, Netflix and Sky.



The launch of the Cinesisters showreel is intended to showcase this incredibly talented group of women. The Cinesisters website also offers a database of members’ work as a direct response to an industry switching onto the previously untapped talent of female directors.


Any Female Director of Film, TV or Animation who is interested in doing this wonderful collective should contact wearecinesistersmidlands@gmail.com


Co-founder Claire Oakley says, “Directors don’t often meet each other but we all have a wealth of experience, it seemed crazy not to share it. Through the group we can learn from each other and support each other to get our films funded, made and released.”


The unique set up of the group is a key factor in it’s success as co-founder Nicola Mills points out. "I’ve found nothing as inspiring as this kind of peer to peer mentoring and support - the sheer amount of information and energy you can access through the Cinesisters network never fails to make me grin. Change is definitely now.”


Cinesisters members work and showreels can be seen at www.cinesisters.com



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:




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