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By midlandsmovies, May 20 2019 08:45PM


Irene's Ghost follows Nuneaton-born director Iain Cunningham’s search to discover what happened to his mother, Irene, who died when he was three years old. The film was shot in Nuneaton, the area where both Iain and Irene grew up.

And now, Irene's Ghost will screen at The Abbey Theatre in Nuneaton on Wednesday 29th May at 7.30pm and will be followed by a Q&A discussion with director, Iain Cunningham.

The documentary tells a universally affecting story about family, mental health and the bonds of love and friendship, whilst movingly rebuilding a lost life, using a mixture of animation and filmed footage.

The story follows Iain’s search for information about his Mother, Irene, who passed away when he was a young child, and became something of a family secret. Decades later and inspired by the birth of his own daughter, director Iain Cunningham sets out to discover the truth about what happened.

As he pieces together the story in the present day, he encounters long-lost relatives and Irene’s best friend Lynn, and gradually gets to know his mother through the stories they tell, about life in Nuneaton in the 1970s, factory work and living for nights out at the Co-op Hall and holidays.

And as the film builds to a close, conversations within the family begin to open up, and details of Irene’s postnatal mental illness begin to emerge. The reasons for the silence around Irene start to become clear. Irene’s Ghost starts as an emotional detective story, and ends as an uplifting study of maternal mental illness, family, and female friendship.

Irene’s Ghost has been developed and produced with the support of the BFI (awarding funds from the National Lottery) with additional finance from Creative England, Screen Scotland, Wellcome and The Maudsley Charity.

Tickets can be purchased for £5 (£3 concessions) directly from The Abbey Theatre’s website:


Together Films brings IRENE’S GHOST to The Abbey Theatre in Nuneaton and the screening is supported by Film Hub Midlands; an organisation focused on creating more opportunities for audiences across the Midlands to engage with the widest range of film in as many places as possible.

By midlandsmovies, Nov 26 2018 07:58AM

Midlands Spotlight – Irene’s Ghost

Midlands Movies Mike Sales finds out about new local film Irene’s Ghost made by filmmaker Iain Cunningham which covers a personal story about the search for a family member using animation and filmed footage.

Irene’s Ghost is a documentary which follows a son’s search to find out about the mother he never knew. The birth of his own child inspires the filmmaker to go on a journey to discover the truth about Irene, who passed away when he was just a child. Piecing together fragments of the past to make sense of the present he uncovers a long-held secret.

Directed by Iain Cunningham, the film is set around Nuneaton in Warwickshire and recently had a premiere at BFI London Film Festival. With plans to screen in cinemas next year and a local event in April 2019, Iain take centre stage doing the detective work to uncover his own mother’s story.

“I think that wanting to make this film is probably the reason I went into filmmaking in the first place”, says Ian. “The need to find out about Irene was always entwined with the desire to create something about her, to give her life a bit of poetry and give her a voice that she was in some ways denied in life”.

Irene died before Iain was old enough to form memories of her and after difficult decades where he was unable to broach the topic with his father, Iain encounters long-lost relatives and Irene’s best friend Lynn and gets to know his mother through the stories they tell.

From life in Nuneaton in the 1970s, factory work and living for nights at the Co-op Hall and holidays, the documentary pieces the puzzle of her life together, and slowly Irene’s personality comes to life.

Iain runs production company Forward Features and focuses on intimate and personal work. He decided to incorporate bursts of animation to illuminate memory and fantasy as he explores mental illness, grief and female friendship.

For more information on Irene’s Ghost check out the film’s official website and watch the trailer for the film below


By midlandsmovies, Jun 29 2018 11:56AM



Directed by Lee Price. Homebird Films

We open on old home video footage of a young man in local filmmaker Lee Price’s new feature Wasted, made by his Homebird Films production company.

Having previously co-directed the great Neville Rumble, Price delivers Wasted as a follow to his last film Frettin’. That film was a musical odyssey made in Hinckley and Nuneaton which had a nomad-like story of a wandering guitar player and the slice-of-life scrapes he gets into and Price tackles similar themes in Wasted also.

We soon quickly jump to a young homeless man called John (George Welton) who is shown down on his luck on the streets, drinking his days away in city centres and alleys. Slowly revealing the struggles he faces, Price delivers good musical score choices which compliment John’s loneliness and isolation as he tries to find food and scraps to survive.

10 minutes in though and we have very little narrative, in what I assumed was a much more art-house film style. John’s actions show what he is up against but unfortunately shine very little light on the character. John’s selfish actions garnered little sympathy from me which became a problem later on as he is almost the sole character for the entire film.

As he gets caught breaking and entering, hoping to get revenge on those he feels have wronged him, we get some passable fight scenes but these are too thinly spread throughout the film which relies heavily on long, esoteric dreamy shots of John’s world with only a tiny amount of development.

On a technical level, the film looks good with high production values I could find little fault with. Wasted was filled with well composed shots, understandable editing and some Suspiria-inspired red/green lighting which gave the film a horror vibe at a number of points during the movie.

Sadly though, despite these positives, little of consequence really happens at all. There is almost no dialogue in its entire runtime and the few lines that are uttered are simply delivered by almost anonymous characters telling John to “eff off”. In one scene, our central character is spinning around aimlessly in a town centre with no apparent meaning or coordination – a metaphor if you will for the film’s somewhat haphazard construction.

In my review Frettin’ I mentioned the lack of narrative when compared to the film’s extended length, and found a similar absence here. John stares into a mirror, John gets drunk and John gets accosted by members of the public as a “weirdo” or “ratboy”. These types of sequences are repeated over and over again but do not enlighten the audience about this person and their journey. The repetition soon became frustrating.

George Welton is good as John who despite not being given much dialogue to work with, expresses what he can with subtle (and not so subtle) scenes of introspection and degradation. As an almost silent mood piece it would work as a 20-minute short but at 1 hour 30 minutes for me it was too long – disappointing considering the director’s previous films. Scene after scene of drunken recollections and/or getting confronted by various passing characters simply failed to engage me fully. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that if you added the first ten mins to the last the last ten mins and cut the entire middle you'd essentially have the same story.

With high expectations and for all the excellent techincal quality, I therefore feel it's a shame then that the film ended up being a slightly wasted opportunity to show a man at the end of his tether and battling his demons.

Midlands Movies Mike

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