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By midlandsmovies, Oct 26 2019 07:15AM



BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL IN ASSOCIATION WITH TREVOR BEATTIE FILMS RETURNS FOR ITS 4th ANNUAL FESTIVAL


The fourth annual Birmingham Film Festival, an international festival of screenings, events and awards for talented filmmakers from around the world, returns to the city from 1st - 10th November.


The international celebration of film craft is a platform for new filmmakers, helping them reach a wider audience and nurture their careers to the next level. The festival’s screenings and seminars are all free to attend, making the innovative festival accessible to all and allowing the filmmakers showcase their work to a huge audience.


Birmingham Film Festival, which takes place over the course of ten days at Millennium Point, featuring an array of shorts, features, documentaries, and music videos, aims to put Birmingham on the international map and will add to the rising popularity of the UK’s second city.


The festival’s home, Birmingham, has recently become a popular location choice for Hollywood filmmakers, most notably including Steven Speilberg’s Ready Player One and Kingsman: The Golden Circle.


Trevor Beattie Films is the 2019 headline sponsor for the upcoming event. Trevor Beattie, originally from Birmingham, is considered one of the leading figures in advertising in Britain and has been responsible for a number of high-profile advertising campaigns. He has since moved into the film industry, producing the BAFTA award-winning film Moon, directed by Duncan Jones in 2008.



“I am genuinely honoured and flattered to be associated with The Birmingham Film Festival. Birmingham is more than my home, it’s who I AM and film is most definitely my future. It’s a perfect fit for me. The Birmingham Film Festival is yet another example of how Birmingham is becoming the cultural heartbeat of the nation. Birmingham never rests. And now we’re punching our weight in film".


"It has not escaped my attention that Birmingham has a Hollywood district, and I’m sorely tempted to base the Birmingham branch of my film company in B47. I just think “TREVOR BEATTIE FILMS, HOLLYWOOD, B47” has a ring to it"


"I’m really looking forward to the festival week and seeing some of the extraordinary film making talent on display. I have a message for Birmingham from DUNCAN JONES (of that other Hollywood fame). Duncan promises that he will visit Birmingham when he next returns to the UK and create a little something for next year’s festival. Birmingham has ARRIVED in film! Birmingham Film Festival will ensure that news is shouted from the rooftops.” says Trevor Beattie.


Steven Knight, the Brummie creator of Peaky Blinders, who is planning on building a £100M state-of-the-art film and TV studio in the city, is the festival’s patron. Kevin McDonagh, President of Birmingham Film Festival said: “We are really excited for this year's festival. Our aim has always been to grow the event and reach larger audiences for the amazing work that we get to show and we've achieved that this year".



"Adding more seminars and workshops was also key as it not only brings more of the industry into the city but supports local talent and helps them to grow their own careers. Raising the profile of the festival also leads into that goal, bringing more focus onto the city and its talent. If we can create an exciting and respected platform for the films and filmmakers, then we hopefully we are contributing in a positive way to future of the regions industry".


"To be honest though, our growth and success is in no small part due to the amazing talent that generously allows us to showcase their efforts. Without the film makers, we are nothing.”


The festival will conclude with a fabulous Gala Awards Ceremony on 9th November at Macdonald Burlington Hotel, during which the Birmingham Film Festival Awards will be handed out to the winners of each of each category. Awards will be given out to everything from Best Feature Film to Best Young Actor, Best Local Film and Best Special Effects.


One of Birmingham’s most famous sons, Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, has also been announced as a judge for the music video category. "I was thrilled to be at the Birmingham Film Festival last year and wish everybody involved with this year's event the best. Though I won't be there on the night, I will be judging the music video category." says Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran.


Celebrities and special guests will be out in force on Friday 1st November at the Millennium Point to kick-start the festival at the glamorous VIP Launch Party.


The film festival invites talented and independent film makers from all over the globe to participate. To learn more about Birmingham Film Festival visit www.birminghamfilmfestival.com



By midlandsmovies, Sep 9 2019 07:19AM

Midlands Review - Jallianwalla Bagh 1919 and Peaky Blinders A New Era



This week we take a look at a double-release of films from new West Midlands film production companies Gurjant Singh Films and Five Pence Productions, which delve into two very distinct historical stories from the past.




First up is Jallianwalla Bagh 1919 directed by Gurjant Singh which is a 1-minute micro short which pays tribute to those massacred by the East India Trading Company in 1919. Given its short length it’s a welcome surprise to see the film mostly shot in slow motion. This extends the visual experience as we see gentle flowing clothes in the wind giving off an air of peace and tranquillity. This is juxtaposed with a screaming military sergeant (Richard Teasdale) and a cut to a primed rifle barrel. A voiceover from the protagonist (Nisaro Karim) provides some context given the film’s extremely brief runtime which was a good use of technique to give the audience background information. The pull of a trigger and the splattering of blood also gives us a brief glimpse of violence. The focus on just one person rather than a group (nearly 2,000 were shot in the struggle for independence) brings home the personal nature of this story to the filmmaker.




The second film is Peaky Blinders: A New Era. Most Midlanders will no doubt by familiar with the BBC TV series crime drama which is primarily set in Birmingham. It follows the exploits of the Shelby family after World War I and the fictional group is loosely based on the real 19th century urban gang who were active in the city from the 1890s.To honour the release of Season 5 in Sept 2019, this fan-film was shot in just 4 hours and set closer to the present in 1950.


This time period allows the short to (briefly) open up a conversation about a time where immigration was a cause for concern for locals leading to tensions running high. The short opens with Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child infamous guitar riff which although is an impactful sound, is simply the wrong song given that it’s associated with the end of the 60s rather than the period aimed for.


The film’s visuals work much better though as we see a gang of suitably attired “peaky blinders” in a pub drinking before they leave and come across an Indian man (Nisrao Karim again) squaring up for a fight before it cuts to a bloody outcome and a promise of more revenge.


In summary, both shorts are technically proficient and tease insights into very different worlds of the past. Their short run-time though merely acts as brief advertisements for longer narratives. Definitely with an air of professionalism throughout, despite my pet-peeve of music choice, they both act as intriguing calling cards for stories I’d like to see more of.


Michael Sales




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