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By midlandsmovies, May 18 2018 07:40AM



Cappuccino


Directed by Luke Collins


“All the world’s a stage” – William Shakespeare.


Never has the Bard’s words rang so true in Cappuccino which features a man with a stammer who faces the challenge of a lifetime in a new film from Coventry filmmaker Luke Collins.


Shot in the area with a Midlands cast and crew, Luke is a media production graduate making short films and music videos while teaching filmmaking at Coventry University.


This film focuses on a man, Mike, with a speech impediment who we see in the backroom of a theatre. A variety of mirrors on the wall usher the audience towards the reflective nature of the condition and how sufferers could feel they project themselves to others as well as the frustration within.


The protagonist repeats a mantra to himself, “breathe and be confident”, as a stage manager enters saying the theatre is a full-house. His direct and disparaging comments pile the pressure on, ending with an appalling “don’t embarrass yourself” final sentence.


As we move to the wings of the theatre, a confident woman exits the stage but it’s her furtive and judgemental glance towards Mike as she walks past that speaks volumes.


Juxtaposing the intimate backstage with a theatre performance is a great metaphor for the private and public pressures stammerers face and the film builds to a crescendo as Mike finally hits the stage.


Technical wise the short is well filmed although a shot of the characters on stage with a stark black background could have been better lit to heighten the pressure and add realism. Understandably on a low-budget film, resources are limited but the filmmakers choice of great actors is the main, and more important, focus here. Ross Samuel as the lead Mike delivers a heartfelt and earnest performance that is sure to hit very emotionally with viewers.


As Mike struggles to say his first word, the coughs and mutters of an impatient audience begin to reverberate in the auditorium.


The obvious parallel here is The King’s Speech but stammering has been in a variety of films over the years from both a clinical standpoint but also as a passing character trait. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Brad Dourif is one of the best performances showing the frustration and everyday hinderances stutterers face.


However, this film’s best aspect is a final twist where we get to see the true pressures on Mike. A revelation shows all is not what it seems and lays bare the real daily difficulties of the condition.


As part of Channel 4’s Random Acts, the film is an expressive look of a condition that has huge ramifications in sufferer’s lives. Cappuccino delivers its metaphorical message with understanding and sympathy and its simple but clever premise is what short films should ultimately strive to be. A joy from start to finish.


Midlands Movies Mike


Watch the full short on YouTube below:




By midlandsmovies, Dec 5 2017 06:12PM



Random Acts and Rural Media - Part 3


In our third and final part we cover 4 more filmmakers who are part of the region’s Random Acts and Rural Media partnership. From all across the Midlands, please read below to find out more of the young talent the area has to offer.


For the previous blogs - Part 1 please click here and for Part 2 please click here.


Body Language (Nottinghamshire)

Michael Mante’s film shows a krump dancer performing amidst the ills, filth and degradation of his urban environment in a surreal art exploration of gentrification, classism and racism. Michael is an aspiring filmmaker, both directing films and writing screenplays with his creative ambition to use film to speak to audiences, ask them questions, and encourage viewers to ask themselves questions. Michael adds, “Visual literacy is the world's most poignant language and I try to use that to communicate the things I see in everyday life.”





Everyday Choreography (Shropshire)

Everyday Choreography is a charming short dance film by Caldonia Walton following Gerrard, an overworked 45-year old man on his way home from a tiring day at the office. He puts his headphones in to forget about his worries and finds himself amongst amusing interactions with two people who alter his outlook on life. Caldonia is a 23-year old dance performer and choreographer from Shropshire who creates dance work that links with theatre, text and film, using clear narratives about the world we live in realised through physical movement and a touch of comedy.




Yellow Wallpaper (Warwickshire)

Inspired by the short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Gilman(1892), this short film from Hayley Egan uses dance to portray the claustrophobic and cruel consequences of how ‘rest cure’ kept 19th century women compliant, which resulted in an increase in mental health problems and feelings of confinement and frustration. Through dance movement, our female protagonist will find solace in the yellow wallpaper, yet is driven to exhaustion by her frustrating predicament. Hayley Egan is young filmmaker/producer from Coventry now working in London.




Taking Up Space (Staffordshire)

Emily Mulenga’s animation covers the notion that time and space in the art world and academia are not often dedicated regularly to people of colour, most notably women. Emily grows to Godzilla proportions and takes over the city in this thoughtful short from this young talented visual artist from the West Midlands.









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 27 2017 08:23PM



RANDOM ACTS & RURAL MEDIA (PART 1)


In a new 3-part series Midlands Movies will be showcasing a selection of films and filmmakers from the region who have been involved in the national Random Acts programme.


Random Acts is a collaboration between Arts Council England and Channel 4. The short films (from just 90 seconds to 3 minutes long) have been described as ‘bold expressions of creativity’ with each one being individually engaging, experimental and quirky.


For the last 3 years, local organisation Rural Media (click here) has been working with young artists and filmmakers right across the Midlands to create ‘First Acts’. And Midlands Movies will be focusing on a selection of these fantastic films created by local artists right here on the site.


This Movement is Silent (Birmingham)

This spoken word film is from Paul Stringer who has made a film covering the journey of an open mic performer from chair to stage through a crowded, passionate and engaged poetry audience. This is edited alongside a journey throughout Birmingham, past its great landmarks in a bid to show that the local poetry scene is not only the people performing the poetry, but the whole collective community as a whole. Watch his film below:





Re-Code (Birmingham)

Made by Sipho Dube, Re-Code is a dance film exploring themes of dyslexia and empowerment. Sipho is a spoken word artist and dancer and as someone who has both dyslexia and with a profound stutter, Sipho has overcome issues through the use of spoken word. Watch this thought-provoking film below:



One Rogue Santa (Kidderminster)

Another spoken word film, Steven Williams’ short is an account of a troubled home life that led to various stints in and out prison. Through stylised silhouetted sequences, Steve’s story explores the complexities of growing up without a support network and having to deal with the choices we make. Now aged 24, Steven has been homeless from the age of 18 and has been in out of prison 4 times. Yet now with two children he’s looking to become a better role model and is working towards becoming a social worker to help other young people avoid making the same mistakes. Watch Steven’s video here:



Meet Cute (Northamptonshire)

Chris Cosentino has created an animation/live-action crossover comedy where a conspiracy nut shares a "meet cute" with a nice girl but discovers he's actually a fictional character in a short film. View the short here:



Dirty Re-Birth (Derbyshire)

Joey Mottershead explores the part of the human condition where we are required to perpetually reinvent ourselves, to grow and evolve to new forms. “The reality is these moments happen in the darkest of places, where directions have no meaning and internal struggles amount to the psyche being ripped apart”. Joey is a live interdisciplinary performance artist based by in the East Midlands whose work explores gender politics, the human condition and the empowerment of the self. “I take inspiration from the beautiful aspects of the grotesque”, says Joey, “finding light in the shadows and portraying the particular strain of glory only found within sadness”. Watch the film here:









By midlandsmovies, Aug 18 2017 06:29PM



Interview with Lincoln Filmmaker Lewis Coates


Midlands Movies meets Lewis Coates, a filmmaker currently based in Lincoln who has just completed his most recent short film 'When Voices Unite' for Channel 4's 'Random Acts'.


Being filmed and edited in the Midlands, the short film has just been shortlisted for Danny Boyle's Shuffle Film Festival in London and editor Mike Sales chats to this rising filmmaking star.


Midlands Movies Mike: Hi Lewis. Hope you are well. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Lewis Coates: Well, I’m a 24 year old filmmaker and graduate of The University of Lincoln and I moved to the Midlands from down South a few years ago for University. I’ve been based here throughout my degree and for 3 more years working as a videographer and editor. I’ve written and directed a number of short films and creative projects whilst being here, but When Voices Unite is my first professionally funded and distributed film for this year’s season of Channel 4’s 'Random Acts’.


MMM: Great stuff. Did you get into filmmaking at all before University?

LC: I remember picking up my mum’s digital camera when I was very young and just started making videos with my friends. Stupid stuff - horror movies with fake blood, Jackass-stunts - the normal stuff kids do, I’d just want to film it all. By the time I’d finished education and got into Uni, I’d watched hundreds of great independent & foreign cinema, and really found my love for making it too!


MMM: And how did you get involved in Random Acts?

LC: I sent a script to Channel 4 back in January and they got back to me pretty quickly, asking if I’d like to direct it. The only problem, they wanted it complete by April ready for the next season of ‘Random Acts’ - so we actually went from first draft script to screen in less than a month! We filmed and edited in one weekend. The production team were very helpful getting most of the leg-work done, which allowed me to concentrate on perfecting the final script and assembling everything else for the shoot!


MMM: Wow! That timescale is very tight. Were there any more issues with the filmmaking process given that issue?

LC: There's quite a funny story actually - we found a great location, these big underground tunnels that used to be a disused nuclear bunker. We paid the owner to use them for the evening, but we’d been double-booked with a Ghost Tour. So at about 8pm we were interrupted by 50 ghost-hunters with torches and hiking gear, walking round doing seances. There were times where we were filming and we’d hear footsteps and “Hello…. Is anyone there…?” and we’d all freeze and wait for them to pass by. They probably all claimed they'd seen an undead film crew on multiple occasions! But this pushed our filmming back through the night and we ended up finishing around 4am!



MMM: The film covers a whole host of topical issues. How did this subject matter come to be of interest to you?

LC: The film includes social media, government surveillance, fake news - and with the current social climate being very volatile, there’s a lot of fear and emotion to play on; and technology & fears of the future are a good starting point that gives a lot of creative scope. Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ does a similar thing where technology and social unrest plays a large factor in the narrative. I think if the audience can relate to the character or understand the emotions conveyed in the piece, they usually enjoy it more.


MMM: And have you made many films before this one?

LC: I’ve made a few self-funded student short films before, but When Voices Unite was my first professional short. My first was called ‘Pin’ about a crime scene cleaner that gets caught up in the criminal world, the second was ‘Synoptica’, a slight-futuristic drama about a couple that get interactive contact lenses, starring Nathalie Cox (Jumper, Kingdom of Heaven), which first ignited my interests in the ‘negative technology’ theme. Both films were for University, so had to be between 20-30mins, where I found that shorts for consumption online usually have more chance of success the shorter they are.


MMM: Coming back to your latest film, what are your plans for this project?

LC: ‘When Voices Unite’ is currently being distributed online via ‘Random Acts’ channels - there’s a chance it will be broadcast on Channel 4, but nothing confirmed just yet. It’s also doing a festival run from now until March; currently shortlisted at Danny Boyle’s ‘Shuffle Film Festival’ in London and hopefully more to be announced soon.


MMM: You mentioned Charlie Brooker earlier. Are there any other films or filmmakers whose work interests you?

LC: I watch a lot of foreign and independent cinema to really get a variety of filmmaking and storytelling techniques. I enjoy the work of Park Chan-Wook, Michael Haneke, Denis Villeneuve - but it’s hard to say which filmmakers directly influence my work, as it’s probably an organic culmination of many. I’m proud to represent the UK film industry, I love the work of Ben Wheatley, Charlie Brooker, Edgar Wright, but my favourite films of the last few years would be Victoria (Sebastian Schipper’s tense one-shot masterpiece), Moonlight (Barry Jenkins beautiful LGBT Oscar-winner) and Whiplash (Damian Chazelle’s enigmatic musical drama).


MMM: Thanks Lewis. And finally, do you have any films/filmmakers from the Midlands region our readers should check out?

LC: There's definitely not enough Midlands filmmakers out there! A few Ben Wheatley & Shane Meadows films are set here, but we really need to encourage the film industry to utilise this region of the UK more.


We couldn't agree more! Thanks to Lewis for his time and check out the film via YouTube below.







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