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By midlandsmovies, Aug 30 2017 10:49AM



Midlands Spotlight – Catharsis


With a successful cast and crew premiere at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema in August, Midlands Movies discovers more about local short film Catharsis from filmmaker Jay Martin.


Writer/director Jay Martin hails from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire and studied at the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in 2015 where he began to develop Catharsis, his directorial debut.


The story follows Sandra (local actress Olivia Newton) who descends into drink and drugs after the loss of a child and the film is the culmination of a year and a half of dedication and commitment from a mostly local cast and crew.



Mark Jarvis (seen in a previous Midlands Movies film series we’ve covered called Let’s Bring Back Sophie) plays Isaac in the film and the regional focus of the movie meant it was made solely in and around greater Nottinghamshire.


“It's difficult to put into words the tremendous amount of love, respect, and gratitude I have for the entire cast and crew”, explains Jay. “A seventeen year old, first-timer, had no business working with such incredible talent!”


He adds, “With no producer on our backs hounding us for deadlines, we took the time to intricately develop every aspect of this film, and I truly believe that you see our love, and attention on screen. Every hardship we faced, we faced as a team”.




Although it is Jay’s first dramatic short, he has been involved with many previous projects which have included music videos ‘ABSORB - #PTFAD’ and ‘The Age of Stella – Lucilla’. And as production came to an end on Catharsis in May 2017, the director began developing his next short film project under the working title 'After Dark'.




Once completed, Catharsis was subsequently first shown at the 'Celebrate Short Film Festival' in Nottingham where not only did it have a tremendous reception, the dramatic short was awarded the converted 'Best Short Film' prize as well as a 'Best Director' win for Jay.


With a trailer soon to be released online and upcoming announcements on festival appearances and general release dates, Catharsis looks one to watch from an exciting and talented young filmmaker.


For more information check the film’s social media and IMDB accounts below:


Website: http://www.jaythefilmguy.com/


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaythefilmguy/?hl=en


Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaythefilmguy


IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6509956/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

By midlandsmovies, Aug 17 2017 09:36PM



Time, and Again (2017) Dir. Kel Webster and Steve Lawson


Produced and directed by local filmmakers Kel Webster and Steve Lawson this new sci-fi short Time, and Again was independently made in Leicester and Nottingham and stars former Dr. Who Colin Baker alongside local actress Helen Crevel.


Baker has supported Midlands filmmakers before with a voiceover in Kenton Hall’s A Dozen Summers and in Rhys Davies’ historical Finding Richard so has a great track record here in the region. Crevel too has starred in a number of films for Leicester’s Creativ Studios including horror-drama Survival Instinct.


“Is the future in our hands?” asks Baker’s Professor Theo at the start as he address a small audience of students. After the class finishes, theoretical physicist and ex-student, Maggie, takes him to a clock-filled room akin to Doc Brown’s laboratory in Back to the Future.


After calibrating the professor’s watch with a wooden grandfather clock, she drops it into an electrical blue ‘nest’ only for it to appear later during another time and space. However, not only physical objects are affected as Maggie explains that “time shifts” will disrupt one’s memory as well.


The ticking of clocks and shots of timepieces are littered throughout, with sound effects coming from the chiming of bells with the film’s slight musical track sometimes drowned out in the background. The science lab set is well dressed and doesn’t overpower the actors – who are the film’s sole focus.


The props are a mix of past and present which highlight the fluid nature of time and before long, a discussion is had about the scientific and moral decisions in an ambiguous effort to erase/replace their pasts – along with their recollection of these.


With the risks (briefly) talked over, the theme of changing the past – for the better or worse – leads the film to a final leap into the unknown. Without going into spoilers, influences range from the circular nature of Looper to the dark scientific repercussions of Shane Carruth’s head-spinning Primer.


The short is well filmed with the performances of the duo are fantastic. The stoic academic Theo is given humanity through Baker’s accepting glances whilst Crevel is the wide-eyed inventor with dreams of changing their histories. Both display a sorrowfulness when recalling a past tragedy which is wisely left mostly open to interpretation.


A haunting little film, which leaves the audience with many more questions to think about than answers, Time and Again is an assured debut from Webster who started out as a camera assistant alongside the more experienced Steve Lawson. It is to the credit of the two arresting main actors who infuse an engaging uncertainty into what could have been your standard “fixing-the-past” plot, that the film owes much of its success. Overall, the future looks bright for Webster and Lawson as the story is a timely reminder that a good short can use the genre conventions of the past yet challenge expectations to deliver its fresh new ideas in a contemporary way.


Mike Sales, Midlands Movies


View the film's trailer here:




Find out more about the film on the links below:


IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5770448/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_2

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TimeAgainFilm

By midlandsmovies, Aug 17 2017 08:40AM



Midlands Spotlight - The Short Cinema 2017 in Leicester


Leicester's amazing The Short Cinema is now under a week away and they have a full programme of loca, national and international films to showcase over their 3-day festival line up.


Check out the full programme below:


THE SHORT CINEMA LAUNCH PARTY Wed 23 Aug, 6.30pm

To celebrate the eleventh edition of The Short Cinema, we’re launching the festival with a get-together, to give us a chance to highlight some of our partners and supporters and allow our makers to meet before their screening night. Join us for a drink from Langton Brewery and finger food from exciting, new, vegan caterers The Mystery Booth to celebrate another year of excellent short film. We will also have music from the talented Les Hayden and an outdoor screening in partnership with The British Silent Film Festival (weather dependent). This event is followed by our Opening Gala screening of our 2017 International Programme in Screen 2 from 8:45pm. Please note you will need a separate ticket for this event.

 

THE SHORT CINEMA OPENING GALA: INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMME Wed 23 Aug, 8.45pm

Opening Gala: The International Programme has expanded! For the first time this will be showcased in one of our main screens following the launch party.

 

ARTIST MOVING IMAGE: THE LACEY RITUALS: FILMS BY BRUCE LACEY Thu 24 Aug, 6.45pm

This delightful programme showcases the playful, physical sense of humour and irreverent sensibility of great British artist and eccentric, Bruce Lacey.

 

THE BEST OF IRIS: QUEER FILM NETWORK SCREENING Thu 24 Aug, 7pm

A chance for audiences to watch the Best of Iris LGBTQ+ Film Festival Shorts. A post screening discussion will be hosted by Connor Winterton. [LIMITED AVALIABILITY]

 

THE SHORTISH CINEMA Fri 25 Aug, 8pm

Screening for its third year, the festival has expanded with The Shortish Cinema, a screening of Midlands-made films which need slightly longer than our usual 15 minute limit to tell their story.

 

FAMILY SHORTS: Sat 26 Aug, 10.30am

Presented in partnership with Flatpack Assemble: Join us for a morning of family friendly short stories told on the big screen.

 

THE SHORT CINEMA CLOSING: MAIN COMPETITION Sat 26 Aug, Doors 7.30pm – Screening 8pm

Now in its eleventh year, The Short Cinema is an annual short film festival showcasing established and emerging talent from across the world with a strong focus on Midlands makers.

 

More info can be found at http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk/




By midlandsmovies, Aug 7 2017 03:40PM



Restroom (2017)


Directed by Scott Driver


4AM Films


A young man experiences a series of life changing events inside a public restroom only to find out all is not as it seems.


When a young man (Joseph Sean-Lyons) takes a trip to a public toilet whilst out with friends, the last thing he expected was to be trapped in a cubicle when a hammer-wielding madman shows up and attacks a couple in the next stall. In a series of events that quickly go from a bit strange to absolutely awful, the man is forced to make a split second decision, only to find expectations challenged.


Restroom is the latest short film from writer and director Scott Driver. Inspired by a series of online prank videos, he wanted to take this social media trend and turn it into something far uglier than anyone who has ever seen or even set up one of these videos would imagine it could become. It’s a pretty local project, with three of the four main actors coming from the Midlands and the entire film being shot at an abandoned school in Newark, so really showcases excellent local talent.


I think of all the short films I have seen over the last year, and bear in mind they have all been so different, this has probably been my favourite. It was very intense and an audience would never know what was coming next at any point. The film started out with a character sending a text message to his mate whilst on the toilet, and then very quickly went up a gear from there. Suddenly I didn’t know what to expect, and that was a fantastic feeling to get with such a compact storyline.


The setting really helped to build the tension in this short. It felt so claustrophobic and when the attacker set his sights on our protagonist, I kind of lost all hope for him. Combine this with the number of shots cut together during the initial attack and the audience could quickly became disorientated with it all. The film moved fast, causing some of the panic being felt by the main character to be transferred onto the viewer.


Of course, Restroom is a film that does have some heavier undertones. As pointed out by Driver, his inspiration for this short came from online prank videos. He wanted to show how they can soon go from a good laugh to something horrendous, and the twist he built into the film right at the end did just that.


The film ended so abruptly, and I think this was very effective in the way it kind of prompted you to think, well… what happens now? In all seriousness, this is something that could potentially happen when one of these pranks goes wrong in real life and the film just makes you stop and think a bit, which is a fantastic way to conclude.


All in all, Restroom is a really great short film that grabs viewers and shakes them into action. It forces you to think about seemingly harmless acts and the potential consequences for people if they go wrong - something that can be applied to other situations - not the just internet trend shown in this film. It lures you in with a friendly conversation between friends and then it pounces and that's when the fun really starts.


This is a film that you should see if you get the chance because there is so much to it. For me, it’s a real winner, and my only criticism would be that I didn't get to see more of the aftermath, even if it was only another 10 seconds or so on top of the rest of the short.


Kira Comerford

twitter.com/FilmAndTV101

By midlandsmovies, Aug 6 2017 07:58AM


CONSENT (2017) Dir. Alex Hackett


Raven Pictures


A seemingly happy couple on a couch drinking tea and chatting away opens this new 11-minute short from Raven Pictures. Directed by Alex Hackett, the film tackles the difficult subject of sexual consent but is done in a way that is powerful yet sensitive to the subject matter.


From the jumping off point, the audience is thrown straight into the aftermath of a liaison as the woman from the intro states to the man she feels she has been raped. His response to try to understand may throw the viewer off guard but the director juxtaposes different shots and dialogue to portray the complexities of the issues.


Actors Catherine Chalk and Matthew Harrison-James bring a humanity to their roles, showing realistic performances as the two people involved in a sensitive discussion.


The focus on a lack of communication is at the forefront and the filmmaker mixes timelines to intercut the lead-up to the situation. These earlier scenes are filmed in a soft blue hue which further distances the short from a stereotypical aggressive standpoint. “Did I scare you?” he asks as she explains that it wasn’t a physical threat but an emotional one.


The expectation of raised voices is disposed in favour of a more mature conversation and it’s to the film’s credit that it takes a responsible tone that uses sensible discourse that can educate as well as be dramatic.


A few technical issues (one of a colour grading jump, a muffled sound edit and the general low quality of the image) didn’t distract from the topics revealed but a few tweaks here and there would have helped the film have a more professional appearance.


That said, Consent could have easily become a preachy short yet its subtlety, along with two strong lead performances, help it become a vivid reflection of the decision-making process. A great final shot into the camera summaries the film’s message and although the director mostly avoids veering towards a sermon, that doesn’t make its moral position any less right. In the end, Consent is a straight-to-the-point local drama that covers weighty themes and is as informative as it is insightful.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jul 31 2017 02:58PM



Midlands Spotlight - Nottingham writer Tommy Draper heads to Germany


Midlands screenwriter Tommy Draper has built upon his short film successes in the region to head into areas further afield with his new script Der Letzte Tropfen (The Last Drop), which has been made in Germany. With its beginnings in the region, Midlands Movies Mike takes a look at this truly European production.


Coming from his local involvement with Night Owls, Stop/Eject, Wasteland and the forthcoming Nottingham short Songbird, Tommy wrote the script with the director Sascha Zimmermann. Shot by David Rankenhohn, this new venture was produced for German TV station 13th Street, which is a division of NBC Universal.



13th Street has been supporting young German directors for many years and helps co-finance selected new short film projects. Director Zimmermann has also been nominated for Shocking Shorts in 2013 whilst successful Youtube star Alex Böhm plays the lead in the drama.


The short is currently touring in film festivals back here in the Midlands and will also be screened at the prestigious Short Cinema Festival in Leicester. As well as this, the writer is also helping to show the film at the Five Lamps film showcase in Derby as well as Short Stack in Nottingham.


Tommy is also excited about a forthcoming big screening at ComicCon in San Diego, USA. The film features a host of new and experienced German actors in addition to Alex Böhm. Souzan Alavi, Patrice Ötvös, Niklas Osterloh, Kailas Mahadevan, Marcus Prell, Martina Offeh and Angela Daniel make up the group ensemble who are a group that meet weekly to talk about their addictions.


Despite their efforts to stay on a 'straight and narrow' path, their goals are challenged when a new member Dennis (Alex Böhm himself) accidently joins in and they all question if their addictions are truly under control.




Check the short teaser trailer below and for more information check out the official IMDB page - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6691554





By midlandsmovies, Jul 29 2017 05:07PM



Bruised (2017) dir. Robert Ludlam


Underground Cinema presents Bruised, a short film about Danny (AJ Stevenson) an amateur boxer who saves a stranger from a mugger, then comes into contact with the stranger again and knows her as Chloe (Jessica Millott), a girl he will do anything to love and protect, at any cost.


Directed by Robert Ludlam, Bruised Is not your typical boxing drama nor is it your typical love story. The relationship between Danny and Chloe is not perfect and Danny himself is not your usual archetypal athlete. He is lonely, focused on the sport and getting the job done. His once simple life is changed when his eyes catch Chloe whilst on a morning run. SUbsequently Danny struggles to balance his feelings for her as he’s unable to forget her face.


Before making the big step in talking to her, Danny spends his nights on his laptop and his phone searching her social media. Ludlam brilliantly captures this aspect of modern love and life, where we can access someone’s entire public sphere within seconds, sometimes creating circumstances and manipulating encounters to meet a potential partner rather than it arriving naturally. The visuals here speak a thousand words with Ludlam using the image to ask if this is the healthiest way to start a relationship.


Another aspect of Bruised I really enjoyed was the director's take on violence. It’s refreshing to see a filmmaker have so much to say and so much focus on their themes. The camera lingers on the crowd as they watch Danny fight his opponent during an amateur boxing match, with the shot occupying itself on the audience’s hands as they clap and cheer on the violence. All this whilst Chloe holds back with worry plastered over her face.

Weaving in and out of the films timeline, Ludlam sensibly uses time to entertain the audience instead of confusing them. A film can sometimes lose meaning and its viewer when time is interfered with badly however it works perfectly here, leaving the audience anticipating every frame up until the final second. Assisting Ludlam in bringing Bruised to life is Lee Averne, credited as the cinematographer who is responsible for the shots that give the film its professional look complementing the director's vision. AJ Stevenson plays Danny brilliantly and is given the tough task of not having any dialogue for the first five minutes, relying instead on his face doing the talking.


Bruised is a short film that really impressed me and people who I have shown it to, I can easily place it as one of my favourite short films of 2017 and can’t wait to see what the cast and crew produce next.


Guy Russell

Twitter @BudGuyer



By midlandsmovies, Jul 18 2017 05:52PM



Arrivals - Prologue and Episode 1 - Rachel

Dir. John McCourt

April Just Gone Films


Local company April Just Gone Films took a brave step in releasing a 127 second prologue episode for their new sci-fi series Arrivals. The reason it is brave is because of the time they have allowed to set the tone and objectively speaking it is a mixed bag.


In this short time we, as a viewer, understand the basic idea that will underpin the series thanks to a series of opening interrogations wherein we meet our characters and the strangeness of their date of birth and from this viewpoint the episode no doubt meets its purpose.


However the episode is a little unappealing, not a fault of the film makers per se, who do the best through editing and camera angles to keep it visually stimulating but there is very little you can do with multiple character introductions.


To add to this - within meeting a couple of these persons of interest we quickly understand the point, meaning that the remaining introductions are somewhat superfluous, at least until the final one, Lilith. How many of these characters will be important going forwards I am unsure but each is given so little time that no connections can be made. It feels simply like your first day at work meeting everyone, a little overwhelming without the opportunity to build any real attachment.


Thankfully there is a superb short within the series that has also been completed called 'Rachel', which at just over ten minutes long does allow for not only more elaboration but also more narrative, one which focuses on just one of these 'arrivals' that we met in the earlier episode.


Incorporating just three actors, two interrogating male agents and the eponymous Rachel, the acting is of a good standard for this level of production but a special mention has to go to Lois Cowley for her portrayal of the mysterious woman.


Although the credit really belongs to the writer (and producer and director) John McCourt who displays genuine talent and his work on this later episode is to be commended. Especially as writing a ten minute three way conversation is no easy feat even for the most seasoned of writing professionals.


McCourt manages to lead us through the interrogative dance with ease working in moments of obtuse humour, literary reference and spy intrigue. As a result the ten minutes of this episode seem to fly by especially in comparison to the much shorter prologue.


Arrivals is clearly an intriguing concept, although one that seems familiar, with a potentially strong overriding story arc but its success will depend on the film makers ability to handle the pacing of what is certainly going to be a dialogue heavy but visually restricted journey.


Although the prologue didn't quite work for me it did get the key messages across leading into the second episode and I have no doubt was part of a wider story. So give Arrivals a watch once a couple more episodes are available as it has got me intrigued and I am sure you will be too.


McCourt shows that you do not need a big budget or fancy visuals to grab a viewers attention and I certainly hope he can maintain it.


Midlands Movies Marek


twitter.com/CosiPerversa


Find out more about Arrivals here www.facebook.com/ArrivalsWebSeries

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