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By midlandsmovies, Jun 28 2018 09:22AM



Midlands Spotlight - New scriptwriting competition launched


A brand new competition offering anyone with a creative short film idea has been launched with an opportunity for new and upcoming writers to have their work professionally produced for FREE by Daniel Alexander Films.


Daniel Alexander is a multi award winning director and recently directed a film for the Commonwealth Games, which made history after it was televised by the BBC to over 1 billion people around the world.


Daniel has worked with an impressive calibre of clients including the Commonwealth Games, BBC, Nike, Apple, Channel 4, MTV and many more and the competition is a new event to encourage more writers to get their ideas on screen.


But how does it work? Entrants are asked to submit a treatment for their short film idea using their free template (click here)


With a deadline of 12pm on 13th July 2018, if your treatment is selected, Daniel will request a properly formatted script for your short film idea.


The scripts will be judged by a panel of industry professional judges, who will declare one overall winner. Then the winner will have their film professional made and also be invited to be involved in the entire filmmaking process.


The winning film will be shot on a RED DRAGON CINEMA rental package worth over £1000, provided by official sponsors for the competition PANNY HIRE, Birmingham's leading camera rental house.


To be eligible, you must be living in the UK and have an original short film idea that runs for no longer than 10 minutes.

So if you have an idea for film then please send all entires to submissions@danielalexanderfilms.com


The judges are below:





By midlandsmovies, Jun 8 2018 05:27PM



Leicester filmmakers to be showcased at Midlands charity film gala


Midlands Movies Mike speaks to Kelly McCormack who is one of the producers of a new Leicester event coming up in July which will feature a range of regional short films.


Presented by Rajnish Sharma Films and Whatsername Productions a new film event takes place on July 14th 2018 with a charity screening of some of the newest short films and filmmakers in Leicester.


Promising a night that cannot be missed, Kelly explains that this will be an evening of red carpet glamour, movies and entertainment. With all proceeds going towards the YMCA charity, Kelly goes on to discuss how the preparations for event is going with just a week to go.


“We’ve been planning since September of last year but as we’ve got closer we’re now at full throttle with ticket sales and getting ready to show 5 brilliant short films”.


She goes on to say, “The films range from 1 minute to 18 minutes long with contributions from Rajnish Sharma, Mike Yeoman, G M Finney Productions and more”.


“We’ll be doing a raffle as well and all money raised is going to charity. Plus The Y Theatre is a great place so hopefully people will get an amazing experience in a fantastic venue”.


Built in 1900, the Y Theatre is the oldest surviving Victorian theatre in Leicester. It’s also a community focused non-profit and a bustling live performance venue providing a range of recreational programmes and performance for all ages.


“There will be a public vote on the evening too and a winner announced. And we hope to bring a lot of filmmakers together and give them an opportunity they may not have had”, adds Kelly.


The event will be a formal black-tie event with red carpet photos on arrival, the film screenings as well as question and answer sessions with the directors themselves.


Concluding with a charity raffle with exciting prizes, tickets are available and if purchased before 14th July are only £10 (£11.37 with Eventbrite).


Full price tickets will be available at £15 on the door and all seating is unreserved.


Venue information: Y Theatre (YMCA), 7 East Street, Leicester, LE1 6EY


TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-short-film-gala-tickets-43074484944?aff=efbeventtix


FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/2053434741538285/



By midlandsmovies, Jun 2 2018 07:55AM



Eviction (2018)


Directed by Lewis Clements


When it came to creating his final piece of work for his university course, Lewis Clements decided to create a short film - his second following a debut project that screened at a number of festivals around the US and Canada.


Eviction follows Nigel Grimshaw and Luke Fox, two debt collectors who go about their day-to-day business, which quite often involves evicting tenants who cannot afford to pay their dues. However, little do they know that they are soon to evict a tenant with a very dark past.


The film was inspired by the TV series, 'Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!', which follows a group of the country’s most experienced High Court sheriffs as they travel around enforcing writs and repossessing whatever they have to in order to pay off the debts that people have built up. After seeing this show, Clement thought it would be interesting to turn the tables and have the tenant turn on the debt collector.


Eviction makes you think on a few different levels. First, there were a lot of red herrings thrown into the mix throughout the film that made you expect the story would head in one direction one second, but it soon actually goes elsewhere. I liked this element and whilst I won't spoil the film, there are parts that hint at the end-game for the film. Ultimately it's best I say no more as if you know this I don’t think you can quite appreciate some of the other moments and how effective they really are at throwing you off the scent.


Eviction also makes the audience seriously consider the people who actually do this job. When we watch shows like Can’t Pay, I don’t think it's really considered about the potential repercussions some evictions carry with them. Quite often people are forced to think about those who get evicted from their homes, but the guys who just have to do this job don’t ever seem to get spared a second thought, at least I haven’t done so on the occasions I’ve watched.


So the film becomes a thought provoking piece that makes you take a minute to take stock of how these things affect the day to day lives of everyone involved, and it’s always a powerful thing when a short can achieve that.


The film did a good job of portraying the debt collectors here as real people with real problems, which is easy to forget when you see them evicting tenants from their homes. In this case, the character of Nigel was massively humanised, and didn’t particularly enjoy his job, but was doing it simply because he had bills to pay. Again, in terms of defending these enforcers, it’s an important thing to bear in mind what their personal circumstances are.


Clements made the decision to set the atmosphere for this film using grime music (I hope that’s right anyway), and I think it was the perfect backdrop given the subject matter being dealt with. When you look at the history of grime, there are some major similarities to some of the themes in this film, and seeing as Clements wanted to ensure that the project had a super British film in order to properly celebrate cinema in this country, I think it was a perfect fit.


All in all, Eviction is a film that really makes you take in the bigger picture surrounding a very interesting subject. There are a lot of elements that it makes you seriously consider, and whilst having some pretty dark themes, it does manage to remain entertaining through the changes of pace and direction that happen almost constantly throughout. Definitely worth a gander if you’ve got the time to spare.


Kira Comerford

Twitter @FilmAndTV101


By midlandsmovies, May 26 2018 09:40AM



Martin Sharpe Is Sorry


Directed by Lee Tomes & Daley Francis


Bang Average Films (2018)


“Two Academy Award Nominations. Too many allegations...”


This new 3-minute short comes from Midlands filmmakers Bang Average Films who previously impressed us with their comedy film Careering earlier this year.


They take a sharp turn here with a far more multi-layered drama about sexual harassment in the media which marks a stark contrast between their previous light-hearted effort and the serious subject matter we see here.


The short begins with a man (Dean Kilbey as actor Martin Sharpe) inside a hotel room staring blankly as he hears news reports about a famous man accused of sexual misconduct.


We are quickly to assume that this coverage is about him and this is confirmed as his PR agent starts to discuss with him the various options to mitigate the issues. With the #MeToo movement raising awareness in real life, the film approaches this difficult topic head on but throws in some controversial perspectives as well.


The strangely brown colour palette mutes some of the harsher themes at play and the film takes further risks with a rather comedic performance from Helen Lewis as Jane. This was an interesting direction to take and didn’t entirely work for me but at around the half way point there is a particular shift into more a more sombre and dark tone.


As she proposes the different options to the star including a non-confirming announcement that his judgment was impaired, Martin asks, “when did everything change?” Of another time, the film asks the audience to question how modern values have shifted from more previous “acceptable” times of the past. Combined with his protestations of innocence one could even suggest the film creates a tiny amount of sympathy.


However, this is dashed immediately as it contrasts with Martin’s statement, “I used to do anything I wanted” further complicating the issue and setting the audience in opposition to his big-headed arrogance.


As they work through which PR route to take – interviews, charity donations – the aforementioned tonal change occurs when Jane raises the subject of “aggressive allegations”. Jane’s previously jovial demeanour rotates 180 degrees with her acute question, capturing Martin off guard.


Martin’s “tart’s pants” comment continues to play with the audience’s mind whereby his adamant denial conflicts with his dismissive sexism and chauvinism.


Is it defending an innocent man’s accusations with a comment on witch-hunting and principles from another time? Or is it taking a moral standpoint that with clever media and PR you can spin these genuine victim claims into gossip and hearsay?


Well, the film leaves the audience to decide somewhat and a final shot of Martin entering a lift is juxtaposed with a raft of voices spinning through his mind with more (and multiple) accusations.


Tackling difficult themes, Martin Sharpe Is Sorry is not entirely successful with an uneven tone but its script and performances will make audiences contemplate the problematic subject matter in a world of spin and soundbites. But make no mistake, you’ll be thinking about the issues it raises far beyond the confines of its short runtime.


Midlands Movies Mike


Watch the full short below:






By midlandsmovies, May 23 2018 02:01PM



Midlands Review - Blackmail


Directed by Shahnawaz


Blackmail is a short thriller by Birmingham-based filmmaker Sheikh Shahnawaz, who you may remember from our review of his other recent short 'Witness'.


In this tightly-paced short, Nisaro Karim plays a teacher who finds himself blackmailed by a mysterious stranger who has taken pictures of him with his 15 year old lover. At the mercy of his blackmailer, he has no choice but to comply with their demands… or does he?


Karim gives a fantastic performance, really selling his character's distress at being stuck in this situation. Make no mistake, his character is reprehensible and you don't root for him to get off scot-free, but this isn't one of those stories that needs a likeable protagonist. It's a gritty backstreet brawl of a story and you know that no one in this will come out smelling of roses.


The film looks very slick and you can tell Shahnawaz has great talent and a good eye for the technical side of directing. He keeps the pace up and the tension taut throughout, which is no mean feat with such a small story as this. His shots are simple, smooth and uncomplicated, exactly what this film needs to remain grounded and do justice to the intimate nature of the story.


I'm afraid I did see the twist coming, but I think that's probably more my fault than the film's as there was nothing to give it away and I have a bad habit of expecting and guessing twists beforehand (I blame Mr. Shyamalan). The dialogue is a little on the clichéd side, but it serves the story well and is pretty much what you would expect in this situation.


In all, Blackmail is an excellent way to spend 10 minutes and is further proof that both Shahnawaz and Karim are rising stars to watch closely.


Sam Kurd


Twitter @Splend




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, May 17 2018 07:02AM



Midlands Review – Rough


Directed by Chris Stone


Stoke on Trent based director Chris Stone has a history of creating great showreels for actors from the Midlands and beyond. But he is never afraid to tackle his own short dramas and delivers a high concept sci-fi short in his new film Rough.


Making films since he was a young boy, Chris has a background in scriptwriting, casting and editing which all come to play in this new short.


Set in a forest location, Rough has a cast of two - “mother" and Dawn - who seem equally confused and investigative amongst the dense trees. Electronic and motorised sound effects are used well to infer Dawn is a robot and the actor delivers her lines in a monotone effect to create the feel of her cyborg.


Unsure of how to describe the detail of the broken bark on a tree (“rough”) we are informed she comes from a factory and her digital memory can recollect timescales down to the nearest minute yet there is one past event that she cannot (or will not) recall.


Reminded by “mother” that she has been “owned” Dawn for far longer than the android realises we are told the revelation that Dawn is also the last person to have seen her missing child, Jamie.


Dawn’s strange behaviour (“would you like to hear a song?”) hints at a more eerie presence whilst she freezes to a standstill as she follows instructions to “stay” showing her current subservient nature.


Dawn refers to her companion as “mother” yet she is chastised for doing so and told she will never be her child as the frustration with the droid boils over into emotional anger.


Unable to compute we are shown her “corrupted memories” with a soft-focus flashback to the missing Jamie who is shown being strangled and buried by Dawn in a bout of mysterious fury.


With a host of fantastic flourishes if there was one problem with Rough, it was actually the lack of credits which would have given the stupendous actors their due. An online search could provide no answers and it’s a shame that filmmakers omit such a key part of promoting their film.


Whatever your level of filmmaking and despite a successful pedigree, creatives could gain more exposure with a certain amount of online presence over on IMDB or on their social media pages. If nothing else, it shows respect to the cast and crew who were involved.


That aside, clocking in at just 2 and a half minutes, Stone proves his showreel-making skill with a to-the-point short that demonstrates a wide range of talent from the actors, the sound, the music and a punchy little narrative with a technological twist in its tale.


Midlands Movies Mike


You can watch the full short on Vimeo here:




By midlandsmovies, May 17 2018 06:17AM



Midlands Review – Answer


Directed by Adam Palmer


“I didn’t mean it to end like this”.


Answer is a new Midlands short from filmmaker Adam Palmer which covers a difficult conversation about a young couple’s relationship that lies in tatters.


We begin with a shot of a man who wakes up in bed as the filmmaker dubs over the voice of his ex-girlfriend leaving a message on his answerphone.


The film was made in an afternoon and despite its off-the-cuff origins, the script is well written as our lead rolls out of bed whilst hearing a voice from a girl explaining her decisions to leave him.


Our lonesome lead is played well by Lawrence Walker who gives his almost-silent protagonist a sense of confinement and loneliness with just a few quiet movements and beats.


His introspective performance cuts a solitary figure as we see him undertake a serious of mundane tasks – getting a pet’s dinner ready, buying a frozen meal for one or even simply gripping the kitchen work surface in apparent frustration.


The (somewhat anonynous) voice is provided by Nathalie Codsi who gives an outstanding reading of what could have been just another local heartfelt drama. Her voice is infused with regret, sadness yet determination as she delivers information to her ex.


The audience can feel her pain and one begins to wonder what could have happened to get to this situation. The juxtaposition of this melancholy female voice tinged with hopeful sorrow and a man looking remorseful begins to create a certain sympathy. The voice explains how “rushed” their relationship and that they were “very young”. When it is clarified that they have a child as well, “Charlie”, even more compassion can be felt.


However, the filmmaker cleverly provides this information slowly but surely over the course of the message. Here, the dynamic changes quickly as the voice tells us that the man is not allowed to see his son for a while and we start to question why.


The female partner reveals how she “couldn’t see why you were so controlling” and our attention shifts to a more sinister underlying menace from the past.


Ending in tears she explains the domestic violence she suffered at his hands and her partner breaks down crying with exclamations of how sorry he is.


An impactful film, Answer uses its short runtime to create a fantastic story that uses relatively cheap production to get its powerful message across. This is no bad thing and shows how ingenious storytelling need not be too expensive and can be delivered in a way that’s affordable to local filmmakers on a budget.


Using the subject of domestic violence, which is quite common with local shorts, could have resulted in a stale familiarity but here the director Adam Palmer uses a unique conceit to show how conversation may be the key to salvage these most difficult of situations.


With two strong performances – especially from the mouth of the talented Codsi – Answer ironically provides no answers to the complexity of relationship breakdowns. But despite the dark subject matter leaves the viewer with a tinge of hope as we hear the surprising “ping” of another answerphone message before the story ends.


Midlands Movies Mike





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