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By midlandsmovies, Oct 18 2019 10:42AM



Derby Film Festival 2019 – Films, special guests and events announced


Taking place 14th to 18th November and now in its sixth edition, Derby Film Festival 2019 features special guests, one-off events and film previews in their new festival programme. This includes a huge selection of brand-new films from many genres, boasting more than eighty films from seventeen different countries, screening at the venue over five days.


The festival has confirmed that this year’s special guest will be film director Ken Loach. A significant figure in the film industry for the over the past fifty years, Ken Loach will open the festival with a Q&A and screening of his new film Sorry We Missed You. Following on from the Palme D’Or winning, I, Daniel Blake, Sorry We Missed You is a topical look at the zero hours contracts culture, shining a spotlight on the working class and those lost in the injustices of the system.


Rigorously researched via off-the-records interviews, Sorry We Missed depicts the ruinous cost of zero-hours contract with gut-wrenching honest and integrity. A furious and heart-breaking film, it offers a rigorous and damning critique of our unequal system; showing how it unscrupulously exploits people, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and robs them of dignity, agency and hope for change. Ken Loach Q&A plus Sorry We Missed You (15) takes place on Thursday 14th November from 6:00pm. Tickets for this one-off event are £15 or £14 concessions.


Derby Cathedral will host a one-off screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s silent classic Blackmail with a live score composed and played by Neil Brand. Neil Brand is the UK’s most acclaimed silent film accompanist, who appears at film festivals and special events around the world, as well as BBC 4 presenter with his hugely successful programmes Sound Of Cinema, The Music That Made The Movies and Sound Of Song.


A highpoint of Alfred Hitchcock’s early films and his last silent film, the seminal thriller Blackmail is a rich evocation of London Life in 1920s. Blackmail (PG) with Live Score by Neil Brand screens at Derby Cathedral on Friday 15th November at 7:00pm. Tickets for this one-off event are £13 or £11 concessions. Neil Brand will also be in QUAD to lead a workshop on Scoring Music to Silent Film on Saturday 16th November at 12 noon.


The full Festival film programme includes twenty-six brand new feature films and over fifty short films from across the globe including New Zealand, Italy, France, Canada and Iran.



An Opening Night Preview is the new Australian film Judy And Punch, a visceral and dynamic live-action reinterpretation of the famous 16th Century puppet show. Starring Mia Wasikowska, writer-director Mirrah Foulkes turns the traditional story of Punch and Judy on its head and brings to life a fierce, darkly comic and epic female-driven revenge story. Judy And Punch (15) screens on Thursday 14th November at 8:50pm


Madness In The Method (Preview) was shot on location in Hollywood and Derby (with a cameo appearance from QUAD itself). Written and produced by Derby’s own Dominic Burns, it’s actor Jason Mewes’ directorial debut. The story follows legendary stoner and actor - Jason Mewes. Tired of Hollywood’s perception of him and on advice from his best friend Kevin Smith, Mewes tracks down a secret method acting book to reinvent himself as a serious actor – with disastrous consequences… Madness In The Method (advised 15) screens on Saturday 16th November at 6:15pm


The Wedding Present: Something Left Behind (Preview) is the definitive story of a record that has been labelled the ‘greatest break-up album of all time’. Exploring music, obsession, love, loss and fading youth over the thirty-year lifespan of The Wedding Present’s much-heralded debut LP, ‘George Best’. The films’ Director Andrew Jezard will also be present for a post screening Q&A. The Wedding Present: Something Left Behind (certificate to be confirmed) + Q&A screens on Saturday 16th November at 6:30pm.


The Biggest Little Farm (Preview) is an environmental documentary about John and Molly Chester, a Los Angeles couple give up city life to buy a farm, following their dream of growing every ingredient they might want to cook with. Motivating, enlightening and entertaining, the film balances one family’s personal story with the practical ups and downs of starting a sustainable, biodiverse farm on land that has been stripped of nutrients. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Jamie from the Down To Earth Project plus special guests, to discuss implementing sustainability in Derby and beyond. The Biggest Little Farm (PG) screens on Friday 15th November at 6:00pm.

Ordinary Love (Preview) stars Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville as Tom and Joan, a married couple with an easy relationship and a depth of love which expresses itself through tenderness and humour. When Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer, the course of her treatment shines a light on their relationship as the pair face the challenges that lie ahead and the prospect of what might happen in the future. Ordinary Love (certificate to be confirmed) screens on Sunday 17th November at 2:00pm


There will be a chance to see many of the short films selected from an international submission, screening before the features and as a full day package on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November. Derby Film Festival’s sister festival Paracinema will be presenting films that span the genres on the outskirts of cinema. The genre-defying ‘Paracinema’ refers to a wide, seemingly disparate collection of films outside the mainstream.


Adam Marsh, Derby Film Festival Director and QUAD Cinema programmer said “We are really honoured to welcome Ken Loach this year as our special guest. Derby Film Festival 19 yet again presents a fantastic selection of films – from the sublime to the eclectic. There is an excellent range of films representing all corners of the globe; from the ground-breaking and thought provoking and to the funny, subversive and above all some excellent entertainment.”


Anwen Hurt, Derby Film Festival Patron added “I’m really looking forward to coming back to the Derby Film Festival. It’s always such a pleasure and this year there are some amazing new feature films that I haven’t see yet, as well as over 50 short films. It’s going to be a great festival!”


All Film tickets, other than those for special events, are £9.50, £7.00 concessions. Tickets for 16-25 years old are £3.50 (subject to availability). Derby Film Festival Passes are available allowing entry to all screenings and events across all five days of the festival, priced at £50, a Festival Day Pass allows entry to everything on any single day of the festival, priced at £20.


For more information please see:


https://derbyfilmfestival.co.uk


https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/whats-on/festivals


Or call 01332 290606



By midlandsmovies, Dec 16 2018 12:34PM



Bee-Loved (2018)


Bee-Loved is a new short Midlands film from local directors Sarah Wynne Kordas and James Pyle and is a loving homage to the slapstick black and white silent comedies of the past.


We open on a janitor cleaning a corridor outside a room labelled “Director” which owing to some wet paint ends up being plastered on his own back in a Pepé Le Pew-style farce.


Akin to the premise of that cartoon, there is a story of unrequited love here too as the “smitten” man follows a passing woman as she strolls down the corridor. However, like the skunk himself, this man's affections are turned down despite his offer of a flower – which wilts in disappointment.


Using the silent film tropes of intertitles for dialogue and description, as well as a scratched celluloid aesthetic, the film authentically captures the period in its look and style.


The short moves forward as the woman applies make-up and the reversed “Director” paint imprinted on the janitors jacket appears to the woman via her small mirror. Seizing an opportunity to impress this apparent head-honcho she returns to the man.


The silent era motifs continue with suitably archaic fonts for the titles and the cinematography has a used vignette filter taking us back to the look of the classic films of the period.


However, the film spins off into unchartered territory. We’ve already mentioned old cartoons and it is at the halfway point it becomes a more surreal affair as an animated bee lands on the flower. With a mix of live action and animation we are whisked back to references of Gertie the Dinosaur whilst the bee seems heavily stylised on early Mickey Mouse and his Disney debut in Steamboat Willie.


The slapstick continues as the bee circles the two leads and the great original score by Midlands Movies Award-winner Pav Gekko is another fantastic nod to silly symphonic jazz soundtracks of a bygone time.


Similar to previous Midlands short Just Desserts – with some participants involved in both – the 3-minute short packs a lot heart and fun into its runtime. Bee-Loved also wears its love for the silliness of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin on its sleeve and combined with a unique animation style is a beloved love letter to the past.


Mike Sales



By midlandsmovies, Jun 20 2017 08:19AM

Just Desserts (2017)

Dir. Liam Banks


The latest offering from Superfreak Media is Just Desserts, a slapstick comedy short reminiscent of the silent films of the past.


Directed by Midlands filmmaker Liam Banks, Just Desserts plays out a night in a restaurant which is occupied by a man and his girlfriend, the waiter, a lone woman and a man who just wants his soup.


Watching this short reminded me of Charlie Chaplin’s early work or The Marx Brothers as the characters are exposed to physical comedy as a way to express their situation. The waiter struggles to keep his restaurant calm and serene as his customer’s private lives take centre stage.


The attention to detail and the clear effort gone into making this short is what really sells itself to the viewer. I was glued for the entire five-minute running time, appreciating every aspect of the production as well as enjoying watching a genre that doesn’t get enough exposure in the modern climate.


The cinematography and editing are evocative of those classic silent films, the grainy “old film reel” look of the film is consistent throughout the film and is one of my favourite elements of the film, whilst the editing employs the slightly sped up effect to emulate how early silent films were shown.


Complimenting what is shown visually is the original music by Pav Gekko which is a fantastic piece of music in its own right.


However, I don’t think the film would have been successful if the actors were not game. The cast, Adam Read, Melvyn Rawlinson, Steve Wood, Sarah Wynne Kordas (who also wrote the short) and Karen Best were professional and managed to keep a straight face throughout something I would have struggled to do!


Liam Banks, known mostly for his work in the Horror genre, shows that his talents are vast and can go beyond terrifying his audience, he can also make them laugh.


Guy Russell

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